Koko Crater Botanic Garden

EASY 68 reviews

Koko Crater Botanic Garden is a 1.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Waimanalo, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

1.9 miles
337 feet

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers




no dogs

Challenging trail not for the feint of heart. It has many narrow segments, steep climbs and steep drop-offs. Not to mention no shade. Be sure to bring lots of water, wear pants and gloves would be helpful too. Koko Crater is a remnant tuff cone on the south east side of Oahu. Within the crater houses the Koko Crater Botanical Gardens. On the outside south flank of the crater is the highest point accessible via an old abandoned rail line. This rail line trail is very popular and crowded. The rim trail on the other hand is less traversed and fit only for those who are not afraid of heights. The views from here span the south shores from Sandy Beach to Makapuu Wayside's Pele's Chair. It also provide good views of the Koolau Mountains. On a clear day you can see the towers on Kamehame Ridge, all the way to Pu'u O Kona.

5 days ago


3 months ago

Easy walk around the gardens, lots to look at. No epic views like most of the hikes, but still pretty none the less. Tons of flora and fauna and mostly labelled for educational purposes

4 months ago

Super easy walk. Signage tells you about the plants. Awesome cactus/aloe section. Takes less than an hour.

5 months ago

Make sure you come in spring. Other than that, great trail. DONT COME AFTER IT RAINS!!! You can also check out my video on YOUTUBE——> “Aloha State of Mind” for more clips!!!!

5 months ago

A favorite now for botanical garden hikes. It's got the distance, the variety, and the uniqueness of the interior crater.

6 months ago

Awesome trail for a quick workout. Lots of loose rocks so wear shoes with traction. Exactly 1.9 miles around the full loop according to my Apple Watch. Fun to jog around and try to beat your best time.

6 months ago

Educational, beautiful, diverse - one of the best botanical gardens I've seen. And it's free. I visit it every time I am in Honolulu

11 months ago

Nice to see very easy, march 2016. Only issue was the park itself doesn't have a very easy trail to follow with regards to the map. Otherwise it was nice way to spend part of the afternoon.

Friday, August 11, 2017

From the front of some very beautiful plumeria, move on the 2 mile circle through dead trees and dry dead brush, to a palm marked as a pine onto uneven and unsafe large stone walking path with sand to fill the scraps as you stumble and fall. Great trail for the imagination - you can only imagine getting off the trail and leaving. Don't waste your time here.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Nice! All flowers are full blooming!! Go early morning!

Monday, May 15, 2017

It seems to starting the best time to hike there!

nature trips
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Nice easy hike with the family. The plumeria grove wasn't in full bloom yet, but I've been told it is amazing when it is.

Monday, February 20, 2017

It is not green green time,but very comfortable to walk there.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

We really wanted to do the stairs up then go to the right around the crater rim and back up the west side of the rim. Once we got to the end of the right rim, the trail just kind of ends and you gotta kinda bushwack and slide yourself down to the botanical gardens. We looked everywhere for an access point up into the west rim and couldn't find it. We even tried to walk out of the garden to the beginning of the rim but it was all overgrown with no trails. If anyone knows how to get up west rim let us know! Next time we're just going to stage a car at the botanical gardens, go up stairs and go left to figure out the west rim. Such beautiful views. Some bouldering of course, but you can manage to go around the sketchy parts if needed. Windy and hot. Don't bring a dog it gets super tight up there on the rim so watch your step and avoid any rain. Between us two, three liters of water almost didn't cut it.

Friday, October 14, 2016

No much blooming now,but nice to work without heat.

Monday, August 29, 2016

By the right side of entrance,there is a post box and you will see the information paper inside.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It's not much hot!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Easy, but really hot

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I hiked here for the first time in a month.
It was quite different with a month ago,because there were not seen many bloomed flowers. Maybe too hot!!!

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Best Botanical Garden I've been to yet!!!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

It was fun to see unique plants and flowers. I also saw animals and heard the sound of birds.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Great hike! Nice alternative for Haiku Stairs. Bring enough water en sunscreen, because there is no shade on this trail.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Amazing views, totally worth it! We staged one car at the Botanical Gardens (as recommended by All Trails users) and started with the stairs. WHAT A CLIMB!!! Make sure you have sunblock and water! Be careful, people do get hurt even at the top. Be mindful of folks coming up or going down the stairs. The Rim trail isn't well maintained but doable: has overgrowth and cactus but keep your eyes peeled to make sure you follow the slim path. Wear long socks or leg sleeves if you want extra protection from the sticks and pricks that stick out but that's completely option (I was fine with shorts). There are some slippery parts because of loose sand and rocks but the slim trees lining the path were helpful. Towards the end there's loose sand so sideway step are pretty much the only choice. Seriously Moderate-difficult hike but totally rewarding!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

I did the complete Koko Crater rim, counterclockwise. My route: Up the Koko Crater Railway stairs, turn right to go around the East rim. Descended down the rim into botanical garden, crossed the road, and went up the West rim, all the way back up to the top, and down the railway stairs.

It took a total of about 5hrs, with many things that slowed us down. There were several times on the West rim when I lost the trail and had to back track to find a navigable path. Also, it took 30-45 minutes just to find the trail from the botanical garden up the West rim. Another factor, the trail was extremely overgrown in some parts, requiring frequent pauses to figure out where it went. The brush would often be covering up cacti, which there was A LOT of. I got stuck multiple times. I could see this taking closer to 3.5-4 hours at a steady pace.

I love scrambling, climbing, narrow ridges, challenging rock faces.. but in my opinion, this was tough! The East rim? A cake walk. But if you're going to take on the West, go with someone, and someone who knows it. There were actually a few spots that made me worry I might have to turn back. Not only are there a bunch of very narrow sections, but some steep, vertigo-inducing scrambles that require strategy, and careful movements.

I brought my 32 oz Nalgiene bottle. I shoulda brought two! Luckily, I was able to refill in the botanical gardens at a water spigot.

Other options
You can get to the crater rim by way of the stairs, the Koko Crater Arch trail, or the botanical gardens. So you could stage a car at any one of those places, go up from another, and down back to the stage car. I'd guess going up the stairs, down the East rim and into the gardens would take most people under two hours, probably under 1.5 without overgrown brush like we had.
IG @niiimz_

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Good trail for a run or peaceful stroll. Easy rolling hills and lots of shade. Still no facilities and toilet was not access able. Bring water.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Maybe I went at the wrong time of year but there wasn't a whole lot of variety in foliage and plant life. Still very easy, something to take a loved one on a nice walk.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Parked at Halona Blowhole lookout. We crossed the street and walked towards Hawaii Kai. I didn't want to walk along the road so we climbed up the first finger we came to. It's pretty quick to get to the arch. After taking photos, we continued on the top of the arch. The wind was crazy strong and I had to crouch down numerous times as I was being blown off balance. It's a steep scramble and most of the way up (to the sharp pointed top) I had to keep my hands on the ground due to the incline and because it's very gravely. I do Koko Head railway weekly and this hike is comparable in length and difficulty, there's no shade either so bring water. There's only a few narrow areas, in some parts I had to pull myself up the rocks but there were lots of hand holds. Once we passed the sharp pointed top and stacked boulders (see photos), the trail was wide and well defined. From there it's just a short jaunt to the top of Koko head. We went down the railway stairs & got a ride back to the car. I probably wouldn't do back down the crater trail since it is steep with so much loose gravel.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I love the outdoors and botanical gardens are a great way to get out and see a large variety of plant life. That and this garden is in an inactive volcano...well I just had to go.

Trail Rating:
Length: 2.25 miles
Terrain: gentle rise and fall
Difficulty: EASY; kids can do this with no problem
Special: There is a large plumeria garden with picnic tables.
Facilities: 1 outhouse for a restroom, just after the plumeria garden
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/koko-crater-botanical-garden-honolulu

The Good:
- Wide variety of plant life from the cactus to African plants to Hawaiian plants.
- Large plumeria garden. Best see this in the spring, summer, or fall. There are no leaves or blossoms in the winter.
- The trail is about a 2 mile loop over easy terrain. There is one place through the Madagascar section that is overgrown, but you can take a short cut down a hill and reach another section of the trail.
- There are some picnic tables in the plumeria garden that would be a great spot to rest when they are in bloom.
- The trail is mostly shaded, so sunscreen is not a must.

The Not So Good:
- There is only one outhouse for a restroom and it is located in the garden just past the plumerias.
- Because it is free, the landscape is not as well-kept as other places. That being said, it is still very good.

Bottom Line: come during the summer or fall when things are in bloom. It really was quite dead-looking when we went during the winter. It would have so much more life if in bloom. Otherwise it is a very nice, easy, 2 mile walk that just about anyone can do.

Website: http://www.honolulu.gov/cms-dpr-menu/site-dpr-sitearticles/572-koko-crater-botanical-garden.html

nature trips
Friday, June 24, 2011

Koko Crater Botanical Garden is a 60-acre basin (2 mile loop) inside the landmark Koko Crater on the eastern end of the island of Oahu. The hot, dry climate here makes this garden the ideal location for the dryland collections of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens. Much of the gardenis still in the early stages of development, therefore, restroom facilities, drinking fountains and other visitor accommodations have not yet been constructed. I really loved the different variety of Plumeria trees they have planted. Repellant of some type is a must and I would recommend a water bottle and sunscreen as much of the garden is not shaded. Visiter traffic was very light and parking was not a problem.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is a sleeper trail on O'ahu - - essentially level, FEW people on the trail, an actual walk inside an extinct volcano! It is a bit hard to find by auto or using TheBus...since the access is in Hawai'i Kai - a planned suburb in East O'ahu. The trail features succulents, few flowers, and some exotic (don't belong here) vegetation....but it is an experience worth the effort. TheBus Route 22 - Sea Life Park - passes relatively near the entrance.

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