Koko Head Crater Trail is a 1.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Honolulu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
1.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
990 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

no dogs

This is a steep climb to the top of Koko Head Crater with spectacular panoramic views of the east Honolulu shoreline. The 1000 plus step-like walking track consists of abandoned railroad ties that run along the crater's west side to the top of Koko Crater. The military used them previously during World War II as part of an incline tram to transport supplies to a lookout post at the summit. A short drive from Diamond Head and Waikiki, this popular hiking trail can be accessed at Koko Head Park in Hawaii Kai. This is a great workout with a beautiful view at the summit - don't forget to bring water! Visitors might also be interested in the Koko Crater Botanical Garden at the top of the crater.

1 day ago

Well worth the hike up to the top for amazing views. Great spot for sunrise or sunset. Was fairly busy but everyone has good hiking etiquette. It is pretty tough but not too bad of take your time. Took me 25 mins to get up to the top. There is only one part of the walk that is a little risky with the wooden rail slats having abit of a drop underneath but there is an alternative route at this part

hiking
1 day ago

Bad ass trail! The steps are old wooden slats from a rail car line. It can get pretty tough when it gets steeper. Really sketchy part is 15-20 ft drop under the slats for about 30 of em at the midway point.

3 days ago

Physically demanding -1000 steps! But worth it and easier than you’d think. I’m afraid of heights & this didn’t freak me out. It was fine. Views are spectacular

hiking
3 days ago

Very hard, but so worth it! You can go at your own pace and when you stop to take a break there is a gorgeous view behind you the entire time. Tricky footing sometimes so keep your hands free! Expect lots of squatting and climbing and the occasional use of hands if you’re clumsy like me. There’s a really great sense of accomplishment at the end!

hiking
4 days ago

This hike is mostly stairs other then the very beginning and the very top. It can get a bit muddy and is definitely not for someone who doesn't hike/workout regularly. I hike and workout regularly and it winded me.

*Mostly "Stairs" made from an old rail. So not even and not spaced like you would want.
*Gets muddy and slippery after a storm
* Lots of stairs in disrepair and the state should definitely charge for this hike so they can maintain
* The views are amazing. Especially at sunset

#KokonutKoalition
Theres a "Safe Bypass" that this group is pushing about halfway up to save the stairs. I hope they get this word out more.
Notes on the bypass as I took it on so if you plan to here you go
*It has rained so very slippery
*Very steep so you'll be on your butt on the way down
*Overgrown and narrow. I'm 6 foot. Lots of ducking and getting caught/scraped (wearing shorts)

hiking
6 days ago

Good climb! The best way to challenge yourself on this one is to go to the top then back down to the bridge and then back up to the top again before heading all the way back down to the bottom. Start early, it got to 82 F by 10 am so sweating was not an option it just happens.

The trail is well used and could do with a little TLC (maintenance) several places have been repaired do to ware and tear but there are several more that should be looked at.

7 days ago

Oh thats the Koko Head Shooting Complex and it is open to the public. I think the facility is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Hanauma Bay (across the road) also closes every Tuesday. Best day to hike around this area? Tuesdays!!!!!

To avoid the crowded stairs, you can try going up the east rim via the ‘arch’. Check out alltrails Koko Crater Arch From Halona Blowhole and Koko Crater Arch To Peak. Both tracks are essentially identical but for some reason one is rated Hard and the other Easy.

7 days ago

Don't get me wrong for we enjoyed the hike/workout/amazing views and glad we did it . There were a lot of people and we were OK with that as we were all there to experience this unique hike. It was not easy but we took our time and had lots of water. Unfortunately, our enjoyment (tranquility) of the day was lost due to the relentless machine gun/rifle/hand gun fire at the shooting range located adjacent to the park. I'm not sure if no one else ever experienced this as no one mentioned it in their review, except for complaints about people playing music (we heard some people playing music without headphones and it was nothing compared to this annoying noise!) Perhaps we just had bad luck and were there on one of the days the the shooting range was open? So to sum up: if you want to do this hike and enjoy it, then plan on a day/time that the shooting range is closed or bring your music/headphones or earplugs. And wear good shoes and bring plenty of water!

8 days ago

Completing this was a personal challenge. On the way up and down, you won’t be able to enjoy the views (unless you stop), because there are some good sized gaps in between the rail ties....so you have to watch your footing. But, totally worth it. The view at the top is breathtaking. I’d recommend it if you’re into testing your physical fitness. Go early when it’s not as hot and bring water.

hiking
8 days ago

About 23 minutes one way- up. Its mostly cardio. Coming down can be tricky esp around the sandy part and the bridge.

Equivalent to climbing up 90 floors.

hiking
9 days ago

This is definitely the hardest hike I did while here in Hawaii, I’ve been on hikes everyday (some 7 miles long). This is all stairs and an incline and yes it’s easier coming down but my legs were tired and you definitely use a different muscle group. If you have medical conditions I don’t recommend this hike. There are markers which tell you how fair you are on the sides of the rails (100,200,300) to show how many steps you’ve done. I took breaks at each marker and went slow and steady. Took me about 2 hours round trip because I’m not in shape.

hiking
11 days ago

One of my favorite hikes on the island. Great view and doesn't take too long. Decent view halfway if you can't make it to the top but it is much better at the top.
Depending on your physical fitness it usually takes people anywhere from 10 minutes to 50 minutes to get to the top. Starts out easy but the incline increases about halfway. I would rate this as a moderate hike. Can be crowded at times. Shoes recommended.

hiking
17 days ago

Hard? No way. More like Easy-Intermediate depending on your fitness level.

Check out Pu’u Heleakala at Nanakuli side. It is longer, almost like hiking Koko Crater twice back to back and double in distance , and no stairs to help you with few sections of rock scrambling and that hike is rated as Intermediate. There is no way this hike should be rated as Hard.

Who the hell rate all these trails?

If you want to know what a Difficult hike is, try doing Kamaile’unu in the summer time.

Climbing up the Koko Crater ‘arch’ is definitely harder ( trickier) than taking the stairs.

hiking
18 days ago

I live down the street from this hike and it’s my home away from home. I would rate this trail as hard.

Hiking shoes or running shoes with good tread are an absolute must. Bring plenty of water and expect to sweat. If you are injured or not in good health I’d recommend an easier hike (Oahu has plenty). If you are looking for a leisurely family outing this is not it. The Makapuu Lighthouse trail is nearby and paved with equally beautiful views.

I’ve been doing it a few times a week (or trying) since April and It normally takes me about 25 minutes to get to the top and 30 on my way down on my best day. I know taking longer on the way down sounds odd but trust me TAKE IT SLOW. The stairs are not well maintained and it is slippery. I have twisted an ankle coming down more than once because I lost footing or wasn’t paying attention. I’ve seen people get air lifted out because they tried to go off the trail and slipped. The first time I would say it took me 45 minutes to the top.

It starts out very steep and very high and does not let up until you get to the top. If you are terrified of heights this may not be a good hike for you.

I would not under any circumstances bring a little dogs or small children that you aren’t ready to carry at least part of the way. Every single time I do this there’s a parent(s) carrying a kid & looking like they hate their lives.

Apply hiking courtesy (people coming up have right of away) when you can and STAY ON THE TRAIL and you’ll be fine. People going off the stairs is dangerous and adding to the erosion. Stay on the steps and let people pass if needed. Most IMPORTANTLY bring down your own trash!!! I promise you there is no maid up at the top and there are no trash cans. This place is beautiful let’s keep it beautiful.

If it’s hot bring extra water. I would not recommend doing this hike in the rain unless you’re experienced because it can get slippery.

There is a bridge.The bridge consists of some wood running horizontally with gaps in between each one but it’s pretty sturdy. You can clearly see through and see you are high off the ground but as long as you’re careful you will be fine. Two people can safely pass although that doesn’t happen often. For people afraid of heights there is a “safe” bypass around the bridge.To get back on the trail after the bypass you have to climb down the side of the mountain which is steep and back up the other side which is also steep hence why I said “safe”. If you want my honest opinion I would tough out the bridge. I personally think it’s safer just take this part very slowly.

After the bridge (which I consider my half way point) it gets significantly harder. But push through that second half and the views from the top are worth every second. I personally think this trail has the best views on the Island.

Park by the baseball field. Walk towards the field and take the slight dirt path up on the right. Hang a left. You’ll walk under a bunch of hanging shoes (yes shoes!) and then you can’t miss it.

Enjoy and happy hiking xoxo

19 days ago

I loved this hike. I did it during the rain so it was very slippery. Amazing views

hiking
20 days ago

A very difficult hike but totally worth the pain in my legs for the beautiful views

21 days ago

Fun hike that was very unique. Was crowded but in spite of that was still worth the effort. Really a great cardio workout on the climb up and decent payoff at the top. Recommended

hiking
23 days ago

Amazing hike - second time and still demanding - best views anywhere - a lot of parking and always busy ......PS if you do this hike and need music, ear buds please.

23 days ago

Fantastic view. Tough stairclimber hike. Don’t give up. It’s worth the sense of accomplishment.

24 days ago

Amazing views, very difficult. Challenging “steps” of varying size and height, super steep. One slightly scary bit where you walk on RR ties with nothing under you if you misstep. You will feel like you did something and earned your dessert!

hiking
25 days ago

I will climb the Haʻikū Stairs, aka Stairway to Heaven, today for the 301st time. I’m stoked!

A little compare and contrast:

Kokohead Crater Trail carries more of an in-moment thigh burn than the Haʻikū Stairs, partly because the hand railing on the stairs enable you to disperse the work between arms and legs.

The post-hike soreness between the two hikes is about the same.

If you were able to walk (rather than crawl) across the ‘bridge’ on Kokohead, then you are prepared to enjoy the sense of elevation on the Haʻikū Stairs.

Kokohead is more dry, the stairs are more lush.

Kokohead is a great high, but second to the Stairway to Heaven.

People think I go for the epic view, but when we go upstairs they slowly begin to recognize their own reflection in nature. They resonate with the energetic blueprint of a place so majestic and discover new light to admire in their soul.

As we climb, energy begins to grow in us and melts our physical senses, opening us to sense spirit. We become immersed, perhaps because we have ‘stepped into’ the experience 3,922 times, as we move from civilization to heaven.

After a while at the top, our group fades into shock (in a good way) and stays that way for the rest of our journey. Like a broken record, every time I hear: “We researched it, but we could have never guessed it would be so good. ‘This’ makes it so much more than a hike.” Always with smiles; sometimes in tears.

Most visitors get to the top, take their best photos, and head back down. (I suggest studying which photo angles make the best statements before you hike.)

My most recent post on Instagram @Hawaii_Mountain.Man.Matt gives an idea for one impactful photo angle.

When you get to the top, don’t leave quickly. Lean back and enjoy the main event.

The magic begins when you settle in with comforts to look back on your work - while still in the environment of it.

We create space at the top with good scents and music to soak in the bliss of it. We write our names, revel in the story of this day, and relax on memory foam pads inside clean fuzzy jackets tasting wine paired to warm Vermont maple syrup on nutmeg French Toast.

If you start down right away, the noise of civilization dominates the fragile nuances of truth you uncovered along the way, before they have time to set into your memory.

Reflection in-space is the actual gem of the experience. Even after so many times, I haven’t gotten tired of it. Once we begin up, I’m lost on it too!

Aloha,
@Hawaii_Mountain.Man.Matt

hiking
26 days ago

Gorgeous views!

26 days ago

harder than it look but awesome view of the city

hiking
26 days ago

Great hike to get your heart rate up and sweat a little. Slight rain slowed us down a bit. But we powered thru it

hiking
28 days ago

Very good hike, pretty vertical and the railroad ties and worn and slick when wet. Try to step between the ties. Great views from the top.

hiking
28 days ago

If you don't hike often, PLEASE warm up and stretch before you attempt Kokohead! My friend and I were pretty out of shape when we did Kokohead and for 3 days we couldn't go up or down slopes and stairs without excruciating pain, which really sucked because the pain affected all the other hikes we had planned for our short stay in Hawaii. So don't make the same mistake we did!

hiking
1 month ago

Very tough but good workout. Bring water!
Rail ties are worn out throughout trail so have a good balance coming down.

1 month ago

Absolutely amazing views. Don’t let the stairs scare you. They will burn. You may cry (I was about to...) but the views at the end make every minute worth it. Take breaks know your limits and good luck!!!

1 month ago

Not an easy feat....as a rookie hiker I was moved to tears at the amazing view and at the overwhelming pride in my accomplishment.
Don’t quit!! It’s worth it

hiking
1 month ago

Definitely a challenger but worth every moment! DO NOT QUITE! I listened to music which made it not as bad. You can do it.

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