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“A step by step guide.”
Review of Koko Crater Trail

Koko Crater Trail
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US$85.00*
and up
Oahu Koko Head Hike
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US$30.00*
and up
Koko Head Trail Challenge
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US$169.00*
and up
Hawaii Five-0 TV Locations Tour
Ranked #9 of 324 things to do in Honolulu
Certificate of Excellence
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philadelphia
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A step by step guide.”
Reviewed 30 August 2014

This is an old railroad track up the hill that has been turned into a 1000+ stair climb.
After the first few hundred fast steps you'll be breathing heavy, but you are probably thinking, this is no problem, maybe I'll do it a couple of times. . . At 300 you'll notice a change and you may start to realize what you have gotten into as the steps become more uneven and your speed will drop. At 500, it gets interesting, especially if you don't like heights. At that point, when the earth is 10 feet below the tracks you are on, it isn't about fitness, it is about balance. (There is a bypass for this part on the right hand side). For about 70 steps, the ground beneath the tracks has been washed away and you are on a railing-less bridge with more gaps than steps. It is also about luck, so that you avoid the out of control or balance challenged people coming back down. Upon finishing that stretch, there is a brief return to normalcy, then, the trail gets steep. The don't look back and definitely don't lean back kind of steep. It is so steep that keen observers will realize that the hard part isn't the climb, it's going to be the descent. By the time you get to 700, you'll think you are at the point of no return and how bad could it be from here? You won't be running, if you do you'll be risking your life and that of the others you take down with you. I recommend all 4s at this point even if you have great balance, it is the safest and fastest. By 900 you'll be questioning the stair counts painted on the rail - I swear it was 110 steps to get to 900 from 800. The final closing sprint won't be much of one as even fit folks are going to be huffing a bit and the steps are wildly inconsistent. At the top, there is a little scramble to the top for a great view, but this is more about the journey, which isn't halfway done. How hard could it be to go back down. . . Now you really notice the steepness and instead of the risk of falling forward as you climbed up, you ought to recognize the risk of falling forward for a long way, on the way down. The washed away part is even more about balance now and probably the most challenging part of the whole thing. Go slow and expect it to take twice as long to go down.
At the bottom, you'll feel great and you can easily justify the stop at Leonards bakery on the way back to your hotel. If you are up for it, the 2nd and 3rd times are way better and easier. And the look on others faces when you are going back up is priceless. I saw one woman on her 4th.

Use the time change from the continental US to your advantage - GO EARLY before it heats up and before it gets crowded, dawn is the best. Bring water in a pack or belt so you don't have to use your hands. Don't bring young kids or pets. You should have some decent fitness to do this.

Visited July 2014
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1 Thank blnk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Honolulu, Hawaii
Level 6 Contributor
125 reviews
71 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Great early morning workout”
Reviewed 24 August 2014 via mobile

Not for small kids. Crowded parking. Steep hike on an unmaintained trail consisting of uneven old rail ties. But the view at the top was amazing. Made all the other stuff irrelevant. Will be taking my father back here.

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Thank mcds96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“What a hike! Tough and worth it.”
Reviewed 24 August 2014

I should have brought more water with me. One bottle was not enough. Take your when you get to the top and enjoy the views and breezes.

Visited October 2013
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Thank Stigliano777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Summerville,SC
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Koko Head”
Reviewed 23 August 2014

Took the bus from Waikiki which was about an hour and got dropped off across the road from the trail. Just follow all the people to the trail head and enjoy the challenge ahead. This was a good effort to get to the top and you will be tired with "jello" legs for the journey down. Rest often to catch your breath and take care as you cross the "bridge" area. It was a bit windy at the top, but the views are well worth the calories expended to reach the summit. Diamond Head is a stroll in the park in comparison.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank Raymond W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Spruce Grove, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Worth all the effort”
Reviewed 23 August 2014 via mobile

Upon first glance this trail seems like a piece of cake; its a straight line with a bunch of stairs. Well it's not so easy. Ever climb 1048 steps of varying height and length while ascending 1200ft? Not so simple. And the worst part of the hike (if you have a fear of heights) is the bridge in the middle! The whole trail is an old train track and this aforementioned bridge is like any other old timey bridge...huge gaping holes between the beams! Sure it's only about 30-40ft up at the hightest but that was more than enough to get my knees shaking. (Note: there is a way around the bridge, a small narrow path to the right side...bring hiking shoes if you're gonna do it).

Ok up to this point you're probably rethinking your idea to do this hike. Yes, it is challenging for those out of shape, like myself, but believe me the view at the top is worth it all. Full 360 degree view of Oahu, including Hanauma Bay, Koko Crater and Diamond Head. Plus, at least when I did it, a refreshing cool breeze off the ocean. Every 100 steps is marked out so you can see how far you've come, right after crossing the bridge is the halfway mark...which is a feat in itself. You get a good view the whole way up but it gets even better at the summit. Once you reach the top of the stairs, unfortunately you're not quite done. Head off to the right and continue climbing until you see a large building (just past the small building that has an Aloha mural). From there you can walk onto the roof, relax and enjoy the amazing view.

Tips if you want to hike this trail:
1. Go early in the day, the heat and sun in mid-late afternoon is an energy killer.
2. Bring plenty of water. There is no place to get water on the trail (short of begging). There are recycle bins at the halfway point and the top of the steps.
3. Hiking shoes are not necessary. Just wear a decent pair of shoes. Came across a few people regretting wearing flip flops/sandals.
4. There is plenty of room to park near the ball diamonds and I believe it's free. If you don't have a car and want a cheap option, for $2.50 jump on the 22 bus marked Hanauma Bay. Get off right before Hanauma Bay stop. Near the top of a hill the bus will nearly turn around to go down a slope to get to the bay, this is where you should get out). The driver may even announce that it's the Koko Head Trail stop. *Note: You'll want to cross the road from where you get dropped off and go down the road with the bars saying it's closed...it seems like the wrong way but you'll pass a gun range on your right and baseball diamonds on your left. It's a bit if a walk but this is how you get there. Seriously.
5. Sunscreen is absolutely necessary! You will be sweating by the time you reach the top and that can amplify the sun causing a horrendous burn. So put it on before you start and remember to reapply. There is virtually no shade on this trail!
6. If you're hungry when you're done and forgot snacks or need more water, don't fear. From the main road, follow the road parallel to the main road, down the hill to Hanauma Bay (if it's open, note it is closed on Tuesdays). They have a cafe that has a variety of snacks, such as sandwiches, shaved iced, and various beverages. There are also restrooms available for use.
7. If you took the bus there plan on a decent wait for it to pick you up. It comes by every 30-45min and it may be full by the time it gets to you as it stops at Sea Life Park before getting to yours. If you'd like a faster yet more expensive way home head down to Hanauma Bay...there is an area taxi's wait for patrons. Not sure how much it costs but it is a better way to get back quicker.
8. Last but not least....plan for the climb to take 1-2hrs. I went into it, after reading a bunch of reviews, thinking it'd only take me about 45min to an hour and it ended up taking me 2 hrs!

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
Thank melteich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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