Updated: Jan 30
See my YouTube of the hike here
Another bus ride, this time the 22 from opposite the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki, that takes you all the way to Hanauma Bay Reserve in around 35 minutes. From there it's a 10 minute walk to the Koko Crater Trail.
Koko crater is an ancient tuff cone, dormant for tens of thousands of years! It rises just under 400 metres, of which you are climbing most of that on 1048 steps. Approximately two kilometers each way.
The trail goes straight up the ridge, on a dis-used World War Two railway track. The wooden sleepers are mostly in reasonable condition, some have rotted away, some have been replaced or repaired. The trail isn’t too steep for the first half of the hike, then it becomes steeper and steeper. One section crosses a shallow ravine, meaning you have to tread carefully, otherwise you could fall through!
You don’t need to be super fit to get to the top, but to enjoy it I think you'd need to be in reasonably good health. It's a good cardio workout if you walk at any sort of pace. There are a lot of impacts to your knees on the way down, and I would give it a miss if you have dodgy knees.
I didn’t make a day of it, all told I was back in Waikiki within four hours. If you wanted to make a day of it you could visit the Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve, which has picnic, snack and drink facilities. There is also a fab looking beach in the reserve that you look down on from the top of the ridge. Also locally there is a blow hole and a Botanical gardens as points of interest.
Once at the top, you need to walk a short distance on rocks and un-surfaced trails to get to the three main viewing points on the ridge.
With a 360 degree view, to the West you can see the Diamond Head Crater, Koko Head and the Hanauma Reserve with Waikiki and Honolulu in the distance. In the opposite direction you are looking down onto the Koko crater and across the headland and onto the Pacific. To the North there are views of the ridge line that dominates the south of the island. All quite stunning.
There’s plenty of room at the top, you could stop for a picnic. I didn’t see any picnic tables up at the summit, but there are many picnic areas in the grounds of the Reserve.
Going down, you need to watch your footing, you certainly wouldn't want to fall. Some people were running up then back down, I wouldn’t be so bold, for fear of falling!
As I said, with each step there’s an impact and you can feel it on your knees…….well you can when you’re an old bird! I don’t think I’d do it if I was clumsier than I am, or if I had dodgy knees.
It takes around an hour and a half to get up and half an hour to get down, at an old bird pace, so quite a short hike. It was hot and humid when I went, and there is little shelter from the sun so some form of sun protection is required. You’ll generate quite a bit of heat getting up there, I’d say wear gym kit or the like, that will wick away sweat. And take at least a litre of water.
It was dry when I went, I have no idea how slippery the wood gets when wet, so take that into consideration. It’s definitely trainer or sneaker territory, not flip flops! And to note, I saw three little kids, around 6 years old making their way up and they seemed quite happy to be doing it. You’d definitely need to supervise kids well on the hike, there's not much room for getting it wrong!
With the opening hours you could catch the sunrise or sunset, but not sure I'd want to negotiate the steps in the dark!
There's a strange tradition of hanging a pair of trainers from the power line, I'm not sure what that's all about!
Free to use the trail
Parking fees apply, I believe just $1 but am not sure
Opening hours 4am until 11pm
Water available at the Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve
Snacks and drinks available at the Reserve
Take water with you, there isn't any at the top
My visit was Mid-Winter, Mid-February