Koko Head District Park Hike
Nestled within Hawaii Kai, HNL on the southeastern coast of Oahu, the Koko Crater Trail, commonly referred to as the Koko Head Stairs, presents a rigorous yet rewarding hiking experience. Rising steeply from the Koko Head District Park, this trail follows an old railroad track straight up the side of the extinct Koko Crater volcano and offers panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaii Kai neighborhood, and the Honolulu cityscape.
The Koko Head Stairs is an intense workout, with over 1,000 steps scaling the side of the 1,208-foot volcanic tuff cone. These steps are actually old railroad ties, remnants of a World War II-era tramline used by the military. Each “step” varies in height and spacing, providing an unpredictable and challenging hike that has made the trail a favorite among fitness enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies.
The climb is demanding but offers many opportunities for rest and reflection. Midway up, a lookout provides an excellent spot to catch your breath while soaking in the panoramic views of the clear blue waters of Hanauma Bay to the east and the rugged cliffs of the Halona Blowhole to the west.
Reaching the summit, you’re rewarded with a breathtaking 360-degree vista that truly captures the beauty of Oahu. From the emerald green Koolau Mountains to the azure waters of Maunalua Bay, the sight is awe-inspiring and serves as a rewarding culmination of the challenging ascent.
Wildlife enthusiasts will be pleased to note that Koko Crater is home to a variety of native plant and animal species. As you climb, keep an eye out for the occasional sighting of the Pacific golden plover or the Hawaiian short-eared owl.
In terms of accessibility, the trailhead for the Koko Head Stairs is conveniently located within Koko Head District Park, with ample parking available.
All in all, the Koko Head Stairs hike is an adventurous journey that combines physical challenge with natural beauty and historical intrigue. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a fitness enthusiast, the trail promises an experience that is as enriching as it is exhilarating. With every challenging step, you’re not only inching closer to the summit but also to a deeper appreciation of Oahu’s stunning landscape and history.