As I mentioned earlier this week, there are few activities we do every time while visiting Hawaii. From paddle boarding & surfing, to hiking and exploring, there are so many wonderful sights the island has to offer, it’s hard to pick which ones to do each trip. However, about 4 years ago we discovered the Koko Crater Trail hike and since then it is always at the top of our list for the beginning of every trip.
Koko Head was a volcano that last erupted about 35,000 years ago, and during WWII a railway was built to transport supplies to the military at the top of the crater. Now the crater has become a popular destination for hiking and enjoying the views of Oahu by many locals & tourists of all ages. The hike is about 1.8 miles and almost a 2000 ft. incline to the top.
Typically we wake up over an hour before sunrise, drive to Koko Head, and hike in the dark while using our iPhone flashlights as guidance up the VERY steep trail. At an average pace for someone who is in shape it will take approximately 30 min. One year I ran up the trail the entire time in 18 min, but wanted to pass out when I reached the top. It is not a race – I highly recommend taking your time, especially as the railroad ties are old, not very secure, and can be slippery in the mornings. There is also about a 50 ft section that acts as a bridge with a 40 ft drop below. I always crawl up this portion (and crab walk going down), in order not to slip.
Once you make it to the top, the view is incredible. On a clear day you can see all three surrounding islands. The sunrise is breathtaking and such an amazing experience. There are a few smaller trails to go down the other side of the crater, but we haven’t fully explored those yet. Going down the trail isn’t as tiring as the climb up, however, its just as challenging as it is still very steep and every step is uneven. Remember to take your time and bring a bottle of water! Stretch when you get home because I promise you will be sore the next day, but 110% worth it! It is always one of our favorite activities and each year we enjoy it more and more.