Located on Oahu’s South Shore, Koko Crater is a tuff cone rising 1,208 feet (368 m), and one of the most popular landmarks on Oahu. Even from a distance you can see the hiking trail that leads to its peak. A smaller tuff cone nearby called Koko Head is 642 feet (196 m) in height.
To get to the Koko Crater lookout point, we had to climb 1,048 stairs/railroad ties, which were originally built over 60 years ago to get supplies to the military bunkers at the top. The stairs are steep. There is a short, bridge-like area that some people find scary because the railroad tracks where one walks on are above the ground. But don’t give up, it is not as hard as so many people mentioned! Within the crater you can see horse stables and the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, home to many cacti and succulents. The view is incredible, 365 degrees of memorable and incredible ocean, crater, exotic vegetation or even city views to choose from. You are literally on top of the world!
Hiking up the Koko Head stairs is also a great workout and a personal challenge that will make your legs feel like jell-o and get you so drenched in your own sweat that you will be able to wring your clothes out at the top. This hike is popular among athletes and locals because it’s such a great workout with gorgeous views to reward you at the top. Try to avoid the hot and humid times of the day, as well as the weekends, if possible. The weekends tend to be busier with tourists as well as locals who are doing their exercise routine.
If you have a more adventurous side, as we do, try to hike Koko Crater at night. But be careful the park closes at 11pm each evening. Our favorite hike was at night on time, when we got to the top right in time to watch the Moon Rise into the skies. A magical experience that I will never forget. It was adventurous, but also romantic and exciting throughout the whole walk. Just ensure you have a flashlight, an extra jacket and plenty of water.
Hiking Koko Crater is more than a tough hike with gorgeous views. It is a personal challenge, an overall unique experience different than any other hike you have done before. Put it on your Hawaiian bucket list, and give us the feedback afterwards.