Koko Crater Railway Trail

Koko Crater Railway Trail, Honolulu: Address, Koko Crater Railway Trail Reviews: 4.5/5

Koko Crater Railway Trail
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2,570 reviews
Very good

Clayton, CA28 contributions
Jun 2022 • Friends
Diamondhead gets all the hype, but Kokohead is ten times better for those who want a little bit of a challenge, amazing views, and a sense of accomplishment.

Couple key pieces of advice:

1) Get to the trail early. We started at 0830 and it was beautiful all the way up, but the temp was pretty hot when we descended the trail (after spending 45 mins at the top). I would recommend starting your hike by 0800 if not a little earlier.

2). Bring liquids! Water is good, something with electrolytes is highly recommended.

3). Wear sunscreen! There is no shade! A hat and sunglasses are also highly recommended.

4). Go at your own pace. Some people ascend to the top in 15 minutes (hard to believe, but watched someone do it), and others take 90 mins. Either pace will get you to the top, and that is all that matters. Plenty of places to pull off the side of the steps to take a breather.

5). Take photos and videos and enjoy the views all they way up and down.

We took Lyft from downtown Waikiki and the drive took approximately 30 mins and cost about $28. I and told you could take the bus system for about $3 and travel time would take approximately 90 mins.

After the hike, we walked a quarter mile (all flat and downhill) to the local shopping center and had lunch. Tons of food options and Kona Brewing has a location so you can soak up some well deserved tasty suds after your glorious hike.

We were a party of four, and two members were heavily on the fence about doing the hike with concerns over fitness level and endurance. Everyone was extremely happy post-hike and all agreed it was one of the highlights of the trip.
Written June 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

17 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
Amazing hike - not for the faint of heart. Get there early to beat the crowd and take your time!!! It’s steep and difficult but we thought it was an awesome challenge with gorgeous views at the top. Definitely recommend if you’re a good hiker. I would NOT recommend going when it’s raining as the stairs get pretty slippery - all the more reason to go super early and catch the good weather/small crowds.
Written July 21, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Patrick G
Baltimore, MD16 contributions
Aug 2021
I'm not a hiker but in moderately decent shape. This was challenging but very worth it! I did this hike with 3 others, all in our early 30s (vs Diamond head, did with whole family including parents). It took us about 45min up, 35min down, spent about 30min on top taking pictures and enjoying the view. Up is harder physically, down is harder mentally (really worried we would fall!). These are not steps, there are areas where the steps are about 2ft apart and 20in in height. There is ~50ft where there is no ground under the steps. The "bypass trail" to get past this requires you to use a rope to help yourself up the mountain.

Some tips:
1. Definitely wear sunscreen, regardless of when you go
2. Go early- we went about 730A, still hot
3. Have everyone carry at least one water bottle and bring some sort of backpack (we used a lightweight drawstring satchel). There are places where you'll need both hands to hike
4. No bathrooms or waters on the trail, bathrooms at the bottom
5. Hike is free but we donated money to the group fixing up the trail
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

26 contributions
Feb 2020
This is NOT A WALK IN THE PARK! It is a hike in the beginning, but about 60% of the way up turns into more of a steep hike/climb. Not for fat and out of shape people like me, but I made it.
1) I took about 10 breaks going up.
2) Thank God I brought a liter of water.
3) About half-way through it turns into a bridge for approx. 40 feet where you can slip between the railroad ties, fall 10-15 feet, and break you leg. There are apparently ways of going underneath or to the side of this bridge-like area, but I did not explore those options.
4) I would go in early AM to watch sunrise and avoid sun and crowd.
Written February 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Calgary, Canada424 contributions
Feb 2020
Crazy busy hike. We decided to do this as a sunrise hike on a Sunday. We were not the only ones. We got there just after 6am and there were probably 20 other cars there too. Brought headlamps and started climbing. No need for hiking poles but would recommend hiking gloves as I was constantly grabbing the rails to help get up or down. Going at a slow steady pace we only had to stop a few times. I used the "safe way" around the bridge section, my husband did the bridge section. Most the rails were normal step height there were definitely some that were massive. We got to the summit around 645am. There were some locals that knew better and were already going down. Look at the nautical sunrise time if you want to see the sun peak over the horizon. We were up top exploring for almost an hour. Each side of the top has such different view. I believe this trail can continue down to Koko Arch too (but we didn't do that). Took us 45 min to get down at that point there were people coming up too. I can't imagine how busy this hike is during peak tourism season. If you don't have time for a 4 hour hike but want some views this one is a good one. We had a dry sunny day, would not recommend if wet and would recommend early in the day as there is NO shade
Written February 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Port Orange, FL881 contributions
Oct 2021 • Couples
Hands down Koko head will pump your adrenaline. It tom me under 1hrs with multiple short stops or breaks, but i felt the repercussions for 2 days. Know ypur limits beforw you attempt Koko head. Bring like 2 bottles of 💧. Start early morning preferably. 1048 steps all the way up
Some parts are very sketchy but there are signs for by pass. Highly recommend to by pass the sketchy area.
Written October 26, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ewa Beach, HI60 contributions
Jun 2020 • Couples
This I would rate more as a workout vs a hike as to me a hike you take in nature as you do it and can also let your mind go a bit and just enjoy the moment.. this “hike” you really have to be mentally on at all times.. one slip or mess up can be pretty detrimental. I can say it was not relaxing at all until you reach the very top. The panoramic view from up top makes the 1 mile vertical elliptical workout worth it. The views are stunning of north shore beach and neighborhoods. It is much cooler/windy up too so that definitely helps bring your body core temp down. We saw a few geckos and centipedes up top too, so be careful where you sit on rocks. Cool military history here!
Definitely take your time going up as well as coming down. You may want to wear a camelback first water vs carrying a water bottle so your hands are free to grab the train rails for help if needed. Definitely recommend to have water though especially if in the mid day as you won’t be blessed by the shade on this one.
This is a great workout for sure and we saw all ages and types of fitness levels making it.. one ..step ..at ..a ..time.. 💪
Written June 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ivanhoe, Australia101 contributions
Jan 2020 • Solo

I became aware of this hike via YouTube videos of Oahu – the effort required was obvious from these videos, but it looked like an interesting experience. Being 60yo, I understood it would be folly to attempt this particular climb without some sort of physical conditioning, so I practised by frequently climbing up stairwells in the weeks leading up to my trip from Australia.

I chose to get there on The Bus – route 22 from Waikiki. About a 40-minute trip on a fairly regular service. From the bus stop at the Hanauma Bay entrance it’s about a 10-minute walk which takes you past a rifle range. Great for those who wish to experience the cacophony of automatic weapons.

Arriving at the base of the trail I noticed some graffiti riddled signs with some rather solemn warnings about the safety of the trail. The signs mention the possibilities of falls causing injury and the need for hydration. Having come this far, I gave the warnings due respect but proceeded nonetheless.

The showery weather on the day did play a part – both good and bad. The ‘good’ was that there was no direct sun – this trail is naturally sheltered from the easterly trade winds until you reach the top so direct sun would be uncomfortable. The ‘bad’ was that the trail was disconcertingly slippery.

The first 10 minutes was as expected but I realised after that I had actually underestimated the difficulty of the trail. It wasn’t so much the steepness, considerable as it is, but more about the traction of my shoes and the need for good balance. The old rail sleepers are not flat surfaces and it’s very easy to slip unexpectedly and it doesn’t help at all to walk on the ground beside the old track as this is also steep and slippery. Also, during the climb, I also had the sensation of potentially falling backwards once or twice.

Because of these issues I felt it best to climb particularly slowly – as did others.

The bridge section is mentally challenging as the gaps are wide enough to fall through as well as being steep and slippery. At times I found myself progressing on all fours – as were others.

The last third of the climb is physically exhausting. I needed to stop frequently (about every 20 metres) to catch my breath and thankful for the preparation I did. Finally, at the top you are welcomed by spectacular views, a refreshing breeze and a hand painted sign saying ‘which I will leave as a surprise for you’. It’s definitely worth the effort.

It was worthwhile to hang out at the top and take the time to fully recover because the descent requires concentration all the way to the bottom on this greasy trail.

A couple of footnotes:

I did not notice any bees on my trip but the reported issues with swarming bees in the vicinity of the bridge only came to my attention after the hike.

There are no restrooms anywhere on the trail. There are some near the car park and it would be a good idea to use them before you start
Written January 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Keeley Y
Corona, CA421 contributions
Nov 2021 • Friends
Took us 45 minute to get to the top, 0.7miles. Stairs are sleep. First half is easier, you get to the middle and there were orange cones. You'll know you are at the middle when you have 2 options, to continue the same way up railroad tracks (where there is no ground underneath and you can see below) or you can take the bypass (which is to the right a trail hike). If you go straight you need to pay attention where you are walking and stay on the planks, or you could fall through. After this section, it goes back to previously where the plnaks are on the ground and you can't fall through but it gets even steeper. Distance narrows between steps, steeper incline all the way to the top. Again took me about 45 min to the top with me stopping, but my brother was a little quicker than me so was ahead of me. In my 30s, go to the gym a few times a week. If you go bring a small backpack to put your stuff in so you are hands free so you can climb and use your hands I'd needed vs carrying a water bottle. Bring a granola bar and enjoy it at the top which is an overlook of the city. The weather that days was breezy so there was nice winds and some cloud. It's not shaded so go in the AM. We were there around 10am and parking lot was packed so it seems like there might have been an 8am or early crowd and a 10am crowd. Bathrooms at the parking lot entrance before you go up (no where to go once you start). Wear good shoes. You'll be sweating and huffing and puffing, but worth it at the top!
Written November 25, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mel B
Dumfries, VA11 contributions
Oct 2021
This was quite the adventure! It's not your traditional hike in Hawaii, but I'm SO glad we did it! 1 person inour group was in great cardio shape, and her legs got tired. 1 person in our group was in great muscular/strenght training shape, and her lungs got tired. The other person in our group isn't into health and fitness, so she was tired all around, but she made it up and back, and had to foam roll because she was so sore the next day! So expect a workout!!! When you get to the top, explore around a bit - the views are breathtaking! Not just looking down the way you came, there is so much more at the top! I wouldn't call this a family friendly hike, unless your plan is to only go 1/3 or maybe 1/2 way up. My best advice: GO EARLY! And bring plenty of water! There is no shade and it gets hot early - I can't imagine going up in the heat of the afternoon. It's really tough but it's really worth it, esp. if you have a quiet beach day planned (or nothing rigorous)
Written November 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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