Koko Crater Railway Trail
Koko Crater Railway Trail
4.5
About
Also known as the "Koko Head Stairs," this abandoned WWII railway track is a steep and challenging hiking trail with over 1,000 steps (but worth it for the panoramic views).
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  • Jennifer S
    Washington DC, District of Columbia89 contributions
    Your heart will pump and your spirit will soar
    I hike quite a bit but something about this scared me. Not being one to not do what I set out to do off i went- I’m so glad I did. The view from the top is gorgeous even on a somewhat overcast morning. The trail up not as scary as it looks, challenging yes. And the last 100ish steps are steep ( worse coming down). I have a decent level of fitness, but can’t fly down stairs like I did in my 20-40s. So the trip down was a little slower than going up. 40 minutes up an hour down. I stopped plenty going up, there is no shame. Your fellow hikers will cheer you on, it is a wonderful way to spend an early morning. For a cool down I hiked Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail. You won’t be disappointed don’t skip this hike.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 8 March 2023
  • TaylorMade
    Seattle, Washington275 contributions
    Do it!!
    A challenging hike- and a rare opportunity. I was concerned about doing this hike after reading some of the reviews, however, it is totally do-able.. though do it no later than mid morning, for sure. I just took my time and stopped when needed, along with plenty of water. Wear good gripping shoes. Great experience! The view at the top is a absolutely amazing!! Don’t stop once you reach the top of the stairs - follow the dirt trail and go to the top of the mountain!! Breathtaking!!
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 13 March 2023
  • York
    4 contributions
    Do it
    Great workout - stair master 5000! It's not a 'hike' IMO and you DON'T need hiking shoes like some people here will tell you. Runners are just fine but would avoid anything less like sandals. That said, shoes with at least a little grip will help on the way down, especially if there's any rain. My partner and I are by no means athletes, but both casual hikers (38yo from Vancouver, Canada). Going up took us 22-25mins, going down was around the same. My calves were burning for days after the descent :P Great views from the top. We did it not long after sun rise and before our 9am reservation at Hanauma Bay (which I wouldn't recommend but that's another review). The weather was wet, windy, cloudy, then sunny so glad we both had rain shells with us as it made a more comfortable time at the top.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 16 March 2023
  • Nikko Gandia
    Monterey, California486 contributions
    Hiking To The Kokohead Lookout
    I hiked this & many other trails on 09/08 during my first visit to Hawai'i & posted a vlog! Search "Nikko Gandia Travels" on YT. The trail felt moderate to me. The incline is abrupt, take breaks when needed and enjoy the views. Consider bringing a walking pole or stick, going back down may be more difficult for some. Small section towards the top without ground coverage - take Murphy's bypass to avoid this (look for sign). Great views of north, east, and south O'ahu at the summit.
    Visited September 2022
    Written 18 March 2023
  • Art B
    San Rafael, California4 contributions
    A fun challenge, but can be dangerous
    I'm a very experienced hiker who did this trail last week for the first time. I do NOT recommend this hike for kids or younger teenagers, because the downhill portion is so steep that if you miss your foot placement on the railroad ties on the downhill, especially during the section where the wooden ties are about 10 to 12 feet above ground level, a sprained ankle would be a lucky outcome. The day I did it, March 25th, they were air-lifting a young person I later heard was 12 years old who went too fast on the downhill, tumbled, and broke multiple bones, including his leg. A medical rescue helicopter was hovering for about 10 minutes before they lifted him off the hill. As for older people (over 60, like myself ), or people are not so physically active who are thinking about doing this, carefully consider your fitness and agility level. You can and probably will take rests on the steep uphill, but some parts of the downhill don't lend themselves to stopping easily. It basically requires about 1000 controlled lunges on the downhill for anyone who isn't long-legged or who (like me) no longer has youthful flexibility.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 31 March 2023
  • Anita S
    Lake Cowichan, Canada77 contributions
    61yr old and out of shape....GO FOR IT
    Took taxi to Koko Head from Waikiki ($$) arrived by 10am. Lots of other hikers. I was nervous about completing this hike but just took it slow and steady. Lots of places to step off trail which I did frequently. Being railroad ties and not actual steps was def interesting! I didn't cross "bridge" part went around. Felt incredibly proud of myself when I reached the top! I kept hiking up dirt trail to metal platform at very top and wow the views. Loved looking into crater and towards Waikiki. I spent a hour at top just sitting on platform and enjoying views. Going back down I was very careful and mindful of every step. I actually went sideways AND held on to railway metal rail lol. I didn't care how I looked! Yes it was steep from top. When I felt more comfortable I let go of rail and still went sideways. I made sure I moved aside for everyone passing me. Yes some were running...up and down...wow. This is a challenging but doable hike. Go for it! I took bus back to Waikiki. Walked to plaza, took a bus to transfer station then #23. Was about a hour to get back to Waikiki
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 15 May 2023
  • Jim K
    2 contributions
    Not for the faint of heart but great views
    Very steep steps to top of Koko Head; if you have any issues wit heights or not very fit this may not be for you. If you make it to the top (30-90 minutes depending on pace) you are rewarded with a great workout and views. There is plenty of room to pull off to side and rest if needed.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 15 May 2023
  • Sarah B
    Boston, Massachusetts152 contributions
    Quite a workout and view
    This hike will kick your butt and then some. Be prepared for that and you’ll be fine. Not for someone who doesn’t have an established fitness routine with cardio and endurance. You’ll hear such folks (myself included) questioning their choices on the way up! Did not make it to the top, the last 90 feet are nearly vertical, just brutal, I couldn’t do it and tapped out. But even the view from there was fabulous! No regrets.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 June 2023
  • Ron
    Tampa, Florida14 contributions
    Good tough hike
    I hiked Koko head on my last day in Hawaii. Koko head is pretty challenging but the view from top is worth the hike. Definitely hike at your own pace and bring water. Best time to hike is early morning or during sunset. Aloha
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled solo
    Written 1 August 2023
  • Chris Pouliot
    8 contributions
    Challenging but the view is worth it!
    The climb up is something that needs to be done in the morning before it gets too hot. The view at the top is breathtaking, well worth the effort. Beware on your way down however as it is easy to slip and tumble (my wife did and got banged up). Took us 1h40mins to get up going slowly and taking multiple breaks. Bring lots of water and snacks as there is nothing available at the top....
    Visited August 2023
    Written 5 August 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Jehovich Medina
Jacksonville, FL52 contributions
Feb 2024 • Couples
It was definitely a great challenge which I knew wouldn’t be easy but definitely achievable average time to complete between 30 minutes to an hour. My wife and I completed the hike in 48 minutes.
Written 26 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

meganwesley
Gainesville, VA24 contributions
Feb 2024 • Solo
An awesome and unique challenge! Doable with lots of breaks going up. Mind over matter and steady footing on the way down.
Written 16 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah J
London, Canada5 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
Amazing views from the top. Steep and many steps, but you can rest to the side on the way up as frequently as you need.
No shade, so recommend early in the day or cloudy day.
Worth the climb!
Written 24 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paul Stewart
Cameron Park, CA9 contributions
Dec 2023 • Friends
I like to push myself on certain hikes and this a great one to test you. That said, I believe anyone can do it, but you just need to pace yourself and rush. Just turn around when you are out of gas and enjoy the view, then March on. They have pullouts to rest and sit if needed. One water bottle is enough, but a cool drink waiting for you in the car….🙏🏻👊🏼

I you are not afraid of heights and can focus well, take the railroad ties all the way up and down. If not, take the dirt trail pull-out for the section where the ties have a 40-50 drop underneath the gaps.

Once at the top, explore the different paths for the plethora of views.
Written 30 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alexis O
Grand Rapids, MI170 contributions
Dec 2023 • Couples
This was hands down the most physically demanding and mentally challenging hike I’ve ever done, but the views at the top made it worth EVERY bit of suffering! The key things to keep in mind are to take it slow, bring and drink LOTS of water, go EARLY to avoid the heat, and pay attention to where you’re walking. This would not be a good hike in wind or rain. There are lots of places to pull off the trail to take breaks and there is a section that is pretty sketchy with exposed drop between the rail ties, but there is a bypass if you want to play it safe!
Written 22 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Buzanits
6 contributions
Dec 2022 • Friends
A steep trail, but if you have average fitness it should not be a problem. The view to all sides on the top is worth the effort. Bring enough water, there is no water available.
Written 14 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Happiness54300038802
1 contribution
Oct 2023 • Solo
My son’s family lives near Koko head and impulsively I went one midday. I didn’t feel all that well at about 900’ (of 1,000’) so I didn’t finish and just came back down. I’m short so the stairs were tougher for me then, say a switch back trail. Also, I felt insecurity with footing and had to be cautious, otherwise I envisioned slipping and damaging a knee or worse. Because I didn’t get to the top I can’t really give it a proper review, but I can say that the next time I’m over there, I’m bringing hiking pole(s). What I liked best was the exertion level by time as it has the right amount of both for me.
Written 10 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Neil B
Auckland, New Zealand1,170 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
Probably the toughest short hike I’ve ever done! Great feeling on reaching the summit and the views are amazing. You need to have a reasonable level of fitness and wear appropriate footwear!
Written 19 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

maribel t
North Vancouver, Canada82 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
The hike was very hard because of the hot and wet weather , but it’s worth it because of the views.Take a lot of water and sunscreen
Written 7 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kris B.
Poulsbo, WA80 contributions
Oct 2023 • Friends
Not for the faint of heart. This is a super challenging trail. Take LOTS of water, take LOTS of rests, take your time! It WILL be very, very hot. Well worth it, but you will definitely have to earn those 360 views. Someone really needs to put a tiki bar at the top! Hiking poles would be a hinderance, rather than helpful.
Written 3 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Koko Crater Railway Trail - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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