Koko Crater
Koko Crater

Koko Crater

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii, 96825

The basics

Originally used by the US military to transport supplies and equipment to the summit, the stairs comprise 1,048 railroad ties, though some have eroded over the years. Although the 1.4-mile (2.2-kilometer) round-trip trail starts gently, it gets steep, with a pitch of 50 degrees at some points. There’s also a railway bridge halfway up that hovers over a ravine, though a bypass is available. At the top, find graffiti-covered bunkers and some of the best views on Oahu. Some Oahu sightseeing tours will pass by Koko Crater. Guided hikes are also available.

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Things to know before you go

  • Because the trail is steep and can be difficult, it’s suitable for those with good fitness levels.
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes, put on sunscreen, and pack plenty of water. Bring headlamps if attempting the trail early or late.
  • When taking breaks, step off to the side of the trail to let others pass. Hikers ascending have the right of way.
  • Restrooms can be found at the trailhead parking lot.
  • Although the Koko Crater Trail is sometimes referred to as the “Koko Head Stairs,” Koko Crater and Koko Head are two different mountains.
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How to get there

The trailhead for Koko Crater is located on the north end of Koko Head Park Road, off of Kalanianaole Highway, around 13 miles (21 kilometers) away from Honolulu. Parking can be found near the baseball field in Koko Head District Park. Additional parking lots can be found elsewhere in the park.

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When to get there

Given the lack of shade, it’s best to attempt the trail when it’s cool outside, in the early morning or evening. These are also the most popular times to hike the trail, especially over the summer. It can take 30 to 90 minutes to complete the hike, depending on how often you stop to rest. Some parts of the trek can be slippery, so it’s best to avoid it during or after it rains.

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Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Nestled inside Koko Crater, the Koko Crater Botanical Garden spans 60 acres (24 hectares). In addition to native Hawaiian plants, it’s home to plants from Africa, Madagascar, and the Americas, dryland palms, cacti, succulents, and other unusual plants. Don’t miss the plumeria grove. It’s free to enter the botanical garden, which is open year-round, except on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

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