Hiking Koko Crater Trail

Koko Crater Trail is a 1.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Honolulu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. The trail is one of the hardest trails to hike in Hawaii and attracts thousands of tourists a year. Locals estimate 30 minutes to an hour to accomplish the 1,048 steps uphill.

The trail is a little under two miles, and includes bridge-like portions that one must have to physically climb up and down to avoid falling to a 6ft drop.

This is a steep climb to the top of Koko Head Crater with spectacular panoramic views of the east Honolulu shoreline. The 1000 plus step-like walking track consists of abandoned railroad ties that run along the crater’s west side to the top of Koko Crater. The military used them previously during World War II as part of an incline tram to transport supplies to a lookout post at the summit.

The trail seemed very kid-friendly, over my 48 minutes hiking up I noticed multiple parents carrying their children on there back in nifty backpacks and some even on their shoulders. Locals even accompanied their dogs up the trail. *on leashes of course*

My own personal tips for conquering the hike includes:

1. Stay hydrated. I carried a Hydoflalk full of water (no ice). The design of the cup will keep your water nice and cold even in the heat.

2. Wear comfy clothing and tennis shoes.

3. Carry as LESS as possible!!! It’s a long way up and a load only makes it harder.

4. Headphones can be a plus. Sometimes you need to get your mind off the hike in order to keep going, and music can be the perfect distraction.

5. Be prepared for random rain. Different parts of the island have different weather. Welcome to Hawaii.

6. Take breaks! It’s okay to stop off to the sides and rest. Trust me you will not be the only one doing it. No worries. No judgement.

7. Be ready for a good time and good laughs! There a many people from all walks of life going and down the trail. You will meet many people, some struggling like you and some who have done it so much it’s like a typical walk in the park. Don’t be afraid to make friends and laugh. It makes the hike a lot funnier and makes time fly!

It took us 48 minutes uphill to complete the trail and 18 minutes coming back down. While the hike can be difficult and challenging – it’s definitely more of a mental obstacle than a physical one. Consider the trail another goal on your to-do list. Mentally prepare yourself for the challenge and push yourself. The view from the peak is worth every single drip of sweat.

Happy Hiking!

xoxo, Chelsea Malia

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