The back of Koko Head Park (423 Kaumakani St.) on the East side of Oahu features Koko Crater, one of three craters on the island along with Diamond Head and Ka’au. This one is of interest for people looking for great views of the East and South side of the island as well as a great and short workout. The crater houses a botanical garden that is very vibrant during the Spring season which complements the surrounding expansive view from the top. But getting to the top is not an easy task. The most common way to reach the top is to take a long set of stairs. Although this is a safer method than climbing the ridge (see: Arch), it may be the most strenuous way to reach your goal.
An old railroad track is used to reach the top. No longer in use, many hikers everyday use this path to reach the top of the crater. Expect large crowds on the weekends as this is a popular trail for both locals and tourists. There are 1,048 steps to climb in total and you are essentially doing over 1,000 lunges on your way up. Stretching at the beginning and at the mid point is recommended. You also will not have any shade on the main trail and will be walking right under the sun if you start around 10 AM or later. The trail is not long but do bring a lot of water and sun screen if you feel the need. Steps are fairly shallow at the beginning but they become increasingly steeper as you get to the top.
The midpoint of the trail features a short bridge section. Note that falling over the sides can be disastrous but falling through the rails is not likely. Take you time and use your hands if needed. There is also a trail on the side which you can use to go around the bridge.
You will see many people resting at this spot once you get to the end. Many of them will look completely wiped out. But don’t stop, a short climb will lead you to some amazing views of the island.
Explorers: Marvin Chandra (only Adventure Dude to complete the trail 4 consecutive times in one day)
All photos by Marvin Chandra