Hey, it’s Flashback Friday! This is the Koko Crater Arch, an alternative route to the top of Koko Crater. We actually did this hike a while ago, but for some reason, the write-up and photos never found it way to the Exploration: Hawaii blog. Well, here it is. We might have to make Flashback Fridays a regular thing, considering I have tons old stuff that has not yet made it to the blog. We’ll see.
All posts tagged Koko Head
I’ve been having so much fun playing around with my GoPro HD Helmet HERO Camera! I love it because it’s so simple and so compact. Here’s a quick little timelapse of the sun setting over Koko Head. Actually, the sun was pretty much down but not completely, so I was able get photos of some beautiful color shifts into the evening. To do this, I hiked the Mauka Rim of the crater for the first time, but that’s a different post and an entirely different story all together. Enjoy the video and let me know what you think.
Music: Houdini by Foster The People
Now that we’ve done and completed the Koko Head Crater Stairs Trail on numerous occasions, it was time that we explored the crater rim. The stairs trail is a great and relatively safe cardio workout, however, the Koko Crater Rim Trail is perfect for those looking to get their adrenaline pumping while navigating narrow trails, and doing some rock climbing.
Now, there are a few ways that you can go about and tackle this trail. Most people will start from the bottom of the makai (toward the ocean) side / east side of the crater and then work their way up to the top lookout point of the crater. Both Kaleo Lancaster and Aloha From 808 navigated this route.
Our plan was to start with the typical ascend up the Koko Crater Stairs before sunrise, reach the top to see the sunrise over Hawaii Kai, descend down the makai side of the crater rim, ascend up the mauka side of the crater rim back to the lookout and then walk back down the crater stairs. We started going up the stairs at 5:15 am. Surprisingly, the moon and the city lights were enough for us to navigate up with the use of our flashlights. We reached the top of the stairs at 5:41 am. I’m pretty proud of the 26 minutes climb to the top – my record so far! When we reached the top of the lookout, the sun was just about working its way up – it was a beautiful sight.
After enjoying the sunrise, we began our descent down the east crater rim. The trickiest part was definitely the start of the descent. The rock here is pretty loose and there are some real narrow sections (see video below) to the rim. Once you get past the first section going down, the trail get a bit easier.
As you walk down the rim, you’ll get some world class views of Sandy Beach (to the right) and inside the crater (to the left). If you look back you can see the locals and tourists staring down at you from the top of the lookout. The views are pretty cool.
As we navigated down the east trail, we noticed that the winds were getting a bit stronger and we noticed some ominous clouds over the mauka (towards the mountain) side of the rim. So we made the decision to finish off the makai rim trail and then call it a day. Now, there are two starting points when beginning the makai rim trail. One starts at the Koko Crater Botanical Garden located within the rim and the other starts at a natural arch. We terminated the makai trail via the botanical garden. I tried looking for the natural arch but couldn’t find it. Next time I’ll find it.
This was also the first time that I used my new GoPro HD Helmet HERO Camera. I used the headstrap mount and recorded the descent the down the east side of the rim. I thought about recording the initial ascent up the stairs trail but figured that the lack of light (pre-sunrise) would make the recording pretty worthless. Be sure to check out the video that I put together documenting our experience going down the crater rim.
Koko Head Crater Makai Side Rim Trail Tips:
- My Vibram FiveFingers KSO Trek Sport’s worked very well on this particular hike.
- If you decide to climb up the stairs first then be sure to bring water with you, the hike up can be quite strenuous.
- There are a ton of dry plants, shrubbery, and cacti, so it’s a good idea to wear long pants on this hike.
- You’ll do some light climbing and grabbing on to branches, shrubs and rock so a pair of gloves would be a good idea.
- Review Marvin’s write up of the Koko Head Crater Stairs Trail.
The back of Koko Head park on the East side of Oahu features Koko Crater, another one of the three craters on the island. 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 workout. The above image shows one of the great views seen at the top of the crater, the crater houses a botanical garden that is very vibrant during the Spring season. 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, 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.