How to Take On the Tough Koko Head Trail Hike


The Koko Head Trail hike is a popular attraction for everyone from first-time Oahu visitors to fitness-minded locals who regularly run the steep trail. The hike is just 1.5-miles round trip, but reaching the 1,200-foot summit requires a 1,000-stair climb. There’s no arguing that the hike is physically demanding, but at Discover Hawaii Tours, we know it offers stunning vistas that you won’t want to miss. Here are our tips for conquering this challenging hike.

Get Out Early

As the day goes on, staying hydrated and motivated can be difficult. Beating the heat can help you reach the top of the trail without over-exerting yourself. Our Koko Head Crater Sunrise Hike starts early so that you can enjoy a spectacular sunrise and start climbing before the heat becomes brutal. We recommend that you dress for the heat and bring water, sunglasses, and sunscreen so you can stay comfortable throughout the hike.

Pace Yourself

The Koko Head Crater Trail Hike consists of two stages. The first 500 steps have a moderate incline, and you may find this part of the trail manageable, but make sure to conserve some energy for the final push to the top. After crossing a bridge or side trail, you will reach the second half of the trail, where the pitch increases considerably. During this section, make sure you take rest breaks; you don’t want to exhaust your legs before the walk down.  

Get Down Safely

Although climbing the Koko Head trail is tough, getting back down can be challenging, too. It’s best to take the descent one step at a time. If you notice stress on your knee joints, try sidestepping down the stairs instead of tackling them directly. Watch out for people descending faster than you — people who are exercising often come flying down the stairs.

Rest and Recover

After you’ve completed this grueling hike, reward yourself with a good meal and a day without too much physical exertion. We follow up our Koko Head Crater Sunrise Hike with breakfast at the nearby marina, sightseeing, and swimming at picturesque Halona Cove. If you’re ready to reserve a spot to hike Koko Head Trail and enjoy a full day of adventure with Discover Hawaii Tours, please call us today at 808-670-3743.

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