Koko Head Trail

Koko Head Trail
koko head 4
View of Hawai’i Kai

If you are looking for a new workout, or a challenging trail with a rewarding view of O’ahu, or want to test your endurance? Then you should try out Koko Head Stairs! When I heard about this hike it sounded rad, and was excited to try it out right away! A trail of 1,048 wooden steps going all the way up to the top of Koko head. At the top, you are 1,200 feet above Hawai’i Kai neigborhood, overlooking a panoramic view of Hanauma Bay and Hawai’i Kai. When I tried this hike last March, I heard it was gnarly, but thought, hey I am active, I can handle it. Definitely was not prepared for what I was about to embark on. Once you get used to doing this trail, like for a lot of locals, it is tradition, as well as a daily or weekly workout. Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare for this trail, because this is a tough outside StairMaster challenge that I recommend to try at least once!

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1. What to Expect Before

This is a very, very steep trail going up, you continuously will be challenging your length strength because it takes a lot of endurance and patience to get to the stop. It is about 1.5 mile roundtrip, and will take you about an hour to go up and probably another hour to get back down. The view at the top is so relaxing and enjoyable. Most people rest and hang out on the pillbox while they appreciate the beautiful scenery. The best part is taking photos of the amazing panoramic view. That is why I recommend to bring a backpack, with snacks, WATER, and sunscreen. Make sure your backpack is not too heavy, because you don’t realize how long and struggling it can be to go up that many steps.

After I finished!
After I finished!

2. Koko Head Stairs

During WWII, people wanted to help with the incline by adding a railway on Koko Head in order to transport military personnel and supplies at the lookout. The steps are not in the best shape, and with the steep hill ascending upward, you are not in the most relaxing up right position. You are constantly leaning forward going up a slanted StepMaster. There is even a patch along the trail with some broken railroad tracks where you can easily drop things below, or fall and hurt yourself. So WATCH YOUR STEP! I noticed with myself, I was losing strength because of how dry and hot it was. My legs went out on me twice, so I fell twice on my ass! I DID NOT GO AT THE BEST TIME, since I wasn’t that prepared, I went during the afternoon where it was the driest and hottest time for the trail.

Rest and Enjoy the View
Rest and Enjoy the View

3. Best Time to Go and for Who!

Best time to try out this trail is either early morning like at sunrise, or shortly before sunset. Just be aware, if you catch a sunset you will be going back down at dark. So bring lights etc. I would say this trail is intermediate to difficult, not sure if enjoyable for kids, but I did see families on the trail. With not so happy children! So, I wouldn’t recommend for kids. This trail is important to be cautious, hydrated, nourished, and body in well rested shape. Be patient and take breaks when needed!

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4. Directions

Driving: Take H1 E, Continue onto HI 72, Turn Left onto Lunalilo Home Rd, Turn Right onto Anapalau St

Bus: I would take the Bus 22 to Sea Life Park and Exit Kalanianaole Hwy/Hanauma Bay Rd. Go to your Left and Take Koko Head Rd, then Turn Left onto Anapalau St to get to Koko Head.


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Jen Bunce

Traveling Alone Often ➳Finding the Keys to Happiness ➳Chasing Enlightenment Around the World

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