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posted by Dave on Mar 10

On February 15 Honolulu city workers posted a “Keep Out” sign at the popular Koko Head hiking trail causing a public outcry (see Honolulu Advertiser article). They were concerned about the proximity to the Koko Head firing range which could create a safety hazard. By the end of the day the city relented for now but the battle could rage on. We thought it would be a perfect time to explore this and once again hike up Koko Head.

At the start of the trail there is a sign asking hikers to sign a petition to keep the trail open. If you are a Hawaii Resident you can help out by signing a petition here and mailing it in.

The trail follows an abandoned World War II era railroad track straight up to the side of Koko Crater which is 1206 feet above sea level. It consists of around 1100 steps though I did not personally count them all.

After a little more than 500 steps you come to weathered bridge. Brave people with good balance just walk right over it. Some people stop here, others get down on their hands and knees and crawl over the bridge. Either way be careful I do recommend gloves as it is easy to get a splinter. Care is also needed because there are holes in the bridge and also some wooden beams are loose and may move.

By this point we are pretty high up and unless you are in great shape a bit out of breath. It is usually hot with little shade so be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen and wearing a hat will help. Also be sure to bring plenty of water because unlike the rumor there is no Jamba Juice at the top :)

Here is a picture of Hanauma Bay that I snapped from just above the bridge. Hanauma Bay has great snorkeling as you can swim along reefs and view all the colorful fish. At about this time I’m wishing I was swimming in the bay as it is hot and dusty but the views are priceless.

After many rests and a lot more steps we hit the top which looks holds a metal structure which either was the top of the railroad tracks or perhaps as some people mentioned a helipad. Here we are at the top with an amazing 360 degree view. As everybody at the top would agree its well worth the journey and the days of pain afterwards as the view is incredible.

This is a picture of the Koko Head firing range and the center of the controversy. As you see there is one range at the top with people firing away from Koko Head but the larger range under that long white covering is facing in the general direction of the trail itself. While hiking you hear the gunshots.

Finally here a video of the 360 degree panoramic view from the top of Koko Head. If you’re in Hawaii check out the Koko Head hike its a lot of effort but very rewarding.

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14 Comments to “Koko Head Hike”

  1. boomer Says:

    That’s looks like an awesome hike! Oh and cool video? How long does the hike take?

  2. Dave Says:

    Thanks Boomer. If you’re in great shape you can make it to the top in about half an hour but for the average person maybe 1-2 hours depending on how many times you rest and for how long. Overall allow an average group about 3 hours total since going down is faster but you definitely want to spend some time at the top admiring the view.

  3. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » March 10: Koko Head Says:

    […] by Dave on Mar 10 « Koko Head Hike March 11: Hanauma Bay […]

  4. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » March 11: Hanauma Bay Says:

    […] This is a picture of Hanauma Bay which is one of Hawaii’s biggest attractions.  You can swim and snorkel among the reefs and view thousands of tropical fish.  This was taken from the Koko Head hiking trail. […]

  5. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » November 10: View at Koko Head Ridge Says:

    […] View from the top of Koko Head looking along the ridge.  I wanted to start the new week off with a nice scenic view.  Also check up our writeup on the Koko Head Hike. […]

  6. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » 03.03: Ray of Light Says:

    […] head and Koko Crater, the prominent peaks on the east end of Maunalua Bay.   See our journey up to Koko Head.  The Maunalua region  has many cultural sites and the bay provides recreational activities such […]

  7. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » 03.09: Ko’olau Range Says:

    […] is also believed to have created many eastern Oahu landmarks such as Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Koko Head and […]

  8. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » 09.15: Koko Head from the ridge Says:

    […] is a view of Koko Head from the Mariner’s Ridge hiking trail.  You can see our past Koko Head hike here.   The Hawaiian name for Mariner’s Ridge is Kaluanui Ridge.  It is part of the […]

  9. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » 07.30: Hanauma Bay Says:

    […] We close our our Kokohead trail series with a picture of Hanauma Bay as viewed from the summit of Kokohead. The pristine protected horseshoe shaped bay is a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park.  It is also one of Oahu’s top visitor attractions. If your visiting the islands and like to swim or snorkel be sure to make a visit to Hanauma Bay.  If you want to see an earlier write up I did visit my Kokohead adventure page. […]

  10. Crystal Says:

    I live in Hawaii and for the first time did this hike today. I was recently discovered to have asthma and Graves Disease. This hike was unbelievably hard. It took me 2 hours to go up, and 3 hours to come down! I cried all the way down cause my body just shut down! Im not to sure I’ll do it again, but it was worth all the anguish. The people were so nice, motivating me, and giving me water when I ran out. I am so thankful that I made it to the top. After the bridge I was set I’m going back…but I stuck thru and made it. It was beautiful, and when I get over my Graves Disease I will be making the trip back up. Time to beat: 5 hours! It might have taken me longer than everyone else. But atleast I made it to the top!

  11. Dave Says:


    Congrats I hope the view at the top was great that day. Its great that you overcame both asthma and Graves Disease and did not give up to you made it to the top. I see many people turn around at the bridge. Its not so much the distance but the huge elevation you need to climb up and the unrelenting sun beating down on you. You serve as an inspiration and I hope others who attempt this trail and are about to give up.. can draw strength from your story.

  12. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » 02.09: Koko Crater Bridge Says:

    […] make it into the episode. If you would like your try at running (or walking) up here visit our Koko Crater Page.  Its usually very hot so be sure to sunscreen well and bring a lot of water and be careful […]

  13. Gale Mayette Says:

    Awesome job over again! Thank you:)

  14. Global Hawaii Blog » Blog Archive » 05.08: Koko Head Says:

    […] leading to the top of Koko Head which is a lot harder then this ridge trail. Look to see my trip of Koko Head here. Don’t miss tomorrows Hanauma Bay […]

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