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.