KOKO Crater – Killer Workout with an Incredible View – Oahu, Hawaii
If you ever find yourself on Oahu in Hawaii and you are looking for a good workout, look no further than Koko Crater. This 1,208 foot Volcanic Tuff cone rises precipitously up from the edge of the Pacific Ocean and overlooks the submerged vent that is the famous “Hanauma Bay” State Preserve.
There is an old “Cog” type railway that used to run up to the summit of this volcano where in WWII there was an active air defense observation post. The facilities at the summit are in ruins but the railway track remains largly intact. My wife and I hiked this little mountain when we were visiting Oahu.
It is a hot and physically demanding thing to do so you will need to take plenty of water and maybe some grub for a snack when you get on top. Took us about 40 min to get to the summit and when you reach it, the views are incredible. Could see shafts of sunlight breaking through the clouds over the higher mountains of Oahu and further on, the high rises of Waikiki were visible to the right of Diamond Head.
Neighborhoods were laid out like a map below and we could see down into Hanauma Bay and on the other side, down into Koko crater. The hike up is somewhat difficult as the railroad ties are spaced a bit larger than normal steps so you have to “work” for the next level of elevation attained. This is a very popular trail and it may be a bit crowded when you go but no matter, the view and experience will make it so you hardly notice unless you have to wait for someone or you are holding some high speed hiker up.
There is an old bridge part way up where you have to balance carefully on the ties of the bridge or you will fall 20 feet down into a chasm. The last pitch up to the summit is unreasonably steep and once you top out you have the sense that you have really accomplished something. To get there from Waikiki – follow H1 Freeway east to its end where it turns into HWY 72 or Kalanianaole Hwy.
Just before this road begins the climb up to the saddle between Koko head and Koko crater, turn left on Lunalilo Home Road. Follow this road for a ways and then make a right on Anapalau Street and follow it to Koko Head Regional Park. Drive past the baseball facilities on your left and the basketball courts on your right and park as near the top of the parking lot as you can.
The trail from here is obvious and it tops a berm and then follows a paved road for a bit until it reaches the base of the old railway. From there it is UP, UP, UP!. Don’t be alarmed if you hear gunfire in the area as the Koko Head Rifle Range is just beyond the parking lot.