Koko Head Hike – Never Give Up

Koko Head Hike

I have hiked Diamond Head several times and I love the view from the top. I decided it was time to take it up a notch and try the Koko Head hike. I have driven past it numerous times and although it looks intimidating I thought how bad can it be?

Koko Head hike aerial view


The trail is actually a railroad track that was once used by the military to transport supplies to a lookout shelter at the top. The Koko Head hike consists of 1,048 steps to the top but the real challenge is the 1,200 ft increase in elevation.

Koko Head Hike on Oahu


A friend of mine, Geri, does the Koko Head hike often so she picked us up and we headed to Koko Head Crater. We decided to go at our own pace and meet at the top. Although some consider Koko Head a hike it is more like a never ending staircase that gets steeper the closer you get to the summit.

Koko Head Hike


My breathing became heavy sooner than later. I figured since I am a travel blogger I should stop and take some photos and videos – you know for the blog’s sake. I took a break to capture the scenery and catch my breath.  As I continued to climb I came to a bridge. At this point I was getting tired but I was not even half way to the top.

Koko Head Hike Bridge


One thing I did enjoy was the camaraderie. Everyone was encouraging and motivating others to keep going. I stopped on the side of the trail a few times to catch my breath and take in the scenery. I laughed when I passed this message – it is funny because it is true.

Koko Head Hike Warning


The higher I climbed the more spectacular the view became. I was getting tired and I will admit giving up crossed my mind. I was only ten steps from the top and had to take another break. Geri was at the top encouraging me so I got up and took the final steps.

Koko Head Hike


I was so relieved when I made it!

Top Step of Koko Head


Once I got to the top I took a short path to a great lookout. I sat down and took in the view of Hanauma Bay and Hawaii Kai. John and Geri told me to turn around and take in the view of the other side but I told them if I got up I may throw up. I am only telling you this because this hike is not for everyone. I am in pretty good shape and I struggled to make it to the summit. Once I got to the top the view was amazing. It was one of the best views I have experienced. As I sat there and caught my breath it dawned on me: the greatest challenges often have the greatest rewards. There are many times in life we want to give up. We have to keep on climbing because when we get to the top we are rewarded with a new outlook on the world.

View of Hanauma Bay from Koko Head Hike

Koko Head Hike View

Koko Head view of Hanauma Bay

Koko Head Crater


I was a little nervous that going back down was going to be tough but it wasn’t bad at all. As I saw people struggling and getting discouraged I encouraged them just as I had been encouraged. I think I was smiling the entire way down. I was proud of myself.

John and Geri were waiting for me at the bottom and we took some photos to document that we conquered the Koko Head hike.

Koko Head Hike Complete

Hawaii Hikes Koko Head Crater


If you want a fun workout I highly recommend the Koko Head hike! My biggest mistake was not taking water with me so be sure to bring water and hydrate throughout the Koko Head hike. Take it at your own pace and have fun!

I would recommend doing the Diamond Head hike first. Diamond Head is much easier and the views of Waikiki are spectacular. If you find Diamond Head to be a challenge you may want to skip the Koko Head hike and enjoy some other Hawaii Activities. Instead of seeing Hanauma Bay from the top of Koko Head you may opt to just go to Hanauma Bay for some of the best snorkeling in the world. Other Hawaii Activities that include views of Koko Head include Jet Lev Water Jet Pack and Bob Underwater Scooters.

Check out the video we made of the Koko Head Hike.


Have you ever done the Koko Head hike? What did you think about it?

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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth has been blogging about the best Hawaii Activities for over 7 years. She loves sharing the Aloha Spirit.
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6 Responses to Koko Head Hike – Never Give Up

  1. Great blog Elizabeth! Thank you for sharing the link in the Koko Crater Trail Facebook page. I really like the footage of the trail. The view is spectacular from start to finish. =) Many of our friends and visitors who ‘Like’ our Koko Crater Trail page at http://m.facebook.com/KokoCraterTrail? have posted spectacular photos sharing their experience with us. Thank you for sharing yours.

    Your readers can check out the Koko Crater Trail page on Facebook and share their pics and experiences too!

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