My Trek Up the Koko Crater Railway Trail

Updated on October 23, 2016

The Planning And Meeting Place

In 2014, my friends from Japan came to visit the island of Oahu and so during my free time on my days off from work, we got to go and do the usual tourist things that tourists do and so I got to play tourist. I really like it because sometimes being from Hawaii, I do take things for granted. Even just by doing the walk through Waikiki and visiting the little shops and walking through the hotels and beaches and discovering new places...etc. can be so much fun and relaxing.

One day we decided to maybe.. do a hike up to the top of the Koko Head trail in Hawaii Kai. Not knowing how to get there by bus, I called the bus company for more info on how to get there. In Waikiki, there is a bus stop where the #22 bus starts from. The # 22 will take you onto Kalakaua through Waikiki and along Diamond Head into the Kahala neighborhood area where it is said to be compared like that of the Beverly Hills of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Our bus driver played tour guide and told stories and jokes over the PA system about some of the homes along the way...on much it costs to live there and so forth (one even about having a pool inside the home).

While trying to figure out where to get off while riding along on the busy highway with hardly any stops, I was beginning to get the feeling that maybe this bus would stop only at certain places.

The bus finally made a stop at another major tourist attraction which is usually closed every Tuesdays, just for your information. That place is known as Hanauma Bay where you can snorkel and swim among the many types of marine life that lives in this beautiful bay.

Finally we reach the entrance of Hanauma Bay located directly across for the Koko Head Park where our hike begins. Unsure of ourselves, we carefully crossed the busy highway to where it led us to a gated area that seemed off limits... but we ventured through anyway. This led us down a dirt road that eventually led us to the parking lot and restroom area. Nearby is a shooting range where shots could be heard and made us wonder which way were they firing at.... Uh-HUH !

At the restroom area we took a short break and enjoyed the refreshing constant breeze. Soon after we headed towards the trail getting ourselves ready for a real workout indeed !

I haven't workout in years and this was my very challenge. Today or NEVER !


The Bus Stop In Waikiki - Bus Route # 22 Hawaii Kai

Hawaii Kai Koko Head Trail Map

A markerHawaii Kai Koko Head Trail -
Koko Head Park Road, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
get directions

The View Up From Below...

The Koko Head Trail in Hawaii Kai.
The Koko Head Trail in Hawaii Kai.

The Adventure Begins !

Here we are...my first step (below as pictured) going along with my friends on the way up to the very top.

How up you might ask...?

Well think 1,048 steps uphill !!!

A real stair master climb to the top. The trail starts off okay, then eventually becoming a little uneven as you go up. From small easy steps to steps farther apart as you go. As you go up, you will then find that the trail is made up of old railroad tracks. It is like a real outdoor stair master experience but with great outdoor scenery.

My first step...leading up The Koko Head Trail.
My first step...leading up The Koko Head Trail.

A Very Hot Day At THE CLIMB !

It all started up nicely, working my feet up the stairs accordingly at a slow pace...not so bad, I thought as I looked up ahead of me. It was all something very new to me and I had mentally visualized myself doing it and had set up my mind into completing my trek up defying this escalating mountain surrounded by the beauty of Hawaii Kai. This is one of those miracles in my life I can say as one who is now... so out of shape and who had fallen out of the vigorous routine I had used to keep in my daily life with the maintaining or monitoring of my weight with regular exercise at the gym using weights and cardio workouts.

My friends led the way being in better shape than me patiently kept tabs on me as they counted the steps while making progress uphill and saying things like...a little bit more and we will reach the 50th step.

Every few steps was harder each time especially after having a hard night previously with no breakfast to start with. It was a very hot day after 9:00am but was happy with my 2 bottles of water...that kept me going.

Take your time and rest for a bit on the side...they said.

We are almost there...at the top.

People climbing up, people descending on the other side. There were a few who sprinted up and down the mountain like it was so easy doing it many times, I've heard.

I was the turtle and they were the rabbits... haha!

Every few steps gave me the chance to take a sip of some ice cold water and appreciate the view as it got better towards reaching my fulfillment that comes with the accomplishment of my destination.


Views On the Way Up... And A Goal Accomplished !

At The Top Of Koko Head Crater

At the top, I finally arrived after my friends.

But after some rest at the top, I began to feel better after recovering from some anxiety I was dealing with from a fear of heights combined with heat exhaustion and with having no breakfast to settle my stomach.

Ah, finally the moment has arrived being together with my friends at the top taking some pictures and panoramic views.

We rested a bit while overlooking Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay, and up towards Sandy Beach areas.

I continued quenching my thirst with some ice cold bottled water...So Refreshing !

Being overweight and with some health issues, I've made it to the top with the help and support with my friends.

What a challenge indeed...

Something I am glad to have done and maybe some day I'll do it again but hope to be in better shape next time.




From The Top To The Bottom

Ending Our Hike Downwards

After enjoying the awesome elevated views this place had to offer, it was time to head back down. I have come to realize what my friends had told me... that going downhill was just as hard.

Little by little, step by step, walking down the uneven stair like steps gradually got harder. But my view of the bottom was my goal and it had to be reached. No choice !

And the hardest part...

The railroad tracks !

Here you can see below the tracks and without the dirt road below it...fearing that you just might fall and have an accident occur if you are not careful. Some people drop to the tracks and do a crawl (spider like) using their arms and legs while forwarding their arms and legs (grasping each next step) trying to not be scared of the distance below.

After you pass the tracks it's about almost half the way more to go.

Little by little we finally made it to the bottom and I was ecstatic and I was craving for a large ice filled cup of diet soda !

We ended up back at the park and parking lot area and decided to head towards the Aina Haina Shopping Center. We crossed the street and walked several blocks for about 15 minutes and had lunch there.

All I had all day was some water and a snickers bar earlier that day.

I felt pretty good though, the feeling you get after working out and having that sense of a DONE accomplishment.

And that was our day... (Highly recommended)

TabiEats Presents...Hawaii Travel - Climbing Up the Very Steep Koko Head Trail

Have you been to the Koko Head Crated Trail in Hawaii yet?

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President Barack Obama surprises hikers on Koko Head Stairs of Doom

Questions & Answers

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      • Minoru10 profile image
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        Michael Yoshinaka 19 months ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

        Great.... Ali,

        Have a wonderful time and let me know how you liked it.

      • profile image

        Ali 19 months ago

        I look forward to doing this hike when I visit Hawaii in December! Thank you for the information Michael :)

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