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My Trek Up the Koko Crater Railway Trail

The author lives in Hawaii and has a lot to share with readers!

The Planning And Meeting Place

In 2014, my friends from Japan came to visit the island of Oahu. I had a blast taking them to do tourist activities that I wouldn't do in my normal life! Sometimes, being from Hawaii, I take things for granted. Even just walking through Waikiki and visiting the little shops and walking through the hotels and beaches and discovering new places can be so fun and relaxing.

One day we decided to 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. 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 to 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.

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

The bus finally made a stop at Hanauma Bay (another major tourist attraction), which is normally closed on Tuesdays. At Hanauma Bay, you can snorkel and swim among many types of marine life.

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. We heard gunshots from the nearby shooting range, and hoped they weren't firing in our direction!

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

I haven't worked out in years, so this hike was kind of a challenge.

Bus Stop In Waikiki! Bus Route# 22 Hawaii Kai

The bus stop

The bus stop

Hawaii Kai Koko Head Trail Map

The View Up From Below...

The Koko Head Trail in Hawaii Kai

The Koko Head Trail in Hawaii Kai

The Adventure Begins!

The hike is 1,048 steps uphill!

It was a real Stairmaster climb to the top. The trail starts off okay, then eventually becomes a little uneven. 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.

A Very Hot Day!

It all started up nicely, working my feet up the stairs accordingly at a slow pace. It was all very new to me.

My friends led the way (being in better shape than me) and patiently kept tabs on me as they counted the steps while making progress uphil.

Every few steps got harder, especially because we had skipped breakfast. It was a very hot day after 9:00 am but was happy with my 2 bottles of water.

Take your time and rest for a bit on the side! We are almost there.

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!

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 the fulfillment that comes with the accomplishment of my destination.

Views On the Way Up!

The path

The path



Beautiful view down

Beautiful view down

The ocean is gorgeous

The ocean is gorgeous

Looking across the beach

Looking across the beach

Truly beautiful

Truly beautiful

The valley below

The valley below

The coast

The coast

At The Top Of Koko Head Crater

I finally arrived (well after my friends).

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!

Even though I am overweight and have some health issues, I made it to the top with the help and support of my friends. What a challenge indeed!

I'm glad I did it, and maybe someday I'll do it again. I hope to be in better shape next time!

Ending Our Hike

After enjoying the awesome elevated views this place had to offer, it was time to head back down. My friends were right: 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. There's no other 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 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