Hawaii is more than just beaches, palm trees, and amazing sunsets. You will also find an abundance of adventure! Koko Crater Head Trail, AKA Koko Head Stairs is an impressive hike that can be seen as you drive on Kalanianaole Hwy:  The spectacular views will not be the only thing that gets your heart racing as you are hiking Koko Head stairs in Hawaii.

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View at the top of Koko Head, Hawaii

Koko Crater Trail Stairs

This climb of approximately 1,050 stairs (or railroad ties) is a challenge for any exercise enthusiast. Hiking Koko Head stairs will leave you breathless, in more ways than one. With its 1200 feet gain in elevation and majestic views of Hanauma Bay and more, it will definitely offer a heart workout like no other.

Koko Head Stairs Hike

Koko Crater is on the eastern side of Maunalua Bay and the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. On its western slope is the community of Portlock, a part of Hawaiʻi Kai.

You will enjoy wonderful views of Hanauma Bay and beyond.  The climb can be grueling and scenic, so its a good idea to take a rest and enjoy the views.

There is a section where a large drop to a ridge is located below. Be careful and take your time and go slow if needed.  You may be huffing and puffing half way up the climb, only to learn you have quite a ways to go. But take one step at a time and you will get there.

Koko Head Stairs


The trail is made up of approximately 1000 old railroad ties that are at the west sides of the crater. The top of Koko Head crater was used as a lookout by the military during World War II. The railroad ties (stairs) is where the tram ran on going to transport needed supplies to those at the summit in the lookout.

Tips For Hiking Koko Head Stairs

When you reach the summit you will be blown away!  It seems to always be windy up there, so be prepared to hang on to your hat or water bottle and be safe. Listed below are a few things to remember if you are going to hike Koko Head Stairs.

  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Bring camera
  • Hike may take between 1-3 hours
  • Take one step at a time
  • High winds at the summit, be aware
View up top Koko Head
Koko Head views

Koko Head stairs is not your average hiking trail. It’s location is centrally located close to lots of other fun activities a short distance from downtown Honolulu.

You might include hiking Koko Head Stairs into your vacation itinerary when you break away from your snorkeling, surfing, lounging, shopping and dining. #Optoutside and conquer this heart pumping amazing hiking trail!

Koko Head is also a place where locals come to do their daily workouts. You might notice people moving quite fast up and down these stairs, so be cautious. These people do this everyday and know the climb, I usually try to move and stay out of their way when I see them coming.

Getting There

Map and Directions:
As you drive East on Kalanianaʻole Hwy, make a left on Lunalilo Home Road. This will be the last left turn in Hawaii Kai before the highway becomes two lanes. Go about 2 blocks. Make a right on Anapalau Street, park in the district park near the baseball fields. Here there is plenty of parking and this is where we usually park. Its a little further walking adding to your hike prior to reaching the trail head for Koko Head stairs.


If you are looking for a unique fun adventure and something different while you are visiting Hawaii, then I recommend hiking Koko Head Stairs! It will please your heart, your eyes, and your soul. Enjoy! Mahalo!


Thank you for being here. Welcome! FitLifeTravel is a lifestyle brand and shares travel inspiration and life's adventures. Sharing ideas for travel excursions and hiking adventures! Helping you adventure better, no matter where you are. Hoping to inspire an active lifestyle through adventure!

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  2. What an unusual hike with the railway ties, don’t think I’ve ever heard about anything like that. Enjoyed reading your post.

    Here in the UK, we’ve been doing a fair bit of hiking during the past year too, among others in Snowdonia, the Lake District, the Peak District, and closer to home in the South Downs and North Downs. Hiking is one of the few things that kept us sane over this terrible period. 🙂

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