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Koko Crater (East Rim)


"Life's simple. You make choices and you don't look back."

Updated: November 21, 2016

Location: Koko Crater is located just past the Koko Marina Shopping Center. However, instead of going up Koko Head, you drive a little further down to hike up the back side.

Type: Ridge hike

Hike Difficulty: Intermediate

Total Time: 1 to 2 hours

Distance: ~1.5 miles

Elevation: ~1100 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: no
  • Pet Friendly: no
  • This hike goes up from over the arch and down the railway "stairs". Bring two cars to stage at both sides, unless you feel like walking back to your car.
  • Hiking above the arch can be extremely steep, so be cautious and take your time on that section.
  • The hike will seem very fast, since you can see the end destination almost from the start. Take your time on this hike.
  • Once you get on the rim, the trail becomes narrow and there are steep drops on both sides.
  • The ground can be eroded and slippery at times so bring shoes with good grip.
  • It is a great hike to extend the Koko Head stairs if you want something a little more challenging.
  • The hike is a little less than a mile, plus another half mile going down the stairs. Total time will take a little less than 2 hours from the road, hiking up the arch, and then finally reaching the bottom of the stairs.

Your hiking backpack

  • Sun Screen
  • 1 to 2 Liters of water
  • Snacks/lunch
  • GoPro/camera


Take Kalanianaole Hwy towards Hawaii Kai. Drive past the windy road and park at the Halona Blowhole. Walk back along the road towards mile marker 15 and cross the road. Hop the rail and climb up the rocks. The path will lead you to the arch and the start of the rim trail.

Our Journey

Everybody knows about Koko Head and is usually the first hike most people do in Hawaii. It is short, steep, and has amazing views. A lesser known trail is the Koko Crater Arch. This hike combines both trails for a thrilling adventure around the East Rim of the crater! You can also take the West Rim which is a harder and longer trail. This time, we took the East Rim around and down the stairs. We parked one car at the Koko Head District Park, and then we all rode to the Halona Blowhole and parked our other car. We walked along the highway back towards mile marker 15 and started climbing up the rocks. It's a short hike to the arch following along a ridge of the crater. Soon you can see the arch in the distance. If you want to take pictures under the arch, I would suggest going around the left side. The right side is much more steep and the rocks are loose. However, we didn't stop at the arch, so we climbed up and over it. The arch is really steep, but there are a lot of rocks and metal rods to hold on to on your way up. After you get up past the arch, the brush gets overgrown, but the path is fairly visible. Within 30 minutes you should reach the top and the start of the rim trail. Take a left going clockwise along the rim. The trail is narrow with drop offs on both sides. There are parts where you need to go around some boulders, but nothing too crazy. It's a short and exhilarating trail with beautiful ocean views. Once you reach the old bunker, you know you have reached the top of the Koko Head stairs. After some pictures and a short rest, we headed down the stairs. It was a short hike less than 2 hours or so. Definitely a "must do" hike! I have done this hike a couple times already and each time is an amazing experience!




















Ahh, the well known Koko Head. We all know how to get up the stairs, but did you know there was another route from the back side?

























Walk along the guard rails and climb up the rocks in the distance.




















Climbing up the rocks. The ridge in the distance.

This is also the start of the Koko Crater Arch hike.



















Following the ridge up to the arch!




















Looking back towards the highway and the ocean.



















You can see how steep the arch gets. Be careful as the gravel is loose!



















On top of the arch! No turning back from this point. It is super sketchy heading back down the arch.




















Don't forget to take a look back at the view on your way up!

The path above the rim can get a little overgrown. You might get minor scratches on your legs from the dead branches.



















Faint trail, but the only way to go is up!



















The view of inside the crater. Take a left to follow the East Rim Trail to the stairs.























































The trail is really narrow with drop offs on both sides. It was also windy when we went.




















Expect to take another half hour or so ascending the rim.

























There are some boulders that you need to contour around, or climb up and over them.




















Trying to contour around this rock formation.




















Another cool rock formation we had to go around. A nice spot for a picture!




















Just chillin on top of the rock. We climbed up from the back side to take this photo!























































Looking back at the way we came. Not too far from the destination now!



















We contoured around the right side of this obstacle.

























The final push up to the bunker!

























Finally you end up on the back side of the bunker. What a journey!

Now time to head back down the stairs.

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Koko Crater (East Rim)
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