Oahu Hiking: How To Prepare For Koko Head

Oahu Hiking Trails: Preparing for the Koko Head Hike

The Koko Head stairs is by far one of the more challenging hikes on Oahu; to get this incredible view, you have to climb 1,048 steps to get there. Don’t worry, with proper preparation everyone can hike Koko Head! I am going to give you a few pointers to succeed, so you can capture beautiful photography of Hawaii and feel invigorated with your accomplishments when you finish climbing the Koko Head stairs!


The view at the top is simply stunning

Koko Crater trail, aka Koko Head, is located on the east side of Oahu, offering a stunning 360 panoramic view of Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Sandy’s Beach, the eastern coast, and the homes in Hawaii Kai.

I remember the first time I attempted the Koko Head trail while vacationing in Hawaii. My best friend was already living in Honolulu and I begged her and a few others to take me. I assured them that I would be fine because “I am an avid runner in the midwest.” Well, needless to say, I was not used to the Hawaiian sun, started off too fast, and ran out of water too soon!


I recommend you try the Koko head hiking trail at least one time. You never know, you may fall in love with it too!

However, every time I would stop to take a break and look back, the horizon view would extend and new landmarks would come into sight. I could see the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and views of Hanauma Bay, and that was my motivation to continue!


Koko head, Oahu is a great workout – challenge your fitness and endurance level

Now, as a resident of Hawaii, I try to climb Koko Head stairs every other week for a workout to challenge my fitness and endurance level. I personally love Koko Head now and see young children to older adults hiking. I recommend for everyone to try the Koko Head trail in Oahu at least one time. You never know, you may fall in love with it too!

How Long Does it Take to Hike Koko Head?

Depending on your speed, the Koko Head trail can take anywhere from 15 minutes running, to a slower climb of 90 minutes to hike to the top. Be sure to give yourself time to rest and rehydrate at the top before beginning your descent. Koko Head can be quite strenuous, so it’s important to wear proper footwear and bring lots of water.

How Many Steps are there in Koko Head?

There are whopping 1,048 steps (about 1.5 miles) in total in the Koko Head trail. It’s a challenge — your legs will be burning and you’ll be drenched in sweat, but the views are always worth it.

Top Ways to Prepare for the Koko Crater Hike

  1. Go around sunrise or sunset
  2. There is little to no shade on this hike and it will only get hotter as the sun rises
  3. Know how long it takes to hike Koko Head; about 1-3 hours depending on how long you plan to stay at the top
  4. Drink lots of water throughout the hike and bring small healthy snacks for the top
  5. Protect your skin
  6. Wear a lot of sunscreen and bring a small bottle to re-apply at the top
  7. Wear a hat and sunglasses
  8. Wear good hiking shoes and socks. Do not wear flip flops
  9. Bring a small first aid kit in case of emergencies
  10. Start off slow and take as many breaks as necessary
  11. When taking a break to catch your breath, move to the side to allow other hikers to pass by
  12. Be careful and watch every step you climb up or down
  13. Use a walking stick for balance if needed
  14. Use common sense. Do NOT attempt this hike if you have any heart conditions or serious knee problems
  15. If you have time before your vacation or are a resident of Hawaii looking to reach your next fitness level, start training at the gym using the stairmaster

Koko Head Hike Parking, Cost, Activities, and Directions

The Koko Head trail is easy to get to and easy to find parking. Park in the Koko Head District Park parking lot that leads to the trailhead, about 100 yards away.

Good luck – and remember to take lots of pictures and enjoy yourself!!

Want to Know More About Hawaii Life?

If you’re interested in learning more about the Koko Head trail, or are looking for property in Oahu, give us a call today at 1-800-370-3848.

Comments (0) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

More Articles from Hawaii Life