The Koko Crater Railway Trail is a short, but intensive hike that offers great views of Koko Crater, Hawaii Kai, Haunama Bay, & the entire Maunalua Region.
The trail follows a series of stairs or steps made up of railroad ties that used to be used as a tramway to the Pu’u Mai Summit of Kohelepelepe.
The short, but intense summit makes this one of the most attractive hikes & & trails on Oahu for both tourists & locals alike.
It is also commonly called “Koko Crater Stairs,” “Koko Head Stairs,” “Koko Stairs of Doom,” or the “Pu’u Mai Trail.”
|Best time:||Weekdays, early morning before it gets too hot|
Located in Hawaii Kai in east Honolulu, this trail is easily accessible to get to from Waikiki & the rest of town.
If you’re coming from Waikiki or town, simply take the H1 all the way until it turns into Kalaniana’ole Hwy. Turn left on Lunalilo Rd. Then, take a right on Anapalau St. Follow this until you enter Koko Head District Park.
There is a lot of parking in the park; however, if it is the high season (summertime) then the parking lot often fills up.
Try to get parking at the top of the park because that is the closest area to the trail head.
- Water fountains/spigets
- Restaurants & food are a short drive away
- Water Bottle / Water Bladder
- Athletic Shoes
Cautions & Hazards
- Sunburn / Sun Exposure
- Rain / Slippery Steps
- Going over the suspended part of the trail when there is a safer bypass
- Wooden Steps breaking
- Tripping / Slipping
This trail is for advanced hikers only because it can be very, very dangerous. Why?
The steps on the trail are old & deteriorated.
Plus, if it rains, the old wood gets really slick, really fast.
Additionally, even though there is a safe bypass in the middle of the trail, many hikers tend to still take the dangerous suspended steps.
EMS regularly have to do helicopter rescues from this trail because it is incredibly steep & when people slip & fall they tend to get badly injured.
The stairs were originally built by the US Army in the 1940s to move equipment & supplies to the radar & other facilities that were located at the Pu’u Mai summit.
This trail is not illegal in anyway. In 2008, there was a debate after the trail was made illegal with “keep out” signs, but after the public outcry, the signs were removed the very next day.
Tips, Links, & Other Resources
- Kokonut Koalition is a group that is calling for the maintenance & repairs for the Koko Crater Trail.