Koko Head Crater

Koko Head Crater, Oahu

Koko Head (see more photos, view panorama) is an old tuff cone measuring 642 feet (196 m) in height. It is quite a bit smaller than its neighboring tuff cone Koko Crater, which measures 1,208 feet (368 m). It is one of the most popular landmarks on Oahu's south shore. Even from a distance one can see the hiking trail that leads to the peak.

To get to the lookout point, one has to climb 1,048 stairs/railroad ties, which were originally built over 60 years ago to get supplies to the military bunkers at the top. The stairs are very steep. There is short, bridge-like area that some people find scary because the railroad tracks where one walks on are above the ground. The alternative route to the right of it is much easier. Within the crater are horse stables and the Koko Crater Botanical Garden, home to many cacti and succulents.

Koko Crater is also known as Kohelepelepe, which means “labia minor” in the Hawaiian language. It got this name from an ancient legend, which tells of one of the sisters of the volcano goddess Pele named Kapo, who had a magical "flying vagina" that she could send anywhere. When Kamapua'a, the pig god, tried to rape Pele, Kapo came to help her. She distracted Kamapua'a by throwing her vagina to Koko Head, where it made the crater.

Koko Head Crater Overview

  • Popular hiking trail leads to the top
  • 1,048 steep stairs
  • Take plenty of water and wear good shoes and sunscreen
  • Hiking in the early morning is best because the sun is not too hot yet

7802 Koko Head Park Rd, Honolulu HI 96825
Directions: From Waikiki, take H1 east. After about a 20-minute drive, Koko Crater will be on your left (near Hanauma Bay). To get to the trail that leads to the top, drive to the Hawaii Job Corps Training Center across from Hanauma Bay. To get to the inside of the crater, drive to Wawamahu Beach, which is near the Hawaii Kai Golf Course. There is a trail that leads to the crater.

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Reviews and Comments:
2014 we loved it ,fantastic view very challenging ,will recommend to all my Aussie mates
Colleen , Tue Aug 12, 2014
best hike I've had in a long time... it sure is challenging... the view at the top is so worth the challenge getting there!
Marcy Seymour, Mon Jun 27, 2011