We’ve been long overdue for a hike so this past weekend I (Reid) took the opportunity to accomplish one on the bucket list: Hanauma Bay Trail AKA Koko Head Rim Trail.

Before we continue it must be stated – Disclaimer: This is an illegal hike which means it is not open to the public and you can get fined for doing it. Wanderlustyle.com is not responsible for any reader who chooses to do this hike; we do not condone illegal activities. This is for entertainment and educational purposes only.

That being said, thousands of people still do this hike and people can be seen accomplishing this trail daily. A few reasons why this is an illegal hike: there are FCC and telecommunication infrastructures in place. Also, people have been known to have perished on this hike (to get to the rock bridge).

img_5499Not to be mistaken with Koko Crater Trail Hike (which is MUCH harder than this hike). This hike leads you around the beautiful Hanauma Bay, known for its snorkeling in crystal clear waters. A couple places to park are inside the Hanauma Bay parking (free for Hawaii residents and military) or in the Koko Head District Park (the start of Koko Crater Trail Hike). If you choose to park in Koko Head Park you just follow the trail that goes up right instead of left (to the railway head) and cross the intersecting road. This rim trail is very straightforward: it is a paved path and hard to get lost.

Another access point is via dirt trail (located on the right when walking up). To get to this starting point, one must park in the residential neighborhood, on the street (Nawiliwili St.).

img_5496 img_5493img_5490
As stated before, this is an illegal pathway.

The path is a paved all the way to the “top”. The entire ridge line offers incredible views therefore, it’s quite hard to define a clear “top”. The photo above displays the telecommunication towers in the foreground. Although the trail goes through that area, there aren’t better views than what lies before it. The path does end and you can either turn around or head down through some broken side rails. From the dirt-path-start to the end of the paved trail is about 15-20 minute. It’s an easy, breezy, walk.

Blue line resembles the ridge line (paved) path and red line displays the path that can be taken, heading downward after the end of the paved path.

One angle of Hanauma Bay along the ridge line.

img_5487There are many ways down but almost all are visibly obvious. When detouring off the asphalt, the dirt path leads down into the gigantic loop. This adds about 45 minutes to an hour to complete depending on pace, to complete the loop.

Some awesome 20-30 foot / approximately 10 meter high dead trees. It’s like a dead tree farm.

Another angle while heading down.

img_5463Here, the trail gets pretty steep and in certain weather conditions, can cause unstable terrain. Be careful.

img_5444img_5446The view along the loop side of the trial. The mountain is Koko Head crater.

This hike can get very hot. Stock up on sunscreen/sun protection as there is little to no shade. As always, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Here are a couple bonus pictures – embark before sunrise and witness some amazing colors and views:

img_5398The colors were changing every minute!


“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” 
Albert Einstein


  1. I love this hike! You mentioned the Rock Bridge, but did you make it over there? I have a shot of the Menehune on it. 🙂

  2. Unfortunately, my friend and I weren’t able to go all the way down due to time restrictions but I will be back to visit it soon!