IMG_4386-2KOKO head hike is one of the toughest and rewarding hikes to do in Hawaii. We’ve completed this hike many times yet, it is always a challenge! One of the hardest, safest, and open to the public hikes you can do. Kokohead offers one of the most beautiful sunrises you can view on Oahu, in my opinion. I wanted to try something new this time so, for this post, I only used my iPhone (iphone6) for photos. There are a few that are from the drone but the real content lies within the everyday, portable, mobile camera! (sorry in advance for some grainy pictures!)

IMG_4435The trail path is very easy to locate and access. If you have a GPS, plug in the address for “Koko Head District Park” (address at end of article). If not, locate on a physical map the district park and either way, drive all the way up to the top. You will pass baseball fields, basketball courts and crossover multiple speed bumps. The parking you want is the farthest up which is located on the left as you ascend.

IMG_4433After parking, follow the sidewalk along the baseball field. There are designated dirt trails (as seen in this picture) that you can walk up. Worst case scenario, if you are completely lost, look for hikers coming and going. You are bound to see others in the area you can follow although, you shouldn’t have to.

IMG_4430When you see these shoes up in the phone lines, you know you’re headed in the right direction, ironically. I guess visitors do this now but I recommend you not to as there is no significance in doing it.

IMG_4425-2You can’t miss the start! If you continue following the paved path, it’ll wrap around to lead you here. If you choose the dirt path coming off the paved road you will still end up here. As previously stated, if in doubt, look for other hikers! Something to know: The “trail” is really just an old railway track. You know the stair master machine in your local gym? This is the one embedded into a mountain. Basically, it’s stairs all the way up. If you aren’t in shape (and even if you are!) be prepared to be sore for a few days!

IMG_4417IMG_4416Approximately 3/4 of the way up, you’ll come across a “bridge” type section: Be careful. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and go on all fours or at least have 3 points of contact – it is about a 10-foot/3-meter drop. It’s not enough to kill you, but you’ll definitely be sore if you fall and possibly break something. I’ve never known of anyone falling in this section. Don’t worry too much about it.

IMG_4411-2Be mindful of people coming down as you are going up and especially vice versa! As you head up, you want to give the priority to those coming down as gravity is with them and you’ll realize once you are in their shoes coming down, you’ll be grateful for those moving out of your way. It’s just as unpleasant going up as it is going down (painful on your knees!).

IMG_4407-2Hanauma Bay!

IMG_4405 (1)-2 IMG_4398-2At the top, there are a few left over pillboxes from WWII which is why the path up is old railroad tracks.

IMG_4375-2The view looking toward Hawaii Kai Marina/Waikiki/Honolulu.


The beautiful sunrise and all of Kokohead Crater – The view is entirely worth the effort!

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0007.JPGThis hike always reminds us of humility and of no matter how in shape you think you are, will still feel a good burn. We made it in 24 minutes exact. What’s your best time?!
Also, Keep in mind that a lot of these photos were taken after the sun had risen so take into consideration while trying to find the correct ways if you embark before sunrise when it’s darker! I wanted to try something new and only go with a bottle of water and my iPhone. It was a light and quick hike and I enjoyed it! I think the photos came out alright.

What did you think of the photos?

*The other, obvious high altitude photos were obviously shot with a drone during another time we hiked Kokohead.

Kokohead District Park
423 Kaumakani St
Honolulu, HI 96825
Hawaii Kai


  1. Nice photos! The hike must’ve been pretty hard, but worth it because of the view. Great post. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. That’s gorgeous! Love seeing the pictures especially the one with a view of Hawaii/Honululu…. Must be a surreal experience to complete the trek and admire nature from the top 🙂

  3. What an amazing climb! I love how it’s up railway sleepers. Your photos from the summit are beautiful – definitely worth the climb!

  4. Had been hiking for quite sometime but it’s the first time I saw that kind of “bridge” type trail. That’d be a cool area to be included in the bucketlist. And the photos are more than amazing.

  5. That is some hike! So unique. I loved the pictures of the railway tracks path..isnt it too steep…Looks as if if its a sheer drop, though I’m sure its just an illusion. Must have been exhilarating! Must recommend to my hiker friends.

  6. The views from up there are wonderful and it’s a nice reward at the end of such a difficult hike. I don’t know how I would cope with climbing those tracks, indeed they are a knee killer. I am planning a hiking trip my self, on the coast of England, for one of the following weekends: 36 miles in one day! 🙂

  7. Wow, awesome pics, being a trekker my self I can only image how much you had , keep writing mate .

  8. Great recommendation if you do! It’s quite steep, just need to be really careful. We haven’t heard of any accidents yet though so that’s good 🙂

  9. Haha, it’s really not that bad as it sounds! As long as you pace yourself properly and go slow coming down, your knees should be well off ;). That 36 miles in one day seems more killer than Kokohead! haha, good luck and thank you for reading! 🙂

  10. Thank you for the read! I was hoping the pics weren’t that bad coming from a mobile phone.

  11. Great views that are worth the hike! I love how the road goes in between the greenery and disappears in the distance. I’ve seen the hanging shoes at many places including big cities and also heard many different stories about them including about drugs and dealers 😀

  12. Yeah, I know the negative connotations hanging sneakers on telephone lines like that mean but don’t understand why there would be one at the end of a hike. It just doesn’t make sense. One prevailing theory, I was told, is that tourist heading home throw their shoes up there as a romantic gesture. I guess it’s like that locks on fences thing for certain hikes. Indeed so, the view is more than work the effort!

  13. I’d LOVE to do this someday, those views look incredible! The railway tracks path looks kinda tough, but I’m sure it’s more than worth it if you get those amazing views at the end. I love going hiking here in Ireland when the weather is nice, but I can tell you it’s not as exciting as this hike 🙂

  14. Wow! Ireland is definitely on our bucket list, what a beautiful country! We will definitely have to do some hikes out there. I’m sure the views give Hawaii a run for its money ;). As far as the railway tracks…it’s really more like stairs than anything else, which makes it tough but anyone can do it, you don’t have to go fast :).

  15. The hike looks good in spite the load on the knees. I can see that the views are stunning and worth all the effort in the end. I am sure you have a great time.

  16. I’d say the pain is worth it as long as it’s not done too often. Entirely worth it! Thank you for the read!

  17. Omg!! You really have to cross that old train railway??? I dont know if I can do that trip. View is amazing on top!!!

  18. This looks amazing..your hiking up to the top seems a little bit hard, but the view..oh man i cannot find the words to express seeing it from pictures, i cannot imagine how i will feel if some day have the opportunity to hike over there..

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