Rise and Shine: Koko Head

Ready for another hike? Something a little more challenging? Let’ Go!

Koko head, an extinct volcano, with just over 1000 steps composed from a decommissioned railway previously used for military purposes of carrying supplies to the bunkers that are on top that were used as lookout points.  It’s a progressive incline, so essentially when you begin to feel tired it gets harder. Now I don’t think that should dishearten anyone from attempting the hike, just be mentally prepared for the last 200 steps (which in the grand scheme isn’t a whole lot). At around the midway point the ground slops into a ditch, but the railway track continues straight upwards. It’s a minor balancing act that’s easily done or to the right (left coming down)there is an earth beaten path for about 20 meters if you’re like me  and get paranoid of slipping between the railway ties. Once you reach the top your welcomed to a 360 degree view of the south end of Oahu.

#1 Tip: Go early

Because the sun rises in the east the assent to the top will be shaded as the rail tracks are facing more westerly. The relief will be welcomed. Once your on top the sun will be there for you. Feels almost close to some sort of welcoming of Ra (one of ancient Egypt’s deities).

koko head

#2 Tip: Bring a SackPack

Any type of bag, I only suggest the SackPack because it’s light and the least fussy carrier I’ve ever taken on hikes. Plus it should be big enough to carry everything you need; water, camera/phone, essential personal belongings (keys, & cards), and sun protection.

me pretending to be a photographer
me pretending to be a photographer

#3 Tip: Wear athletic clothing

This may sound like common sense, but you’ll be surprised at how many people will insist on wearing jeans, dresses, sandals, etc. Clothing that’s heavy or footwear that leaves the feet aching soon into their hikes. Let’s be practical.

Coast going up towards honolulu
Coast going up towards honolulu

#4 Tip (optional): Bring a sharpie

I only say this because the bunkers at the top already have lots of graffiti signatures  from other hikers making their mark to commemorate their hike to the top. Mines there somewhere, but not visible anymore since I used a pen (it was all I had on me).

Last Step
Last Step
Pretending I'm about to fall into koko crater.
Pretending I’m about to fall into koko crater.
Going Up
Going Up!

BUS RIDERS: You can get to Koko head via the bus. If your coming from Honolulu you’ll either be on the #1 or #1L bus. You’ll want to get off at the announced stop Lunalilo Home Rd + Anapalau St. The next stop is father away from the road you’ll need to turn into than this one, even if it doesn’t look like it. I know, I’ve done it. Once your off the bus its about 10 minute walk to Koko Head, look at it as your warm up and loosening your limbs and joints. Enjoy!

Hike time: going up- 30-60mins (depends on how active your feeling 🙂 )

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