If you like to snorkel at Hanauma bay, but you would also like to hike, we recommend you to visit several hiking spots near by. Don’t forget to get water, camera, comfortable shoes and enjoy the panoramic views of East Oahu.
Nestled on the southeastern coast of O’ahu, Hanauma Bay is renowned for its stunning coral reefs and marine life. However, the surrounding area also offers spectacular hiking trails that showcase the breathtaking beauty of the island. In this article, we will explore some of the best hiking trails near Hanauma Bay.
Koko Crater Trail
The Koko Crater Trail, also known as the Koko Head Stairs, is an exhilarating hike that provides panoramic views of Hanauma Bay and the southeastern coast of O’ahu. The trail consists of 1,048 repurposed railroad ties that lead to the summit of Koko Crater, an extinct volcanic tuff cone. This challenging hike rewards climbers with unobstructed, 360-degree views of the island and the ocean.
Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail
The Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail is a moderately challenging hike that follows the ridge above the bay, providing impressive views of Hanauma Bay, Koko Crater, and the surrounding coastline. This 3-mile round trip hike offers a variety of terrains, including rocky paths and sections of exposed ridges. The trailhead is located near the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve entrance and parking area.
Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
A short drive from Hanauma Bay, the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is a family-friendly, paved path that leads to the historic Makapu’u Lighthouse. The 2-mile round trip hike features stunning vistas of the southeastern coast, including views of the nearby islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i on clear days. The trailhead is located just off Kalanianaole Highway near the Makapu’u Lookout.
Kaupo Beach Park to Pele’s Chair
This lesser-known coastal trail begins at Kaupo Beach Park and leads to the unique volcanic formation known as Pele’s Chair. The 2.5-mile round trip hike takes you along the shoreline, offering beautiful ocean views and opportunities for spotting marine life. The trailhead can be found at the end of Kaupo Beach Park’s parking lot.
Koko Crater railway hiking trail
Koko Head crater is one of favorite things to do when hanging out on Oahu’s east side. Many locals call this hike Mother Nature’s ultimate Stair Master. It’s an absolute must for anyone looking for a fun and challenging outdoor workout. By the first hundred steps, you will already break a sweat.
The Koko Head has 1048 steps, which are actually part of an abandoned Railway once built by the military during World War II. The tracks were used to haul supplies to a lookout post at the top of the crater.
What’s great about this hike is you can walk or run at your own pace. You can take your time, talk with friends, check out the views. We recommend you to take lots of water breaks. The key to a good hiking is the proper hydration. At the mid point, there’s a bridge that goes over a 15-foot gully. It’s a bit of a daunting at first, but if you take one step at a time you’ll be fine. Once you pass the bridge you’ll really start to feel the elevation.
As you climb higher and higher, it becomes more difficult to breath. But it will keep getting better and better and you will also have more beautiful views! Don’t worry about anything and stop for more brakes if you need to. The real reward will be at the top – a panoramic lookout which will allow you to see a clear view of East Oahu, with Maui and Molokai in the distance. A great place for reflection and of course a time for some photos.
Locals choose Koko Head crater hiking trail, because it is a good way to get a workout. It is not just a physical journey, but a mental one too. And can’t beat the view. When you are at the top, you can really relax and take in the fresh air. Just remember – take it slow, don’t run out and try to be competitive and don’t be intimidated by other people.
Going back down is so much easier and quicker too. It can get a little tricky on the way back, when you are crossing the bridge. Some people choose to take the dirt trail on the left. Or you can just go slowly over the tracks. This is the part where shoes with good grip are very important.
If you haven’t done Koko Head yet it’s high time you take that first step.
Diamond Head Crater
Diamond Head crater is one of the things that remind us of the activity of the volcano on Oahu. It is an amazing sight that outlines the background of the world-famous surfing spot Waikiki, in the eastern part of which lies the huge volcanic formation. The crater was formed in the southeastern part of Hawaii’s Oahu Island. Nowadays it is considered one of the emblems of Hawaii.
Among the locals Diamond Head is called Le Ahi. It literally means “tuna fin” because the silhouette of the caldera resembles its shape. The name Diamond Head was given by seafarers in the early 19th century. As they approached the Hawaiian shore, they saw a glimpse of the calcite of the volcanic crystals from a distant distance and decided that there should be diamonds on the crater. Today, one of the city’s greatest attractions is the hiking of this crater. It reaches 231 meters, but from the height of its peak you can see a full panorama of the Hawaiian beauty.
The crater formed about 300000 years ago and disappeared some 150000 years ago. According to geologists, there is no chance of it erupting again. In the early 1900s Diamond Head was used as a military observer. One of the largest fortresses here Fort Ruger was built in the crater. Around 1910, an underground complex of tunnels and galleries was built on 4 levels. Since 1968, it has been declared a Natural Landmark in Hawaii.
Part of Diamond Head serves as a platform for antennas used by the US government and closed to the public. The proximity of the crater to Honolulu and in particular the unique Waikiki and Hanauma Bay, makes it a popular destination. The walk to the edge of the crater is just over a kilometer away. If you want to get here, you can get TheBus from Waikiki.
The entire Diamond Head Crater covers 475 acres including the crater walls. The path to the top of the crater was built around 1908 as part of the military complex. Passing it takes about 2 hours of steep and tall climbing, so tourists are advised to bring water and flashlights if it gets dark. During the climb you have to overcome two series of stairs – the first one is about 74, and the second part will make you sweat good enough before passing the next 99 steps. The next part of the Diamond Head climb is a small tunnel where you need to wear a flashlight followed by a small spiral staircase with another 30 steps.
The total number of steps to the top of Diamond Head is 175. The whole effort is worth when you reach its surface lined with greenery. From there you can see the Pacific ocean and the south bank of Honolulu. It is good to know that the last ascent to the summit is at 4:30pm. Diamond Head is actually the black mountain of the popular series “Lost”, which is entirely shot on Oahu Island.
If you decide to climb Diamond Head on Saturday, stop on the weekly Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market. The island’s largest farmers offer their produce there. The market is near Monsarrat Avenue, which has many restaurants and eating outlets.