This is Koko Head hike is really difficult. I like to describe it as “you’ll need strength going up and strategy going down,” and here’s why:


    Your ascent is pretty similar to doing 50 minutes of level 60 on the stairmaster at the gym. By the time you’re at the top, you’re drenched in your own disgusting sweat and you feel pretty gross and you probably don’t look that cute.


    Going down can be hard on your knees if you don’t take it slowly. The descent requires strategy in your foot placement because the trail is pretty dusty and can be slippery at points, so make sure each step you take is solid.


After hiking this for the 2nd time I decided to rename the hike Koko DEAD because you will be DEAD once you reach the summit.

Steps up Koko Head

These steps are taunting and this hike is difficult – but the view is incredible.


Parking Info

You’ll want to park in the koko head park (don’t leave any valuables in the car, obviously,) and head on up to the gravel paved road. Follow this for a little while until you reach a dirt hill on your right and follow that up to get to the trailhead. This is a pretty popular trail so following other people will most likely be your best sense of direction in this case.

Trail Information

Once you’re at the trailhead, the trail is very easy to follow – it’s the railroad tracks. Straight up and straight down is the way to go. It starts off with a gradual descent but then you’ll reach the “bridge” and this is where there’s a pretty big ditch beneath the railroad tracks so instead of dirt there’s just air. It’s important that you also have solid footing here as well because tripping here could end badly. There is a route to go around the bridge, to the right of the path. It’s an obvious clearing in the bushes and most people take this detour to avoid the bridge. It’s up to you, both of them would take about the same time.

View of Hawaii Kai

Once you reach this point, you’ll be so proud of yourself.


You’ll see a lot of people taking numerous breaks along the way, and don’t feel bad about taking a rest! However, it’s hiking courtesy to take a seat off the path to allow room for other hikers. In other words, instead of sitting on the railroad tracks, just step off and sit under a tree or on the side somewhere. The path is pretty narrow given all of the people that hike this every hour, so be considerate.

Koko Head Hike

An intimidating path.



I recommend doing this hike before 11 am because the heat can be intense and there is little to no shade along the path. This is definitely kid-friendly so long as you’re prepared to take numerous breaks. As for dogs, small dogs with short legs might have a hard time if they’re not accustomed to hiking, however I do see many people bring their dogs up Koko Dead. Do not forget to bring your full water bottle! A sweat towel can be useful, and maybe a few granola bars to enjoy at the top (but definitely bring your trash down with you!) All in all this is a great cardio workout. The last time I did it, it took me 50 minutes up and 40 minutes down, including several breaks. Good luck and have fun!

Girl on top of mountain

This is such a great feeling – reaching the top.