Koko Head Crater Hike:
Elevation gain: 302m
After my diving course, the first day trip I took was a hike at Koko Head and an afternoon snorkelling and relaxing at Hanauma Bay. There are a lot of pillboxes and bunkers on Oahu, that were built around World War II as viewpoints on the island. Koko Head Crater trail is an old rail track that goes straight up to the ridge of the crater and used to bring supplies and material at the top. Now, it is used as a hiking trail and some people use it as a training trail, going up and down multiple times (reminds of the Grouse Grind in Vancouver, BC!).
The hike itself isn’t difficult, but it can get really hot as there is no shade and is a constant uphill. Get ready to take over 1000 steps to reach the top, including one stretch where you will have a 40ft drop below you (with spaces between the stairs, lovely!).
At the top, you will have a great view of the crater and the surrounding bays. I would recommend wearing good hiking shoes or any sort of shoes with a good thread, as I would suspect the wood to become somewhat slippery when wet!
As you walk back down and get back on the main road, you will be able to walk directly towards the entrance of Hanauma Bay Reserve. This bay is fantastic for snorkelling and it is being preserved by limiting the number of visitors each day, as well as a mandatory safety and conservation movie we all have to watch before entering the site. The snorkelling is insane – I was able to see Dory all over the place while still STANDING on the shore. Before you walk down to the beach, I would suggest spotting areas where there are no reefs at all, so you can wisely choose your entry point for snorkelling. Otherwise, you will most likely have to try to float yourself over a bunch of reefs until you reach a safe spot. Make sure you do have snorkelling gear with you – it would be a shame to miss that opportunity (although they do rent some gear at the beach, you are better off buying the cheap 5$ kit from the corner stores in Waikiki!!).