Hanauma Bay is famous for its sea life and snorkeling, but is also great for breaking a sweat on land. Running along Koko Head, the large volcanic formation that backs the bay, is a path that runs all the way to the top.
The trail is fully paved and, starts just right of the entrance to Hanauma Bay, and runs for about one mile uphill along the ridge. The trail is steep and has almost no shade, making it essential to bring plenty of water and sunblock.
The start of the trail is quite bare except for some dry brush on either side of the trail but as hikers gain elevation they are greeted with a beautiful view of Hawaii Kai on the right and and even better view of Hanauma Bay on the left.
As trail continues up the ridge it steadily gets steeper until it plateaus near the top. From there, hikers can continue along the relatively flat trail to the end of the trail where it overlooks the ocean.
For the more adventurous, there is a path that leads left from the crest of the ridge that leads down a very rocky and less traveled part of Koko Head. This detour roughly doubles the length of the hike and more than doubles the elevation gain.
The reward for taking the more difficult path is seeing the unique field of craters that the wind and weather have worn into the side of the shore and a chance to visit the famous Hanauma Bay stone bridge where hikers can cross a naturally occurring rock formation that runs over the waves that crash just below the bridge.
Hikers can park at the Hanauma Bay parking or if the Hanauma Bay parking is full, there is a utility road that leads from the Koko Crater parking area to the trail head.
The Hanauma Bay/Koko Head hike is one of the most rewarding and approachable trails on the island, appropriate for beginners and more seasoned hikers. Reid Elderts of Makakilo, who has done the hike several times, said “It’s a really fun day hike, the beginning is kinda tough but the views are so wort