Kaau Crater

#1 of 1 trails in Round Top Forest Reserve
Kaau Crater is a 4.5 mile loop trail located near Honolulu, HI that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

4.5 miles 1410 feet Loop
birding hiking nature trips rock climbing walking bugs forest muddy old growth over grown river rocky scramble views waterfall wild flowers wildlife
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Kristina Phipps

13 Completed13 Reviews

Warning: This is not an easy hike. It's muddy and a lot of erosion on the way to the third waterfall. After the third waterfall, follow the trail to the right and it's nothing but rope climbing for 1,400 to the tallest peak of the crater rim. Follow the rim around until you come to a fork near where you started the rim, and take a right. Marked with orange and pink ties, this trail will bypass the waterfalls and eventually end back at the creek and about 15 mins from your car. Bring lots and lots of water, as well as sunscreen. While scaling the rim you are in nothing but sun! Also this hike will take you 5-6 hours if you complete the duration, be sure to come prepared and start early! Most of all this is one of the best hikes on the island! Three waterfalls, a lesser known crater, and views of the south and east side of the island!! :)

Thomas Hansen

2 Completed2 Reviews

Little long and hard at the end ! But it had the best view ever!

Gray Slother

1 Completed1 Reviews

Waterfalls were well worth the hike. Muddy is an understatement. Also this is not an easy category hike, as you are scaling the side of the hill with nothing to grip. I recommend taking the ridge line back instead of coming back down the falls. Take a lot of water and allow ample time to complete this beast. You will not see me on this hike again.

Adrian Villarroel

18 Completed6 Reviews

Rebecca Hicks

1 Completed1 Reviews

It was muddy but a great trail. Even my 8 year old was able to do it.

Michael Calderon

18 Completed1 Reviews

Dean Calistro

4 Completed4 Reviews

Chris Stanifer

5 Completed5 Reviews

Amazing trail along creek with three waterfalls. Very muddy and can be dangerous.

Brian Rogers

27 Completed2 Reviews

Expect lots of muddy areas, great to have Microspikes for your shoes. Great reward with the views you get, love this hike!

Rey W.

12 Completed2 Reviews

Definitely a challenging yet rewarding hike.

If you are an extreme hiker/climber then maybe this hike could be labeled as "Easy" but for myself, an experienced hiker/trekker/mountain biker with multiple trails under my belt, this is moderate-challenging hike.

First off, this is a VERY wet and muddy hike. Some mud so deep in areas that your entire foot to your ankle will submerge so bring proper footwear. Due to the fact this this is an ungroomed hike, at times the trail itself can be overgrown with vegetation and hard to see. Look out for colored ribbon to keep u on track. There are parts when you will be high above the river yet on a VERY narrow, slippery and muddy trail only inches from the edge so watch your foot placement. There are 3 gorgeous water falls and pools however in between each fall are natural rock water slides that you must scramble up. There are ropes there to assist you but do not place all your weight on them. No one knows who put them there or how long they've been there. After the last fall and a couple more scrambles you will get to the ridge of the crater and be greeted by a spectacular view and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Once at the top you can hike the single trail around the craters perimeter or you can take the trail to the left and loop it back to the trailhead.

Not to scare you or push the issue but I have first hand experience of how slippery this trail is. On one of the high, narrow trails I slipped and almost fell completely off the trail into the rocky river approx.. 30ft below me. In less than a second I went from hiking the trail to hanging off the trail, literally being held up only by my elbows. So please be careful. Many people have died there.

Even after all the mud, rain ( yes it sprinkled periodically during my hike ), and death-defying ordeal. I still thoroughly enjoyed the hike. The challenge was well worth the reward from the river crossings, waterfalls, lush green forest and spectacular views. I'd do this hike again.