Kaau Crater

Honolulu, HI
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This is an amazing hike with three waterfalls and gorgeous views of Honolulu, Kaneohe, Kailua, Diamond Head, and Ka'au Crater

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20 Completed 2 Reviews

Amazing hike. I grew up visiting my family in Palolo several times a year and always wondered about the mountains in the back of the valley. We went when it was relatively dry so I can't imagine how dangerous this would be when it's been raining a lot. Can get very slippery in many spots, so just take your time. The trailhead is located just behind the line of mailboxes and right before the last driveway (you'll see No Trespassing signs and barking dogs). It doesn't look like a trailhead but it's there behind the bushes and trees. You immediately descend to the creek and follow along that to a water pipeline to the first waterfall. The climb to the second waterfall involves ropes but it's not hard. The only difficult part we ran into was right before the third waterfall when coming down a sharp drop with two ropes and very few footholds. After that, the climb up the third waterfall is a lot of fun. I'm terrified of heights but I force myself to do these kind hikes to deal with it! At the top of the third waterfall you can go right to get to the summit or take the trail to the left and up on the ridge. We didn't have time to do the summit so we went left and hiked for a short time before turning back. What we didn't know is that had we continued on our trail, we could keep going and hook up with another trail that would take us back down into the valley on a loop. Bummer, so we will do that next time. My advice - bring climbing gloves, at least 2 litres of water per person (more if it's hot), and good flexible shoes. I wore Merrell hiking sandals and they worked fine but next time I may use my Vibram Five Fingers for a better grip. You may spend time shimmying on your butt, too, so capri length pants/longer shorts are a good idea. Passed a woman wearing crossfit booty shorts and her rear probably got plenty scraped up. But hey, if you look good why not lol! I wouldn't recommend this for beginner/casual hikers.

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17 Completed 2 Reviews

Probably my favorite hike I've ever done. You have normal walking. Waterfalls. Climbing up and next to the waterfalls. A crater up top a mountain. A view of both sides of the island. Mud slides. Crater walking. Ropes. And downhill fun. This is not the worlds easiest hike but is an amazing accomplishment when you're finished.

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10 Completed 7 Reviews

Longest hike I have ever done! & I have hiked many times before this one. It's easy to get to the 3 waterfalls. It takes about an hour to get to the first waterfall and the next 2 are close by. If you're not planning to hike all day, I recommend just hiking to the waterfalls. I kind of got lost after the third waterfall. So make sure you know where to go after that if you plan to hike more. I ended up going up the ridge to the right. Nice view and fun sliding down. Bring lots of water, snacks, and wear long pants.

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Benjamin B

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29 Completed 5 Reviews

Busy!

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20 Completed 4 Reviews

Loved this hike! Didn't go up to the ridge however. Climbed all the waterfalls and instead of going right went left, hiked that ridge line a ways and then headed back down. Not an easy hike but well worth the trip!

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7 Completed 6 Reviews

I just killed this trail today from wiliwilinui to Kauai crater. It was definitely a nice and advanced hike. Not for beginners. It rained when we were at the top of Kaau crater summit, and it made the rest of the down hill a complete fun mud slide.

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9 Completed 1 Reviews

Wonderful hike but we didn't make it to the crater. We got to the top of the second waterfall and turned back. Certainly a difficult hike but was worth every ache.

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19 Completed 4 Reviews

This was the first hike I did here. I was limping for two days after, kicked my butt. The trail is amazing. Mostly jungle, you climb the last waterfall, and lots of ropes and hands-on hiking. Waterfalls are beautiful. Amazing experience. Bring at least two liters of water and snacks. You will get muddy, so wear clothes you're okay with getting dirty and may not be able to get the mood out. Bug spray might be helpful too. Good luck and take a camera!

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13 Completed 5 Reviews

You can't find much tougher of a hike than this. Total body climb with all the rock climbing and ropes. Not too tough, but don't bring those without good footing skills.

Check conditions before heading out. The trail runs up the rocks along the waterfall, so heavy rain days will make it extra tough.

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11 Completed 5 Reviews

My favorite hike on Oahu! I agree with other postings; find someone who has done this hike previously, not for the faint of heart. Slick, muddy conditions, some climbing and sure-footedness required, with plenty of opportunity for that wrong step that you could regret for a long time.

But the rewards are worth every step! Vistas, and waterfalls abound. And considering it's difficulty level, it's about as backcountry as you'll ever get on Oahu. You'll find few other hikers on this trail despite the geocaches.

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