So let’s talk about Koko Head stairs. They are located in Hawaii Kai and ascend the side of Koko Head Crater. During World War II, a rail tram was installed to move men and equipment and to haul supplies up and down the mountain. There was a bunker at the summit, as well as a radar installation. The “stairs” are actually railroad ties. To get to the trail head, just drive to Koko Head District Park and park in the last parking lot. Follow the streams of fellow adventurers and you will find the Stairs of Doom.
I know many of you have conquered the stairs, but I’m sure there are quite a few that have not had the pleasure (I use this term loosely). There is a percentage of climbers that do it regularly for their workout. These highly motivated individuals bolt up and down the stairs half naked and are usually very easy on the eyes (wink). I worked with one of these maniacs who did the stairs in 12 minutes, bottom stair to top! Personally, I have yet to break 27 minutes.
So as for the rest of us, we trudge along doing the best we can. Maybe you’re not interested in tackling the hike for the exercise.
In that case, I recommend climbing it leisurely at least once because when you get that last step behind you, you can make your way around to the other side for the breathtaking vista looking towards the East. It’s a view not to miss. And once at the top of the stairs, please note the old tram still sitting on the tracks. You can easily miss it, as it is hidden in the tall weeds. You can also see where the actual engine room was as well.
Going back down is the easy part, provided you have good knees. From your car to the top and back, it’s two miles. The first time I hiked the stairs, it took me about an hour to the top. This included a frightful sight of me crawling on my hands and feet over the bridge.
The bridge can be daunting at first encounter. It is the half way point of the climb. There are large spaces between the rail ties, and at this point you are several feet above ground. After many trips, I can now prance right over!
There is no shade on this hike, therefore it’s quite hot in the afternoon. Early morning would offer a cooler temperature. As always, bring lots of water, wear good shoes, and eat a hearty breakfast.