Koko Head Crater Hike

Our fourth day in Oahu was another jam-packed one. The press trip I was invited to attend officially began last night and since every day of our remaining time in Hawaii has a different activity pre-planned by the Oahu Visitor’s Bureau, Ryan and I wanted to make sure to cram as many of our personal “must do” activities into the four days we had to ourselves beforehand.

Visiting the Pearl Harbor Memorial was high on both of our lists so we drove out to the site early yesterday morning. We arrived right at 8 a.m. and were anticipating a long wait time after reading a lot of reviews online. We were shocked when received tickets to the 9 a.m. tour of the USS Arizona. We were told that had we arrived at 8 a.m. two weeks ago, our wait time would’ve likely been close to 3.5 hours.

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Ryan and I had no trouble filling our wait time and spent the hour we had before our tour walking around the grounds and reading all about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Though I obviously learned all about the attack on Pearl Harbor in history class when I was in school, visiting the memorial gave me a renewed level of respect for those who lost their lives or had their lives changed forever by the events surrounding December 7, 1941. I found the video we watched before taking a boat out to the USS Arizona memorial informational and captivating. The atmosphere at the memorial was one of sadness, respect and contemplation.

uss arizona

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It was an emotional morning and Ryan and I left Pearl Harbor very glad we made it a point to visit the memorial.

Koko Head Crater Hike

After our time at Pearl Harbor, Ryan and I had another hike on our agenda for the day. A hike that took us straight UP!

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The stairs you see behind me lead to the summit of Koko Crater. While the distance isn’t too long, this hike rises to an elevation of 1,200 feet and is just plain HARD. But it’s also pretty freakin’ badass.

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When we began the hike  we realized pretty quickly that it was going to kick our butts. Once we got to the halfway point, we were a sweaty mess. Though the incline was tough, the hike to the top included another obstacle.

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When we came upon the bottomless stairs, I got rather nervous. I saw one man crawl up the stairs and I felt the need to bend over and steady myself more than once. The bottomless stairs thankfully do not cover a huge portion of the trail, but they sure do add a little pizazz to the hike!

Ryan and I took a few breathers on our way to the top, but made pretty good time and arrived at the summit sweaty, excited and absolutely blown away by the incredible views.

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I felt like we were looking out of an airplane window. It was so, so gorgeous and the views made the hike to the top more than worth the effort.

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While the hike to the top of the crater was a challenge thanks to the incline (I read one review that called the hike “Nature’s Stairmaster”), the hike back down was a bit freaky!

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A little unnerving, no?

We made it to the bottom safe and sound and agreed that this hike was one of our favorite experiences of our trip so far. It was hard but so, so worth it to get to see such stunning views of Oahu.

Leonard’s Malasadas

As we were discussing lunch options in the car after our hike, something magical appeared.

malasadas truck

When I asked you guys for recommendations about things to do and foods to try during our visit to Oahu, I read comment after comment telling me I had to try Leonard’s malasadas. I had no clue what malasadas were, but now that I do, I can say that I love them.

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Just in case you’re in the dark about malasadas like I was, they’re large, fried balls of dough tossed in sugar and happiness.

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The Leonard’s bakery food truck just happened to be parked right down the road from Koko Head Crater and we knew it was a sign. Ryan and I ordered  half a dozen, thinking we’d split three and save three for later. Yeah, that didn’t happen. After our first bite we knew they’d be inhaled in no time at all.

While delicious, the malasadas weren’t exactly filling and didn’t do much to quell our hunger, so our hunt for a quick place to stop for lunch resumed.

We popped into Taco Del Mar and I ordered three carnitas tacos with guacamole.

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I’ll pop back in again as soon as I can with a recap of last night’s press trip kick off. So much to share!


  1. says

    Gosh what a super busy day! Sounds like the Pearl harbor memorial affected you the way the holocaust memorial in Berlin affected me. I had known it was horrible before I went but the memorial really impacted my view of it.


  2. says

    I remember visiting Pearl Harbor about 7 years back. This post brings back so many good memories of the time I spent in Hawaii with my family. It’s such a beautiful place, and I wish I could go back.
    Those malasadas looks delicious! I definitely would consume as many as you guys lol.


  3. says

    I want to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial so badly! That attack is probably one of the most devastating in history, but it makes me proud of our veterans and soldiers who lay down their lives for our protection. As meh as the movie “Pearl Harbor” was, I love the message behind it.

    And that is one sick hike! Yikes! Amazing views, though! And thoughs malasadas look amazing. Want one now. 😀


  4. says

    That crater hike just went on my “some day” list. What I find funny is that you will jump off a small cliff into the water which I could NEVER do. 🙂

    Lovely photos. I am really enjoying reading about the experiences.


  5. Alexis says

    I went two Koko Head two weeks ago with one of my friends, and she did the entire hike with her 3 year old son on her back in a backpack!! She’s pretty badass:)


  6. says

    WOW, what views! I think it’s awesome you hit up Pearl Harbor too–I want to go there so bad. It’s such a piece of history that I want to see/experience. Such sad events<–but hopefully we've learned from it!

    LOVE your fitness top, p.s. Cute color.


  7. says

    LOVE that pic of you and the stairs! Very cool. That is definitely something that I’ll have to put on my to do list when I make it to Oahu. Now, if you ever make it to Maui, you NEED to do the bike ride down the Haleakala Volcano. AMAZING. Such an adrenaline rush.


  8. says

    I’m so glad you hit up Koko Head! I vacationed in Hawaii this past June and hiked that, too! One of my best frieds from high school moved to Hawaii to work at Pearl Harbor and she gave me all of the insider’s tips on where to hike – Koko Head included! You should also hit up Islander Cafe in waikiki for their amazing acai bowl! I know it’s in the center of all things touristy, but it’s amazing and the best I’ve ever had (in fact, I’m having my own version of theirs right now!


  9. Kaelin says

    Wow what a view!!! My husband and I hiked a similar set of rail road ties in Manitou Springs, CO last summer. It is an old cog rail way and is straight up for about 1.2 miles. They do not recommend going down, as several people have been impaled and died on the rebar from the old rail ties. There is a trail nearby that climbs Pike’s Peak to take back down. It’s called the Manitou Incline, and if you are ever in the Colorado Springs area, it is a must do!! It was tough, but so gorgeous from the top.


  10. says

    Alright, so I know that you’re on this trip for promotion purposes — well, I have to say that it’s totally working. I seriously NEED to go to Hawaii. Climbing the Koko Head crater is now on my bucket list. Wow! Simply spectacular!!


  11. Kathryn says

    I see it was already mentioned, but I wanted to add a little about the incline just outside of Colorado Springs, in a little town called Manitou Springs. It is a 1 mile hike straight up starting at the elevation of 6,574 ft ending at 8,585 ft. It’s ridiculous, but amazing! The altitude makes it even more challenging, but I think ya’ll would love it. I’ve hiked back down it many times, but the 4 mile Barr Trail down is beautiful and worth it. Just google “the incline” and you’ll get some great images.


  12. says

    I would LOVE the visit the Pearl Harbor memorial one day. It looks like it would be something that I would remember forever, like the Holocaust museum.
    The hike up to the top made my hands sweat- just thinking of the height, especially the see through planks. EEK! I don’t know if I could of done it…but I agree, the views from the top must of made it all worth it! I hope you continue to enjoy your trip 🙂


  13. says

    Ahh as if I didn’t want to go to Hawaii enough already… now I desire to go even more! One day I shall 🙂 Those pictures are gorgeous, what wonderful sights you and Ryan are seeing, tasty food to eat (hey there doughnuts) and just so many things I am jealous of! Can’t wait to read more about your adventures


  14. says

    That hike looks so cool! I am dying to do it!
    It’s reall nice to hear how much you and Ryan appreciated the Pearl Harbor site, so many people around our age wouldn’t even visit.


  15. says

    I’m so jealous. Your pictures and adventures keep getting better!! I think I’m going to make Hawaii one of my next destinations now:)…what’s the temperature like there at this time of year?

    The picture of the climb down the mountain looks absolutely petrifying! Hahaha


  16. Jenny says

    Lovely pictures!
    How do you pack your dresses so that they don’t end up wrinkled when you wear them? Or do you use an iron when you arrive at your hotel?


  17. Erin says

    So happy you got to do that hike! It was definitely one of the best hikes i’ve done on the island! Such an intense workout but so rewarding when you reach the top, and the views are incredible! It was most scary for me coming back down the hike on the bottomless stairs :l
    Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip!


  18. mj says

    wow that hike looks insane!!!! and those donuts look amazing!! 🙂 thanks for sharing your trip … its fun to check in and see an update of all the fun y’all are having and “visiting” hawaii through reading your posts! hee! 🙂


  19. says

    My 101 year old grandfather was on one of the ships when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Thankfully, he was one of the lucky ones who survived, but I’ve heard him tell stories about that day my whole life. When I visited for myself last year, I started sobbing as soon as I stepped out of the car thinking about what he went through there. I was an emotional mess…so grateful that he survived! I called him as soon as I left the memorial and told him about my experience. It was an amazing bonding experience for us!


  20. Melissa says

    My dad was in the military when I was growing up, and we moved around a bit. When we were stationed in Alaska we went to Hawaii every summer. I was born on the 50th anniversary of pear harbor, and both my parents are history junkies so I knew all about it. I remember walking the memorial as a ten year old and getting chills. When I went there was still oil dripping out of the boat and you could see it on the water. I remember the tour guide telling me there were still bodies of seamen trapped in the ship. It really makes you think about the sacrifices men and women make so that we can enjoy our lives.
    I remember drinking a ton of guava juice when I was on the island. It was EVERYWHERE! have you tired it?



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