Hike to Ka’au Crater

Completing this hike means that I have hiked all three craters on Oahu! Dan hasn’t done Koko Head Crater yet, but we’ll get to it soon.

One thing that’s so interesting about Oahu is how quick and easy it is to go from urban to nature. This hike is just 5 minutes from the H-1 Freeway through Honolulu, at the end of a Honolulu neighborhood. You quickly go from city views to mountain views, valleys, waterfalls and steep ridge-lines (especially if you do the the crater loop).

On this hike we went with friends John and Rachel. I know Rachel from work; we both work at Le Jardin Academy.

Technically we did the hike backwards. I don’t think think there is a right or wrong way to hike a loop, but from most of the reviews I read on Yelp, people either went up the waterfalls and down the ridge hike, or both up and down the waterfalls. We went up the ridge hike, and down the waterfalls. I liked it this way, it was a huge surprise when we approached this steep drop-offs above the waterfalls. Not in a scary way, just in a “wow” way.

Overall the hike took us about four and half hours. Dan spotted a chameleon that was blending in nicely with the stick it was clinging on to. I am surprised he saw it. It hung out on Rachel’s arm for a while, then went on my arm, and climbed on top of my head before I could stop it! It was too funny. Along the hike we found and ate some ripe mountain apples, which is surprising, because I hardly see them this time of year. We climbed trees, swung on vines and rope swings, all tripped or fell in some way, and came out exhausted and covered in mud. It was a blast.

The chameleon Dan spotted
He climbed up my arm, and then my head!
Apparently he was attracted to my sunglasses.

Just hanging out.
Getting down was not as easy as I thought it would be!


Looking back toward Honolulu.
The view inside Ka’au Crater
Green mountains, low-lying clouds, and sunshine illuminating the foliage.
Scratched-up legs and muddy shoes.

Rachel and John making their way down using ropes.
Looking up the highest waterfall.
Rachel overlooking a steep drop-off.
Dan and I
The lowest waterfall.
Dan’s muddy legs and feet.

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