Ka'au Crater


5.1 Mi/ 8.2KM (3-6 Hours)

Difficulty: Hard

Elevation: 2100ft/ 640m

Parking: Parking on Waiomao Rd. in Palolo Valley. (Be considerate of the homes and residents). 

What to expect: This is by far, one of our favorite hikes on Oahu. Ka'au Crater is a long, but rewarding up-stream hike with three large, beautiful waterfalls (one of which you will climb up) and a hidden crater. If you want to experience all the best features of Hawaii in one hike, this is the one.

The hike begins with a decline into the valley, down to the river. Follow the hiking path that will take you upstream toward the back of the valley (Look for pink ribbons tied to the trees if you get confused or misled). You will encounter a three-way intersection with ropes dropping down to the 1st waterfall. The 2nd and 3rd waterfalls are within the next half mile above the 1st. You can climb up the 3rd waterfall to continue to the top of the Koolau. You can see the Ka'au crater clearly from the top. 

If you plan to hike Kaau Crater, you really can plan your hike around your ability (or the time you have). If you are a beginner, hike to the first waterfall and you can turn around from there. 

If you are more experienced, or adventurous then keep going to the second waterfall and the climb up the third! This will take you to the crater, where you can continue up the mud/clay path to the ridge line! Heads up, this trail is normally moist, muddy and pretty slippery! 

Once you get to the top of the ridge, there is a small gras area to rest before you head back down. You will have amazing views of the windward side of Oahu, Olomana, The Mokes and Chinamans Hat. In order to complete the loop, take the path down to the left (marked by a pink ribbon). Continue for a couple minutes and you will see a trail that takes you down the opposite ridge of the crater. Continue to follow this trail back down into the valley.


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