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Hiking the KAAU Crater Tail on Oahu Hawaii

This is one of those brave-heart exclusives! The picturesque KAAU crater trail on Oahu Hawaii will give you a lifetime experience if you are one of them. Yes, the whole aura of hiking at the hidden gem of KAAU crater is just incredible.

From the very first moment you are sure to get the feel of being transported into a world of enchantment and illusions. There are three waterfalls, an uninhabited crater and a dangerous peak that you can explore. Once you reach the top, you can have spectacular views of Oahu, Olomona, The Mokes and Chinaman’s Hat.

Kaau Crater Hike: An Unforgettable Adventure for the Nature Lovers

Despite all the electrifying elements, the hiking trail is not easy especially if you’re a beginner. The moment you begin the trek, you’ll get the feel that you’re in the middle of a jungle with a gleaming streamlined by majestic trunks and hanging vines from the canopy overhead.

The first part of the hike is fairly flat and you’ll have to cross a gentle stream. Stacks of stones on your way which will make navigation harder. Trees are sparse with guava, mountain apple, and Lilikoi being the prominent ones.

As you climb along, the path becomes muddy and starts to steepen. The trail too starts getting narrower with steep ascents. At this point, you need use ropes and slow down the pace of your climbing. The whole experience is challenging and physically demanding for even experienced hikers.

How long is the Kaau crater hike?

The duration of the hike is 5-6 hours and you have to cover approximately 5 miles.  It’ll take you up the valley, past the 3 waterfalls, to the Kaau crater, then about the ridge of the crater and back down to the valley. Once you reach the top of the ridge, you’ll get to witness some mind-blowing views ever in your life!

Waterfalls in ka’au crater hike: Major Attractions for Hikers & Visitors

beautiful waterfall in kaau crater tail

You must be wondering what are the waterfalls in Ka’au crater hike? Well, there are in fact three of them that you can explore on your hiking trail.

  • On your way to the first waterfall, you have to go through a dense rainforest in Upper Palolo across streams and hills.
  • The second waterfall has a steep ascent but once you reach the top, the views are stunning and majestic. However, after the second waterfall, the trail becomes flat and passes through a spectacular and dense forest filled with sounds of nature. However, it’s the muddy terrain that concerns the hikers.
  • If you are an experienced hiker or seeking for more adventure, then continue climbing to the second waterfall and then the third. This will take you to the crater but the terrain is moist and muddy and pretty slippery.

The biggest hurdle at this point is that you need someone to pull your body out of holes and ridges due to steep ascent and muddy terrain.  Hence hiking in a group is essential.  On the other hand, if you are beginner you can quit any time owing to the slippery terrain.

Hawaii Backpacking: Necessary Gear for Hiking KA’AU Crater Tail on Oahu Hawaii

tourists exploring the beautiful waterfall

For an outdoor adventure like hiking, it is always imperative to carry essential gear and equipment for safety reasons. Here is the complete list of Hawaii Backpacking.

  • Hiking/water shoes:

    Packing hiking shoes with greater traction can help you to have better grip on muddy and slippery terrains. This will prevent nasty accidents.

  • Travel wallet/passport holder:

    A travel wallet or passport holder would be ideal for keeping cash, credit cards, passport and other important documents safely.

  • Light/breathable clothing:

    Pick light and breathable clothing that is ideal for the tropical climate of Hawaii.

  • DLSR camera:

    Packing a high-quality DLSR camera is mandatory while you are hiking or opting for other outdoor excursions. It will help you capture the panoramic vistas of nature including sunset, streams, ridges, waterfalls, lush green forests and much more.

  • Sunscreen lotion with high SPF:

    A sunscreen lotion with high SPF will help you to shield your body from damaging sun rays.

  • Lightweight rain jacket:

    Lightweight rain jacket is always a good addition to your backpacking list. It will protect you when there is an abrupt torrential downpour during your hiking adventure.

  • Hydro flask:

    In the sweltering tropical heat of Hawaii carrying a hydro flask is always a shrewd decision. It will keep your water ice-cold during outdoor adventures.

If you’re planning to hike the entire trail, devote 6-7 hours start-to-finish. Plan in advance and have a route planned. Don’t forget to carry the necessary gear along with you in your Hawaiian hiking excursion.