I recently went to Honolulu, Hawaii with my mom. She is a flight attendant and sometimes I tag along when she has a long layover somewhere cool, such as Honolulu. I went to Honolulu this time last year with her and we hiked to a waterfall. My mom has gone to Honolulu before and hiked to Koko Arch, which is not easy to find. We wanted to do it, because she wanted me to see it.
Let me tell you how NOT to get there. My mom and I started out by taking the bus to Hanauma Bay, and then realized we got off the bus too soon. My mom realized that we wanted to get off at Sandy Beach, not Hanauma Bay… so we walked about 2 miles along the beach side highway, curving around the hilly mountain side. I thought we were going to get run over. We found Sandy Beach, and the area looked familiar to my mom, but she couldn’t remember how to get up to Koko Arch or exactly where it was. We walked back and forth trying to find mile marker 15. There are no “official” instructions or directions on how to get there, but people post blogs like this. Someone said they climbed over the guardrail at mile marker 15 and started climbing up. We were at mile marker 11… Those directions were WRONG.
Here is the RIGHT way to get to Koko Arch... If you are taking the bus from the city, you get on bus 22 and take it to Sandy Beach, it’s about a 45 minute to an hour long ride. Once at Sandy Beach, you will walk to Halona Blowhole Lookout along Kalanianaole Highway, kind of southwest (if you drive, you can put Halona Blowhole or Sandy Beach in your GPS and park at either location). From Halona Blowhole, continue walking southwest along the highway. There is a little beach down in a cove next to the blowhole lookout. Across the road from the cove beach there is a point where the guardrail meets the rocky hillside and a man made wall. Climb up on the man made wall and up on to the rocks and there is a small trail you can follow. It’s an obviously a worn path, along which many people have walked. At one point, the trail goes through some trees and is a little overgrown. Then it becomes a rocky path and you can see the arch ahead. As you get closer to the arch, it becomes more unsafe, as it is a slick mountain side and at some points you have to hold on to the mountain side and watch your footing.
I was afraid of slipping, and I was more afraid of my mom slipping because she was in tennis shoes with not much grip on the bottom. I recommend wearing chacos or shoes with enough grip for hiking on the bottom to help prevent slipping. (If you wear chacos, make sure they are broken in so you won’t get blistered; I was wearing my new chacos and got several blisters. I feel very betrayed by my favorite shoes.) It's important to remember to wear sunscreen, as my back got burnt. My mom and I were both wearing rings and we felt as though they were scratched from holding onto the mountain side, so we both put them on our necklace chains. I also scratched up my fresh new gel nails, but whatever.
The hike was definitely worth getting lost and walking extra miles. The view was amazing. No one else was up there, it was hard to find, and a dangerous hike at some points, but if you ever have the opportunity to go, do it. It was beautiful.