PARK UPDATES: 4/25/22
DIAMOND HEAD STATE MONUMENT - As of May 12th, 2022 all out-of-state visitors must have an advanced reservation to enter Diamond Head State Monument. The reservation system will activate on April 28th, 2022 allowing for reservations to be made 14 days in advance. Hawaiʻi residents continue to enjoy free access without reservations, but entry may depend on parking availability. Commercial tour and trolley patrons must have a reservation. Registered PUC carriers will have access to a PUC-only reservation portal.
|Trail Length||2.5 mile loop|
|Difficulty||Moderate to Difficult, includes Stream Crossings|
|Terrain||Wet, Valley Rainforest|
|Elevation Gain||400 ft|
|Trail Brochure||Nakoa Trail|
|Park Name||Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park|
Nakoa Trail is a 2.5 mile loop that traverses the mid-elevation rainforest of Kahana Valley. Named after the native koa tree, the trail meanders through a mixed forest of native plants such as koa, hala (pandanus), and ferns, as well as exotic species such as ink berry, guava and octopus trees. Kahana is the wettest place on O‘ahu which accounts for the lush vegetation and clear flowing streams found along this trail. The military used Kahana as a jungle training site during World War II and you may notice the bunkers and crushed coral roads remaining from this time.
The trail can be very muddy and slippery, with exposed roots and rocks, and should not be attempted during periods of heavy rain or if rain appears imminent. There are several stream crossings that can be dangerous during periods of heavy rain and are subject to flash flooding. Check weather reports before your hike. Mosquitoes are prevalent on this trail. Allow 2-3 hours to complete this hike. Trail is generally covered with a tree canopy, but can be hot and humid, so bring plenty of water. Do not drink the water from the stream.
The trail crosses Kahana stream at three locations. There are no bridges. Two of the crossings are approximately 30 feet wide and the stream bottom is covered with slippery, medium sized boulders. The third crossing is at a dam, and involves walking across a narrow, 40-foot long cement spillway, which can be slippery and have rapid-moving water. All of the stream crossings should only be attempted by sure-footed individuals, and while exercising great care. Do not enter streams if you have open cuts. Harmful bacteria such as Leptospirosis may be present and pose a serious health risk.
Take Kahana Valley Road within the park and proceed past the Park Orientation Building until you reach the residential area indicated by homes. From the designated hiker parking area before the residences, hike up-valley on the paved road, passing around a locked gate, until you come to the hunter/hiker check-in station. Please sign in here. From this location, follow trail arrow about 50 feet to the left to the trailhead. Signs and arrows at prominent locations and intersections will direct you to stay on the main trail. This is important, as many side trails created by wild pigs can easily lead one astray. People commonly become disoriented and lost along this trail system.
From Honolulu, follow Likelike Highway (Route 83) or H-3 over the Ko‘olau Mountains and take the Kahekili Highway cut-off. Kahekili becomes Kamehameha Highway (Route 830). Go through Ka‘a‘awa town and the entry to Kahana State Park is in the coconut grove near the center of Kahana Bay.
- Mountain biking is not allowed on this trail.
- Stay on the trail.
- Keep dogs on leash.
- Pack out at least what you pack in.
- No open fires.
- Watch for hunters – Portions of the trail are in the public hunting area. Wear bright clothing.
- Hunting is permitted on weekends and State holidays only.