Just west of Honolulu lies Koko Head, the famous tuff cone of the now extinct Koko Crater volcano. Best known not for its geological features, but for nature's take on the 'stairmaster', Koko Head is a favorite hike with visitors and locals alike for a short and incredibly intense workout.
Beware - starting out relatively flat, its 1,048 stairs can take your quads and gluteus maximus by surprise by about step 50.
By step 250, you find yourself sweating while lunging through Koko Head's widely spaced railroad ties turned into stairs. Keep going, the destination is worth it. Your stamina is rewarded with magnificent views of Honolulu, Ko'olau Mountain Range, and even the neighboring Moloka'i island on clear days.
Best time to reach for the top is at dawn or at dusk as this stairway to heaven gets crowded. Bring lots of water and hydrate before the hike - the trail can turn quite hot and dry in a matter of minutes.
Tips: Plan 1-2 hours depending on fitness levels and say 'aloha' to Pele once you're on top.