When you first arrive in O’ahu, one of the first prominent landmarks you will see right away in town, is a beautiful volcanic crater, Diamond Head. This historical volcano is covered in a forest of green, and is a staple landmark in Waikiki that provides the city with an exquisite mountain backdrop. Almost everywhere you turn around in town, it is hard to miss this unique picturesque looking volcano. So you might as well hike to the top of it! Hiking to the top of Diamond Head is definitely an overpopulated tourist attraction, BUT a hike that is still worth doing at least once. Getting the tourist attraction part out of the way while you’re on holiday, or if you just moved here. It is like going to New York City and not even checking out the Statue of Liberty at least once! This hike is great if you are looking for a mellow hike for the day, a quick workout, or just to appreciate the panoramic view of the Waikiki shoreline, Kahala Beach, and the city of Honolulu. Diamond Head is a huge part of Hawaiian history, and this view at the top is something everyone should say they have seen at least once!
Here is some insight about hiking this cool monument!
1. Best Time to Go on this Hike
The only real negative thing to say about this hike is just how crowded it gets since it is a popular tourist attraction; about 1,500 hikers a day come here. So going at the right time will just make the experience much better! There are stairs that take you all the way up along the crater, so the more people, the more lines you will get stuck in. So, I always recommend to go early in the morning and during the week. Going on the weekends will just make it harder to find parking and too crowded at the top. Once you get to the top, everyone crowds around the long rail that overlooks the panoramic view of Kahala Beach and the Waikiki Shoreline. Get ready to see selfie sticks flying around your head, and people fighting for a cool shot. But as long as you go at a good time, it is not that bad, and still worth the incredible view!
2. An Easy Hike or A Quick Workout
This is a very moderate and easy hike for all types of hikers, and kids don’t seem to mind it either, I see families all the time. It is a very dominate landmark on island, so naturally it just seems to attract everyone to want to check it out. For anyone that lives here, like myself, I feel like this is perfect for a quick workout. I was stuck last week working so much, I barely had any time for myself! So, on my first day off, even though it was a SUNDAY (not a good day to go!), it was a perfect place to meet a friend for an easy hike. My tired brain got to appreciate being outside, and my tired body was able to handle this really moderate trail. I left very refreshed and happy to enjoy the killer view!
It takes about 30 minutes each way, so you will probably be here for about an hour and a half total. Even though this hike is really easy, still be prepared for a good hike. Bring water, sunscreen, snacks, (there is a snack stand/restrooms at the entrance), and wear good active or hiking shoes.
3. Epic Views of Waikiki Shoreline, Kahala Beach, and Honolulu
Once at the top of the 761-foot summit, the panoramic view is like nothing else you will see on island. You get one part of the Waikiki coastline, and on the other side of the crater, you get this incredible view of Kahala Beach and Honolulu. Perfect spot to sit back and relax after a good workout, and enjoy the scenery!
4. Facts About this Cool Iconic Volcano
✭US military bought this landmark in 1904 as a post for preventing attacks against Honolulu
✭Ancient Hawaiians first named this extinct volcano Le’Ahi since the ridgeline of the crater resembles the dorsal fin of Ahi Tuna fish.
✭Still exactly unsure how old this volcano is, some scientist suggest about 100,000 years old
✭The name, Diamond Head, came from the 1800’s, when British sailors were fooled by the glittering stones they saw at the top of the crater. Diamonds were never discovered of course, but the name Diamond Head was established.
5. More Information to Visit
Easy to get to by car or bus: Parking is $5 per car, and Take the 2 Bus from Waikiki towards Diamond Head, bus will drop you off right at the Kapi’olani Community College, outside the entrance to the hike. If you get dropped up by bus, you just have to walk up the road to the entrance.
Park is open from 6am-6pm closing, no one is permitted to hike after 4:30pm since hike takes about an hour and a half total.
For any pedestrians walking through it is $1 to get in, Commercial vehicles to park is $10 (sedan/van), $20 mini buses, and $40 buses, annual pass is $30.
Ameneties: ADA accessible, concession stand, gift shop, picnic tables, restrooms, and water fountains
Have fun, be safe, and never recommended to hike alone!