The Diamond Head hike in Oahu, Hawaii offers some of the best views of Honolulu along with a chance to check out anincredible ancient crater!
It was my first day in Hawaii. I’d arrived in Honolulu the night before after a 20+ hour journey from the UK. I was lapping up the winter sun while wandering around in a haze of jet lag.
I was dying to explore but my body was pretty wiped out. With hindsight, I probably wasn’t in the best state for a long hike… but let’s forget that part!
One of my new travel buddies had asked a few locals for tips on where to go, and Diamond Head had been mentioned several times. From our current location overlooking the white sands of Waikiki Beach, we were told we could walk to the trailhead.
So off we went. Around 45 minutes later we still hadn’t reached the start of the trail, but we’d had a good chat, taken in some lovely views of the beach, surrounding mountains and stunning banyan trees…
Eventually we made it to the trailentrance via a tunnel, and looking around, realised we were right in the middle of the crater. It was pretty incredible!
Steep grass-covered mountains surrounded us and we knew that although we’d been walking for well over an hour, the real hike was only just beginning.
What is Diamond Head In Hawaii?
The saucer-shaped crater was formed round 300,000 years ago. In the 1800’s, British sailors saw the glittering stones towards the top of the crater, and soon enough it had the name Diamond Head.
The US Army built the trail at the start of the 20th Century, and as you head up to the summit you’ll catch a glimpse of its military history.
With panoramic views from Koko Head to Wai‘anae, the summit of Diamond Head was an ideal site for the coastal defence of Oahu. Batteries were built to house the coastal artillery and guns were placed ready to defend.
If you’re wondering about the Diamond Head hike difficulty, it’s not long but it’s steep! The trail is under a mile in length but is strenuous for many due to the steep gradient. You’ll hike to a height of 560 ft to reach the summit.
What’s The Diamond Head Hike Really Like?
The Diamond Head trail is an interesting one. At the start it’s not too steep, and the ground is easy to walk on.
Gradually it becomes not only steeper, but also the ground rougher with lots of loose stones. It’s also slippery in places. There are a few sections with incredibly steep stairs, one of which is very narrow.
Read More: 14 Awesome Things To Do On Your First Holiday To Hawaii
There’s a wonderful lookout around half way, with a couple of viewpoints that lean right out over the incredible terrain.
There’s a tunnel, which has no lighting! It was pitch black and eerie but we used our phone torches to guide the way.
There’s also a spiral staircase through the old Fire House.
Finally, to reach the summit there is another set of narrow stairs then you clamber out through a gap in the bunker to an open path with incredible sea views.
From there you can reach the highest point by taking one more set of stairs for the best panoramic views of Honolulu.
I found the Diamond Head crater hike tiring as it was pretty warm and the terrainwas steep. Once at the top, the weather changed and we had a patch of rain which madethe path slippery for our descent.
Tips For Hiking Diamond Head
Bring plenty of water, a few snacks and pack sunscreen.
Dress inlight, athletic clothing and be sure to wear closed toe shoes or trainers.You could probably manage in sandals but they’re not ideal! A hat may be handy if the sun is out.
Don’t attempt the hike with small children! We saw a few people with prams or carrying small kids. I’d just wait until they’re a bit older or it won’t be fun for any of you.
Take it at your own pace. It’s not a race and the gradient is challenging, even for the fittest of people.
Take lots of photos! The views really are stunning.
READ MORE: How To Have The Ultimate Adventure In Hawaii
Diamond Head Times And Prices
The trail opens at 6am and closes at 4pm. You can check out latest info here.
Entry costs $5 per person for non-Hawaii residents. Parking costs $10.
Allow approximately onehour to get to the summit.
Suggested Hotels For Visiting Diamond Head
Here are a few of my favourite Waikiki Beach hotels near Diamond Head, Hawaii. For a full guide, check out my guide to the best luxury and boutique hotels in Waikiki.
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa – Smart 4-star hotel on the beach, with incredible views of Diamond Head. Featuring 5 restaurants, 2 outdoor pools and a top spa, it’s a fab place to relax on holiday.
Check latest prices here
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort – Moments from the white sand of Waikiki Beach, this top hotel has an oceanfront swimming pool and sun terrace and several restaurants, including a highly regarded steak house.
Check latest prices here
The Residences at Waikiki Beach Tower – One of the most luxurious places to stay in Waikiki, this hotel is 2 minutes away from the beach. It’s an all-suite property, with huge terraces overlooking the ocean, pools, hot tubs and even a BBQ area.
Check latest prices here
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort & Spa – This is where I stayed during my time in Honolulu. Moments from Waikiki Beach, this is a smart hotel with a great pool area (including hot tub!) a restaurant serving top breakfasts, and a bar serving cocktails. It was a great base for our trip.
Check latest prices here
Halekulani Hotel – Overlooking Diamond Head, moments from Waikiki Beach, this beautiful hotel has 3 restaurants, a spa and live jazz. You can relax by the pool and take in views of the ocean and Diamond Head, which is pretty special!
Check latest prices here
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How difficult is the hike to Diamond Head? ›
It is officially listed as a moderate difficulty hike by the State of Hawaii. The Diamond Head Summit Trail is a trail that goes UP to the summit. This means that you are walking up a hill to the top of the crater to reach the Diamond Head crater summit! And there are a lot of stairs.How much time do you need for Diamond Head hike? ›
The park facilities on the crater floor of Diamond Head are fully accessible to those with disabilities. The hiking trail to the summit is not ADA accessible, it is very steep and uneven in some areas. The last 1/10 of a mile is all stairs and especially steep. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours for your hike.Can you get to the top of Diamond Head without hiking? ›
Diamond Head Crater Hike With Oahu Nature Tours
Visitors can walk up Diamond Head independently, or they can do it with guides who really know their stuff.
Bring along sunscreen or a hat if visiting during the spring or summer. Make sure to bring water to avoid sunstroke while on the Diamond Head trail, and you may want to bring snacks if you're hiking but not picnicking.How many flights of stairs is Diamond Head? ›
Pay to park in the lot at the foot of the volcano. It's worth the $5. The trail is rocky and uneven, but isn't terribly steep.What is the best time of day to hike Diamond Head? ›
Many hikers go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hot Hawaiian sun as the only real shade on the switchbacks is to be found in a 225-foot tunnel near the summit. Weekday mornings are the best time to go, though there are usually some people already lined up when the park opens at 6AM.Is Diamond Head hike worth it? ›
The Diamond Head Crater, or Le'ahi Crater in native Hawaiian, is the undeniable evidence. Today, it's a protected state monument for its cultural and natural significance to Oahu. The Diamond Head Crater hike to the summit is short but steep, and absolutely worth it for the phenomenal views!What do you wear to Diamond Head? ›
Tips For Hiking Diamond Head
Bring plenty of water, a few snacks and pack sunscreen. Dress in light, athletic clothing and be sure to wear closed toe shoes or trainers. You could probably manage in sandals but they're not ideal!
Diamond Head Summit Trail
Entrance to the parking lot is off Diamond Head Road between Makapuu Avenue and 18th Avenue in Honolulu. Hours: Trail is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., and gates close at 6 p.m.
Wear Proper Hiking Shoes –
You may see people wearing flip flops and sandals, but we seriously advise against it! The trail is highly unpaved and uneven, and the best way to stay safe and avoid falling is to wear a good pair of hiking shoes.
Can you hike Diamond Head without a reservation? ›
A new reservation system will help reduce crowds on the hike to the top of Diamond Head State Monument on Oahu, and guarantee hikers a parking space as well. Visitors will need reservations for entry ($5 per person for ages 4 and older) and parking passes ($10 per vehicle) starting May 12.How many miles is it to walk around Diamond Head? ›
|Trail Length||1.6 miles (round trip)|
|Terrain||Hot, Dry, Slopes|
- 600 Kapahulu Avenue. 50 spots. 24 min.
- Kapiolani Park Lot 2. 165 spots. 29 min.
- Ala Wai Golf Course. 270 spots. 30 min.
- Pizza Hut (Diamond Parking Lot #H309) 14 spots. 32 min.
- Kapiolani Park Lot 1. 380 spots. 34 min.
- Kaimuki Plaza. 35 min.
- Aston Waikiki Sunset. Customers only. 36 min.
- Honolulu Zoo. 240 spots. 38 min.
Experience this 4.0-mile loop trail near Honolulu, Oahu. Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 34 min to complete. This is a very popular area for running and walking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.Are there bathrooms at Diamond Head? ›
Hiking the Diamond Head Summit Trail. The trailhead starts next to the parking lot. There are restrooms here as well as a few food and souvenir stands.Can you take Uber to Diamond Head? ›
Take an Uber – easy access on your phone app to book a trip to Diamond Head, it's hassle free to book directly with Uber. The difficulty tends to be the return trip and price increases due to less availability when you are waiting for a return trip.Are there lockers at Diamond Head? ›
No lockers at start so you'll need to carry anything you bring that won't fit in pouch. Pack light. Must be at least 16 years old per Hawaii law.What is considered 4 flights of stairs? ›
After a rest period, the study group climbed four flights of stairs (60 steps) at a fast but non-running pace, then had their METs measured again. Participants who climbed the stairs in less than 40 to 45 seconds achieved more than 9 to 10 METs.What is considered 1 flight of stairs? ›
A flight of stairs is generally the height of the ceiling plus the framing and subfloor of the floor above where the stairs end. In a space with 8 feet ceilings, a flight of stairs is anywhere from 8 feet 8 inches to just over 9inches high.Does Diamond Head have a waterfall? ›
Diamond Head- 1.6 miles round trip. Rainforest, Waterfalls and Movie Sites Hike – 1.6 miles round trip. Level of Difficulty (for both Diamond Head/Rainforest, Waterfalls and Movie Sites Hike): Moderate.
Is it hard to park at Diamond Head? ›
Parking. Finding a spot for your car can be more challenging than the hike itself. Diamond Head Crater does have a parking lot; however it costs $10 per vehicle and there are few stalls. On weekends, you can park for free at Kapiolani Community College, located across the street from Diamond Head Crater's trailhead.Can a 5 year old hike Diamond Head? ›
This is a kid-friendly trail that leads through the rainforest to a beautiful waterfall. It's a great hike for beginners, too! How much does the Diamond Head trail cost? It's $10 to park your vehicle and then $5 for everyone ages 4 and older.What shoes do I need for Diamond Head? ›
You don't need running shoes. Any comfortable walking shoes will be fine. You will need to hydrate and I recommend bringing some water with you. over a year ago.Can you go to Diamond Head without a tour? ›
It is possible to hike to the summit of the Diamond Head crater, and it is totally possible to do this Oahu hike on your own without a tour. When you're planning to do the Diamond Head hike, you'll want to plan to allow a half a day for it.Can you watch sunrise at Diamond Head? ›
Diamond Head Sunrise Hike: The Best Place to Watch the Sun Rise on Oahu, Hawaii. The Diamond Head sunrise hike is a classic, must-do activity while you're on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It's a very popular, short hike that draws people from all sorts of backgrounds for the incredible view and scenery.Do you need a flashlight for Diamond Head? ›
There are 2 tunnels you will walk through to get to the top of Diamond Head, which is why it is recommended that you bring a flashlight. There are lights in the tunnels, but a flashlight is a good back up. You start your ascent from the bottom of this 761-foot crater.Does Diamond Head sell out? ›
Because the park gets busy at certain times during the day and may sell out, please book your reservations as soon as possible to avoid missing out. Please arrive within the first 30 minutes of your reservation period. If you arrive after 30 minutes into your reservation period, you may be denied access and/or parking.How much does it cost to enter Diamond Head? ›
Diamond Head offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu that you can hike to via a trail that takes you to the edge of the 300,000-year old crater. An entry fee of $1 per walk-in visitor and $5 per vehicle applies.Is Diamond Head walkable from Waikiki? ›
Many choose to walk the hour or so from Waikiki or use Uber/Lyft, though we drove. All methods of entry take you through the Kahala Tunnel that goes through the eastern wall of the crater. The entrance fee is $5 per car or $1 per individual walk-in -- all paid in cash.Are there mosquitoes at Diamond Head? ›
5.No need to carry any mosquito repellent or do not worry about washroom, info booth, refreshment truck, picnic tables and so on. These are available near the trailhead.
What is inside Diamond Head crater? ›
Fort Ruger, built inside the crater, housed cannon mortars with a range of eleven miles and a telescope station for target sightings. A series of tunnels provided access to the crater floor. Diamond Head became known as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” but none of the fortifications was ever put to use during WWI.What do I need to know about hiking Diamond Head? ›
Hours: Trail is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., and gates close at 6 p.m. Reservations: All out-of-state visitors must make an advanced reservation of $5 per person; reservations may be made 14 days in advance. Hawaii residents can access the site for free without reservations, but entry depends on parking availability.Is there a bathroom at Diamond Head? ›
Hiking the Diamond Head Summit Trail. The trailhead starts next to the parking lot. There are restrooms here as well as a few food and souvenir stands.Is it worth going to Diamond Head? ›
The Diamond Head Crater, or Le'ahi Crater in native Hawaiian, is the undeniable evidence. Today, it's a protected state monument for its cultural and natural significance to Oahu. The Diamond Head Crater hike to the summit is short but steep, and absolutely worth it for the phenomenal views!Can a 6 year old hike Diamond Head? ›
This is a kid-friendly trail that leads through the rainforest to a beautiful waterfall. It's a great hike for beginners, too! How much does the Diamond Head trail cost? It's $10 to park your vehicle and then $5 for everyone ages 4 and older.Does Diamond Head have waterfalls? ›
On this Oahu hiking tour you're picked up from your Waikiki hotel and taken to Diamond Head at 6:20 a.m. You're rewarded with breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. After hiking Diamond Head, you're taken to the famous Rainforest, Waterfalls and Movie Sites Hike.What is inside the crater at Diamond Head? ›
Fort Ruger, built inside the crater, housed cannon mortars with a range of eleven miles and a telescope station for target sightings. A series of tunnels provided access to the crater floor. Diamond Head became known as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” but none of the fortifications was ever put to use during WWI.Why is Diamond Head special? ›
Diamond Head, or Le'ahi in Hawaiian, is a volcanic crater and one of Hawaii's most famous landmarks. It has been declared a State and National Monument as its natural appearance, prominent public views, and cultural and historical significance are of notable local, state, national, and international import.