Also known as Le’ahi, this iconic silhouette sits prominently near the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline and is probably one of the most recognized volcanic craters in Hawaii. Visitors travel across the world to get a glimpse of the crater, while locals try to steer clear of Diamond Head. Why? Well, it’s simply just too crowded for the likings of most. Hiking Diamond Head can be empowering as well as a great workout, but I wouldn’t recommend wearing your flip flops – aka “slippahs” to locals. While it may only be about a .7 mile hike to the top, it’s a nice, moderate climb as the trail runs along the inside slope of the crater,and can be challenging due to the uneven path – especially in the tunnel.
Why Diamond Head is a Must?
Well, Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres, including the interior and outer slopes of the crater that provides one of the best panoramic views from Koko Head to Wai’anae. The summit of Diamond Head is historically known to be a place that provided coastal defense for the island of O’ahu. In fact, according to the green tri-fold that you will get upon entry, “In 1904, Diamond Head fortification began in 1908 with the construction of gun emplacements and an entry tunnel through the north wall of the crater from Fort Ruger Known as the Kapahulu Tunnel”.
POINTS OF INTEREST ON THE TRAIL
1. The elevation at the trail head on the crater floor is
about 200 feet (61 m).
2. The former pistol ranges consist of earthen berms t
are visible from the concrete path.
3. The trail conforms to the 1908 alignment with switchbacks up the steep interior slope.
4. Concrete Landing/Lookout. This concrete foundation held a winc
h and cable to lift materials from the crater floor to this point.
5. Steep stairway of 74 concrete steps leads into the first narrow tunnel.
6. Tunnel is lighted and 225 feet long.
7. Second stairway consisting of 99 steep steps with overhead beams to place camouflaging.
8. At the top of the stairs is the entry to the lowest level of the Fire Control Station with observation equipment for Fort DeRussy at Waikïkï.
9. The lighted spiral staircase accessed the 4 levels of the Fire Control Station. Go up the 52 stairs to the third level where the mounts for the observation equipment are still present.
10. Exit to the exterior of the crater through slits once covered with metal shutters. Note the rock and concrete that camouflage the outside.
11. The 54 metal stairs were installed in the 1970s and replaced the ladder to the summit.
12. The elevation of the crater summit and the uppermost level of the Fire Control Station is 761 feet (232 m).
13. From the summit, follow the trail along the rim and take the 82 metal steps down to the lower trail. This trail loops back to the tunnel.
14. Bunkers along the crater rim were built in 1915. Area closed – emergency helicopter landing.
15. Lookout provides sweeping views of southeastern O‘ahu coastline towards Koko Head and the offshore islands of Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Maui.
16. Rest stop offers views of the crater before heading back down through the tunnel.
Park hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. & the cost is $5 bucks to park. Be sure to get there before 4pm, kind of last call.
What to Bring?
Bring a bottle of water and sunscreen as there is NO shade—and don’t forget your camera for the awesome views.
How to get there?
Here is the general direction to get to Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach or personnel staying in the Waikiki Area.