Arguably Hawaii's most well-known sight, Diamond Head Crater is more than just a famous Waikiki backdrop but also an entire attraction unto itself, featuring one of Oahu's best hikes for a panoramic view. From atop the 760-foot (231-meter) summit, visitors can gaze out from Koko Head Crater to the Honolulu skyline and down on Waikiki Beach, where surfers, paddlers, sailboats, and canoes all splash through the tropical waters.The Basics
The Diamond Head trail is 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) round-trip, gaining over 550 feet (168 meters) from the trailhead to the summit and affording amazing views of the island and the Pacific Ocean. Unless you're trying to be the first one up to the Diamond Head summit in the morning, enjoy the hike at a steady pace and take in the views on the way—travelers usually allot one to two hours for the Diamond Head crater hike. This crater adventure is often included on Oahu city tours or circle island tours that take in a number of Hawaiian landmarks and historic sites such as Manoa Falls, Pearl Harbor, and the North Shore. Consider taking a guided Diamond Head tour to learn the history and local stories surrounding the popular crater.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- An admission fee of $5 per car or $1 per pedestrian is required.
- Hiking up Diamond Head involves numerous steep stairs and isn’t accessible for travelers in wheelchairs. The trail also includes a 225-foot (68-meter) tunnel that is well lit but can feel a bit tight.
- Restrooms and water are located at the trailhead, but there are no facilities on the trail.
- Be sure to wear proper walking shoes.
- On tours of the crater with a tour guide, hotel transport is often included and reduces the need to find parking.
The best way to reach Diamond Head Crater hiking trail is by foot, bike, guided tour, car, or the local bus. There is limited parking if you choose to drive; many travelers opt to take The Bus to the Diamond Head State Monument bus stop.When to Get There
Diamond Head State Monument opens at 6am and closes at 6pm daily, with last entry at 4:30pm. Considering over 2,000 people hike up the famous volcanic crater each day, you'll never have the trail completely to yourself, unless you start your day with a race to the top. Though crowds are heavy almost every day, Tuesdays tend to be especially heavy since one of Oahu's most popular sights—Hanauma Bay—is closed. The best time to beat the heat is early in the morning, and there's usually a line in front of the gate for the 6am opening. Diamond Head tours also arrive pretty early, so hiking late in the day may sometimes help you beat the crowds. If you plan to hike up Diamond Head in winter, keep an eye out for humpback whales that leap from the waters offshore.Diamond Head History
In Hawaiian, the mountain is known as ‘Leahi’—the name Diamond Head comes from British sailors who found calcite crystals embedded in the mountain and falsely claimed they were diamonds.