Looks can be deceiving with the Diamond Head hike but the views from the top of Waikiki, surrounding beaches and the crater itself are well worth the effort. When I was doing my research into how to hike Diamond Head, I couldn't find much information on the topic, or much information that helped me I should say. If I wasn't a savvy traveller I would have struggled doing it on my own. I wanted to share my experience so you can learn how to hike Diamond Head without having to pay for an organised tour.
About Diamond Head
- Diamond Head Crater is the remains of an extinct volcano.
- The highest point of the hike is 760 feet.
- If it is a clear day sometimes you can even see the neighbouring islands of Lanai and Molokai.
- Diamond Head's Hawaiian name is Le'ahi.
- After the Pearl Harbour attacks, the military used it as lookout installing pillboxes and foxholes to prevent Hawaii from future attacks.
This is the thing I struggled with most but after negotiating Hawaii's bus system and asking a few strangers I figured it out in the end. Now, you have a few options:
- I caught bus number 2 which left from one of the main streets Kuhio Avenue.
- You could also catch bus 22 or 23 which will also take you there.
- The fare was only $2.50 each way which is a bargain!
- You need to get off at the Community College stop which is the turn around point. Once you are off, walk from here through a tunnel in the side of the crater to get inside the crater where the hike begins.
The Waikiki Trolley
- You can also pay for the Waikiki Trolley which is like a hop-on hop-off bus to take you up there but unless you have a pass, it is not really worth the money for the one route. Much cheaper to catch the bus!
- The Green Line (Diamond Head) departs from the Duke Kahanamoku Statue amongst other major stops.
- Depart every 35 minutes.
- A one day pass for one line is $25.00 per adult.
- This is probably the easiest option if you have a hire car at the time.
- An easy 10 minute drive from Waikiki.
- Drive through Kapiolani Park (located at the end of Waikiki) headed towards Diamond Head on Kalakaua Boulevard.
- This road turns into Poni Moi Road.
- Turn Right onto Diamond Head Road and follow this road around the crater.
- After you pass 18th Ave, take the next left towards the Diamond Head Crater.
- Follow this road up through a tunnel that leads to the center of the Diamond Head Crater where the hike begins.
Opening Hours and Fees
- The trail is open from 6:00am until 6:00pm but they stop people commencing the trail after 4:30pm.
- $5 per car and $1 per visitor.
- The fees are very minimal, so worth doing it yourself rather than as part of a tour.
Diamond Head Trail
- The trail itself is no more than 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) but it is a steep 2.5kms.
- Beware of the stairs! There are almost 200 steps in total.
- Be prepared for a steep uphill tunnel which is almost black. If you are claustrophobic, this is not the hike for you. Even I felt a little stuffy with so many people in the tunnel.
- The view is well worth the struggle, I promise! You can see Waikiki Beach and all of the hotels, the Diamond Head lighthouse and surrounding beaches and look back on the Diamond Head Crater itself.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat, it can get sweltering climbing the crater with the hot, dry climate of this area.
- Try to go early in the morning when there are no tourist buses there. We went at around 9/10 and were swamped by tourists who were not serious hikers.
- Be sure to wear appropriate runners or other closed footwear as the trail has loose gravel, uneven footing and lots of stairs.
- Once you get back down to the base of the crater, reward yourself with a shave ice or hotdog from the food truck there.
Have you had your own experience hiking Diamond Head? Or are there other hikes you prefer on Oahu? Comment below! I would love to here your suggestions for next time I am in Hawaii.
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