Home Adventure Diamond Head Hike, Honolulu, Hawaii

Diamond Head Hike, Honolulu, Hawaii

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Enjoying the view from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii
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The Diamond Head hike in Oahu, Hawaii offers some of the best views of Honolulu along with a chance to check out an incredible ancient crater!

Aerial view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. Hawaii

Aerial view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach. Hawaii

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…

Views on the way to Diamond Head, Hawaii

Views on the way to Diamond Head, Hawaii

Eventually we made it to the trail entrance 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.

The road tunnel build through the crater at Diamond Head, Hawaii

The road tunnel build through the crater at Diamond Head, Hawaii

Standing in the crater at Diamond Head, Hawaii (Photo: Travelspective)

Standing in the crater at Diamond Head, Hawaii (Photo: Travelspective)

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.

Amazing view of the entire crater at Diamond Head

Amazing view of the entire crater at 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.

The trail is under a mile in length but is strenuous for many due to the steep gradient – in fact you’ll hike to a height of 560 ft to reach the summit.

View of Honolulu from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

View of Honolulu from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

View of the lighthouse from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

View of the lighthouse from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

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.

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

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.

Steep stars on the Diamond Head trail

Steep stars on the Diamond Head trail

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

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.

Enjoying the views from the first lookout on Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Enjoying the views from the first lookout on Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

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.

Climbing through the bunker at the top of Diamond Head, Hawaii

Climbing through the bunker at the top of Diamond Head, Hawaii

View of Honolulu from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

View of Honolulu from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Crystal clear water in Hawaii

Crystal clear water in Hawaii

Views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

From there you can reach the highest point by taking one more set of stairs for the best panoramic views of Honolulu.

Enjoying the view from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Enjoying the view from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

View of Honolulu from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

View of Honolulu from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

Amazing views from Diamond Head Trail, Hawaii

I found the Diamond Head crater hike tiring as it was pretty warm and the terrain was steep. Once at the top, the weather changed and we had a patch of rain which made the path slippery for our descent.

 

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! 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 (2017)

The trail opens at 6am and closes at 6pm. Last entry is at 4.30pm.

Entry costs $1 per person for pedestrians or you can take a car for $5. They only accept cash.

Allow approximately one hour to get to the summit.

Suggested Hotels For Visiting Diamond Head

Here are my pick of the best Waikiki Beach hotels near Diamond Head, Hawaii.

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

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

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

Halekulani Hotel, Honolulu

Halekulani Hotel, Honolulu



Booking.com

I was invited to Hawaii by GoBe and Travelspective. As always, opinions are my own. This post contains some affiliate links where I receive a small commission if you choose to book anything (at no extra cost to you!)

Enjoyed this post? Pin it…Hiking To Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii


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7 comments

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7 comments

Angie SilverSpoon 24th April 2017 - 9:05 am

Incredible views!! I want to visit Hawaii even more now!

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Wanderlust Chloe 24th April 2017 - 11:20 am

It was sooo beautiful. Worth the leg burn that’s for sure!

Reply
Suze 24th April 2017 - 3:20 pm

The unlit tunnel sounds atmospheric! Worth it for the view at the top

Reply
Hayley Rubery 25th April 2017 - 12:01 pm

Girl your pictures are simply stunning – I’d LOVE to visit Hawaii, it’s been on my bucket list for so long (even more so now I’ve read this post). P.s not sure if I’ve said but I’m really loving your new design girl!

Hayley xo
http://www.frockmeimfamous.com

Reply
Wanderlust Chloe 25th April 2017 - 12:34 pm

So glad you like it Hayley! I really love how it makes the images pop out 🙂 Hawaii is a dream destination – you’d love it although you can’t talk after your trip to the Maldives!! x

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Jason 14th September 2019 - 3:44 pm

i did this last week and got quite the workout! i rode a rented bike from waikiki and that was a mistake. for the record, im 44 and more than a bit out of shape. the road my gps had me on became a VERY uphill road about half way there, so i had to dismount and walk the rest of the way. so i was already worn out after riding/walking that road, and now i had the trail to contend with! but i pushed myself and eventually made it to the top! the views were worth nearly killing myself getting to them lol the walk back was a piece of piddle though compared to going up. as was the ride home. i dont think ive ever gone so fast on a bike down a hill lol

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Chloe Gunning 20th September 2019 - 9:13 am

Ahhh Jason, that sounds tough!!! But I’m glad the views were worth it. I remember those hills too well!

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