Diamond Head was formed by volcanic eruptions about 150,000 years ago and to this day, it’s a “must-do” tourist attraction on Oahu. Located between Kahala and Waikiki, the hike to the top delivers a grand view of Honolulu, Hawaii Kai, and the vast scenery of the Pacific Ocean.
- Locate the road entrance. Between Makapuu Ave. and 18th Ave, there’s a road on the crater side that goes up. Look for the Diamond Head sign. If you’re taking the bus from Waikiki, take routes 1, 3, 22 (does not run on Tuesdays), and 23. There is a bus stop right in front of the entrance, so inform the bus driver that you’re going to Diamond Head & be on alert when you go up the hill.
- Drive or walk up the road. Pedestrians can walk on the dirt/rock path (on the side of oncoming traffic) instead of the actual road. Be sure to stop at the first scenic point before heading into the tunnel. This point views the Kahala district.
- Be very cautious when going through the tunnel. There is a limited space for pedestrians. Always drive slow and have vehicle headlights on.
- Pay at the main entrance. The entrance fees are $1 per pedestrian, $5 each car, $10 for commercial cars/vans, $20 for mini-buses, and $40 for buses. If available, you can also grab a trail map, along with a ticket stub for your fee.
- Browse through the Visitor’s Booth. Not only that a person can learn about the trail, but also discover Diamond Head’s history and its usage in World War I. There are water fountains and a restroom facility nearby.
- Walk the trail. It starts off as a paved cement path, leads to dirt, and then rocks. Beginning at the first height increment, metal guard rails are placed for safety. Before you get to the top, there are two other scenic areas to view from. Numerous benches are placed along the trail and there are other places to step aside for people to take a breath.
- Learn that there are three separate staircases on the trail. The first flight of stairs are located outside the 2nd scenic point, ascending about 74 steps. The second flight is between that & the 3rd scenic point. This is a 99 step staircase. The third flight of stairs is a metal spiral one, located after the dark tunnel, about 30 steps.
- Go through the artillery observation platform. Be sure to watch your step and duck your head as you are heading towards the summit opening.
- Follow the path towards the top and enjoy the view. Even if you don’t have a companion, look around and ask someone to take a picture of you. Take a lot of pictures from all directions, as it is an amazing experience.
- Please take sunscreen, water, and wear sturdy shoes while hiking. You may want to bring a flashlight for the trail tunnel. The only restroom/water fountain location is at the bottom, so please be sure you’re set with everything before going up.
- The crater is open every day, including holidays, from 6 am to 6 pm. The last entrance is at 4:30 pm and there is a notice at the main gate that if you can’t come down by 4:30, it’s best to come another day. On average, the hike takes about 1 1/2 hours round trip.
- Because this is a high-volume foot traffic attraction, please have patience on the trail and at the top. All ages, from little children to senior citizens are around and people do have their own pace while walking. Do not let your kids run on the trail as there are many sharp turns and terrain differences; there’s a huge field along the parking lot if they wish to run around.
- Always keep valuables at home or hide it securely in your car. Be sure to lock up your car before leaving the parking area.
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