Diamond Head

Diamond Head

Diamond Head, a volcanic crater on the southeast coast of Oahu near Waikiki, is one of the most famous landmarks on the island of Oahu. A trail leading to the summit provides a stunning panoramic view of the south and west shores of Oahu including Waikiki, Koko Head, the pacific ocean, and the inside of the crater.

Diamond Head is now a United States Monument. It is open from 6am to 6pm. Restrooms are available. There is an entrance fee of $1 per person or $5 per car.

Diamond Head Hiking Trail

The trail to the top of Diamond Head is a moderate 1 1/2 mile round trip hike. It is a very popular trail because it is so close to Waikiki and because the view from the top is amazing. The trail is steep in places and there are 2 sets of stairs: 1 with 99 steps and the other with 76. There is also a 225 foot tunnel (which now has lights, contrary to what older travel guides say). The trail is very well maintained. Allow about an hour and half for the round trip hike. You can easily do it in less if you are in resonably good shape and keep good pace. It is a good trail for families and kids. It is a good idea to do the hike early before it gets too hot. It is steep and there is little shade. The trail was built in 1908 as part of the coastal defense system of the island. In the winter, if you arrive early, you can watch the sunrise from the summit. Be sure to bring a flashlight for the dark hike up before sunrise. In the summer, the sun rises before the trail opens.

How to get to Diamond Head from Waikiki

Diamond Head is located on the eastern end of Waikiki. It is about a 3 mile drive from the center of Waikiki to the parking area inside the crater.. There are at least 4 options to get to Diamond Head:
  1. Drive: From Waikiki, take Kalakaua avenue to Monsarrat avenue. Take a slight left onto Monsarrat. In 1 mile the road changes names to Diamond Head Road. Follow Diamond Head Road for .6 miles and then turn right onto the access road to the crater. You will drive through a tunnel to the parking area which is in the interior of the crater. There is generally plenty of parking available.
  2. The city bus, called theBus: From Waikiki, take bus number 22, 23 or 58 to the Diamond Head stop (just ask the driver if you're not sure where exactly where to get off). From the bus stop, there is a short walk to the crater. The cost is $2.50 each way for the bus (discounts available for kids and seniors) plus $1.00 per person to get into Diamond Head.
  3. Taxi cab: Taxis are readily available in Waikiki. It is a little more expensive than theBus, but it is quicker and also the cab will drop you off in the parking lot near the trail, but the bus stop is outside the crater requiring a short walk after you get off the bus.
  4. Guided Tours: Several tour companies offer guided tours with pickup at Waikiki hotels. This is quite a bit more expensive than the other options.

Diamond Head History

Diamond Head was originally named Leahi by the Hawaiians. It was name Diamond Head by British sailors in the late 1700s who thought they saw diamonds in the mountains. The "diamonds" turned out to the worthless calcite crystals, but the name Diamond Head stuck.

In the 1900s, Diamond Head crater was used as a military post and lookout. Fort Ruger, a major defense fort on the island, was located inside the crater. The tunnel that is still used to access the interior of the crater was dug through the mountain to provide access to the fort. The observation deck at the summit was built for military use in 1910.