Diamond Head Volcano State Landmark, The World’s Most Recognized Volcanic Crater
Diamond Head Overview
Diamond Head is an extinct volcano that is today a popular visitor attraction on Oahu. Victors are allowed the thrill of hiking up to the 760-foot-high peak offering spectacular views of Honolulu, Waikiki and the vast ocean.
Sitting prominently near the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline, Diamond Head is possibly Hawaii’s most recognized landmark, famous for its historic hiking trails, stunning coastal views, and military history.
It’s one of the most photographed and painted spots on Oahu, adorning many postcards, shirts, logos, billboards, wall calendars and wallpapers. As mentioned, Diamond Head was once been an active volcano; but it hasn’t spewed any lava for over 150,000 years.
Encompasses over 475 acres, the landmark is especially known for the trail to the summit of Leʻahi (Hawaiian name for the extinct Diamond Head Crater and lookout point) which was built in 1908 as part of Oahu’s coastal defense system.
When Can I Visit Diamond Head Volcano?
Hours: The attraction is open every day, including holidays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.
How Long Does The Hike Take?
The hike to the summit is a moderate 0.7 mile and will take a small hiking party about an hour to reach the top. Most people can do it in 1.5 hours.
How High Is the Diamond Head Crater?
Diamond Head is a massive volcanic cone with highest vertical height reaching 762 feet (232.3 meters) into the Honolulu sky. The crater itself is 3,520 feet in diameter.
What Is The Trail Like?
The Diamond Head Summit trail hike is likely the most popular hike in Oahu, and for good reason. The trail will bring you to the inside slope of Diamond Head. It’s a switchback trail that winds up the side of the volcano with the mountain on one side and a railing on the other. There is a paved sidewalk for some of the journey, a volcanic dirt path and concrete steps for other sections. Along the way, you will find:
Quite early in the journey, you’ll find a scenic lookout point and rest stop.
Following the rest stop, the trail takes you to a steep upward ascent through a series of stairs and tunnels.
The last set of stairs is a 99-step climb. Yes, you’re sure to break some sweat. Just take it slowly and steadily. You don’t have to rush, you will make it to the top like everyone else eventually does.
You’ll eventually reach to a 200+ feet tunnel that’s a slightly different climb. At the top is a tight staircase that spirals up inside a military observation platform (World War II bunker) built in 1908.
Finally, the stairs reach an end and you step up to some of the finest panoramic views in all of Oahu. It’s time to savor the moment.
What Will You See At the Summit of Diamond Head?
…Bask in the glory of Oahu…
Once you reach the top of the lookout, take some time to savor the moment. Then, bask in the awe-inspiring views of Oahu’s entire leeward side, feeling the cool trade winds and hearing the great waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing on the ridges far below.
The water of Waikiki is crystal blue, the luscious greens of Kapiolani Park are healthily stunning.
The adventurous can walk around the rim of the volcano for a short while to see other spots.
Facilities at Diamond Head
There are no facilities at the summit.
In case you forget, there is a comfort station at the base of the crater where you can buy water as well as use the restroom.
What to Bring To Diamond Head
- Bring a bottle of water, say 2 liters per person should be enough
- Your camera or a device with a camera
- Small flashlight for the tunnel
- A wide brimmed hat and loose long sleeved shirt
How To Get To Diamond Head
Diamond Head is located at the eastern end of Waikiki. From Waikiki, you can take bus number 22, 23 or 58 and get off at the bus stop at Diamond Head. Let the driver know of your destination.
If you are driving, then from Waikiki, take Kalakaua Avenue and continue straight as it changes over into Diamond Head Road. On the road, you will see signs for Diamond Head State Monument. Soon, you’ll see the entrance to the crater will be on the left.
Opening Hours and Admission
-Daily 6am-6pm -Last entrance is at 4:30pm as the gates lock at 6pm
-While you can easily do this on your own, if you drive in, the cost is $5 per carload. -If you walk in, the cost is $1 per person.
As you can imagine, there are cautions for those people who suffer from sensitivity to heat as it may be a strenuous climb.
Visitors travel thousands of miles to get a first-hand glimpse of Diamond Head crater. Many have hiked it several times, simply because it’s worth the effort.
Think about it, you’ll be walking up the side of an extinct volcano, a landmass that at some point in time gushed out fire form its bellows. Undoubtedly, it’s one of this unique experience to remember for a lifetime.
Diamond Head State Monument Map
Here’s a simple map of the monument to help you visualize the hike.