Diamond Head, Honolulu

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 37 Reviews

Scenic; Hiking Trail

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    Diamond head overview
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    Waikiki side
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  • K.Knight's Profile Photo

    Walk up Diamond Head.

    by K.Knight Written Dec 27, 2004

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    Diamond Head

    Diamond Head is Oahu's largest tuff cone formed over 100,000 years ago by an active bubbling volcano. Nineteenth century British sailors nicknamed the crater Diamond Head when they mistook the calcite crystals for diamonds. A well-graded trail leads you up the 760-feet summit to a World War II bunker with a bird's eye view of Honolulu.

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  • csordila's Profile Photo

    National Natural Landmark - A dormant volcano

    by csordila Updated Sep 20, 2008

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    Diamond Head
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    The 230 metres Diamond Head at the end of Waikiki is one of the most famous volcanic craters on earth and since 1968 National Natural Landmark.
    It is a now dormant volcano that has been extinct for more than hundred-thousand years. Its name was given by British sailors in the 1800's, who mistakenly thought, the calcite crystals in the lava rock must be diamonds.
    We have intended to visit the Diamond Head Crater Park in its interior, but unfortunately there was not time enough to do so. By the way inside the crater there is nothing special thing, only the panoramic views of Waikiki and the south shore of Oahu. Do not forget to take water and flashlight ( tunnel!!)
    Guided hiking tours are available from U$27.00, the trail to the rim is about 3 km and takes about one hour and a half. The trail is paved almost the entire way but can be steep in spots. At the end of the trip you get a a personalized "I Climbed Diamond Head" certificate that is suitable for framing.

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  • csordila's Profile Photo

    Diamond Head Lighthouse

    by csordila Updated Sep 20, 2008

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    Lighthouse

    Diamond Head Lighthouse is located on the slopes of the dormant volcano beside the Diamond Head Road from Waikiki to Kahala. It was built in 1918 and still retains its original Fresnel lens. There is no path leading to it, because is not open to the public ( Coast Guard facility! ), so you won't be able to approach it.
    A walk from Waikiki Beach will take about one hour. By car, it is less than 10 minutes.
    The lighthouse can be seen on the right side of the road. Distant views are also possible from atop of the crater.

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  • Suet's Profile Photo

    Climbing Diamond Head

    by Suet Written Feb 22, 2004

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    stopping for a breather.....

    Ah well, having put on appropriate hiking gear, jeans and trainers, it was time to try and kill myself by climbing the hill.......

    A strenuous climb for one so unfit, I noted the distinct lack of cardiac resuscitation equipment along the way and the elegant sandals and shoes of the Japanese Tourists.... with frequent pauses (to admire the views) it is possible to climb it in about 45 minutes, going down was much easier....

    The path is sometimes rocky and uneven so good footwear is a must unless you want broken ankles, although I did see a rather fetching pair of high heeled glittery slingbacks on one fashion conscious girl, also a rather well dressed couple with elegant umbrellas..... so it seems it is possible to wear what you like.

    Take water and plenty of film, also a good pair of binoculars.... when you get to the top you can see for miles and it is also a good place for whale watching. One humpbacked jumped right out of the water.... magical. The sea is a deep blue, although not the royal blue of the Mediterranean and you can watch the paragliding surfers in action. Lots of helicopters flew by on sight seeing tours which looked like fun, if you don't get airsick.

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  • percy961's Profile Photo

    Breath taking views

    by percy961 Written Sep 19, 2004

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    View from Diamond Head.

    Probably the most famous landmark in Hawaii is Diamond Head, a 1.2 km wide tuff ring near the southeast end of the Island of Oahu. Early sailors mistakenly thought glistening calcite crystals inside the tuff rocks were diamonds, leading to the incorrect name.

    The hike to the peak is not for the faint hearted especially in the Hot weather. The trail is steep and uneven, the are a couple of tunnels to pass through and numerous steps.

    That said, the view onthe peak are sensational.

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  • Rixie's Profile Photo

    Climb An Extinct Volcano

    by Rixie Updated Jan 5, 2006

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    Diamond Head is the most recognizable landmark in Hawaii. The crater of an extinct volcano, it looms above almost every photo of Waikiki Beach, like the one on my Honolulu intro.

    I've seen the hike to the top described as "easy to moderate," but I didn't find that to be accurate. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest, I'd say that this is a 7.

    We started up the trail at 7:30 a.m., while it was still cool, but even so, I was sweating and out of breath by the time we reached the top. If I hadn't taken a puff off an asthma inhaler when we first started, I probably wouldn't have made it. I consider myself fit and am accustomed to walking long distances, but there was something about the combination of the heat, the altitude, and the steep climb that almost did me in.

    I was glad that I did it, though, as the view from the top was absolutely breathtaking. The only problem was that we had to share it with about 50 other people, with everyone jockeying for a good camera angle. I'd advise going very, very early in the morning or very, very late in the afternoon: it's open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The trail is paved for most of the way, and there are two sets of stairs: 76 and 99 steps, respectively.

    Guidebooks say to allow an hour for the ascent and 45 minutes for the descent, but it took us only about 30 minutes going up and 20 minutes coming down. Coming down was MUCH easier.

    Wear sturdy walking shoes, and bring a flashlight (there is a long, dark tunnel -- the only shade on the whole hike), bottled water, and of course, a camera.

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  • slabeaume's Profile Photo

    Diamond Head Crater Hike

    by slabeaume Written Aug 23, 2003

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    The obligatory picture

    Diamond Head State Monument is a tuff cone formed by subterranean explosions thousands of years ago. Long ago, Hawaiians used the summit for human sacrifices. In 1908 the United States built the trail to the summit as part of the U.S. Army Coastal Artillery defense system. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1968. Now it is open to the public as a hike that ends in an amazing view.
    If you take a bus there, it will drop you off near the tunnel going into the crater. If you drive in to the parking lot, there's a $5 day use/parking fee.

    I rated the level of difficulty here as beginner because of the good paths and steps. But there are hundreds of steps near the top that will give your heart a real work out, so keep that in mind. There are also a couple of long dark tunnels. They suggest that you take a flash light with you. We didn't, and got along ok. There are hand rails to guide you through the tunnels. I did take a bottle of water, though, and am very glad I did. It seemed to be more humid here then down in Waikiki.

    Once at the top, the views into the crater and towards Waikiki are amazing. If you plan to take pictures, I'd recommend going up there in the morning so you have better lighting.

    Give yourself at least 1.5 hours to make the roundtrip hike! The park closed at 6 when we were there in Aug. I'm not sure how they know everyone is down, or if they just lock you in. We didn't wait to find out.

    The first two times we went to Oahu, we didn't do this hike. I'm glad I finally got to. It was well worth the effort.

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  • HawaiianKukiniNui's Profile Photo

    Climb Diamond Head

    by HawaiianKukiniNui Updated Jan 8, 2006

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    Warren and Brother Mike Getting Ready to Climb
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    Diamond Head, one of the best-known volcanic craters in the world, can be seen from the southeast coast of O'ahu not far from Waikiki. The view from the summit of this 760-foot, extinct crater is well worth the climb. The steep trail to the top is mostly paved and defined by two sets of stairs-one, 99 steps, the other 76 steps. It leads through a 225-foot tunnel and ends with a spectacular view of the island's west side. This is also an excellent spot for whale watching during the winter. Known in Hawaiian as Le'ahi (brow of the ahi-yellowfin tun), Diamond Head was so named when Brttish seamen saw calcite crystals sparkling in the sunshine and thought they'd found diamonds. The volcanic crater, a major O'ahu landmark, has been extinct for 150,000 years. Admission to the park, which is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., is $1. Parking is $5. From Waikiki (Kapiolani Park) to the Diamond Head Entrance is about a 20-30 minute walk.

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  • April1985's Profile Photo

    See diamond head

    by April1985 Written Jan 17, 2007

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    Diamond head was hit with a huge meteor rock a long time ago , and that is what caused the huge crator ... or so ive been told.. It was very calming , and very nice to see , and we had a great view of this from our hotel toom as well. unfortunaly there was no parking so we could not hike up into it , but we did drive into the crator and take a few pics .

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  • Redlats's Profile Photo

    Climb Diamond Head

    by Redlats Updated Oct 1, 2004

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    Waikiki from top of Diamond Head

    Diamond Head is an old (really old) volcano that you can climb. There is a pretty good view from the top (see picture). It is a moderately taxing hike, as it is a lot of climbing (probably 300 steps, a lot of hill and almost all in the hot sun).

    They tell you that you must have water and a flashlight to climb. You do need water and sunscreen (it's a desert up there), but unless you are claustraphobic or afraid of the dark, the flashlight is not worth renting.

    Cost in 2001 is $1/ person to enter the park, $2 to rent the flashlight. You can get to Diamond Head by taking The Bus (#22 or #58). If you are too wiped to walk down to the bus stop, there seems to be a good supply of taxis to drive you back to town.

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  • Ahidyn's Profile Photo

    Diamond Head

    by Ahidyn Updated May 17, 2009

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    You can get there by bus, car or taxi. I took a bus from Pearl Harbor. Then, do some walking to see Diamond Head. The trail up, can be kind of difficult for some people, but there are benches to sit on if you want a break. You must ascent 761 ft. Please wear comforble shoes. After climb a few levels, and stairs you will enjoy a beautiful view of Oahu. Don't forget your binoculars, camara, and water.

    Entrance Fee: $5.00 per car or $1 per person for pedestrians. Commercial vehicles fees: $10.00 cars/vans, $20 mini-buses, $40 buses

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  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Lighthouse Visit

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 28, 2010

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    Diamond Head Light
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    I looked up the lighthouses I might see in Honolulu and found that Diamond Head actually had an active lighthouse. I thought I could get out there on one of the trolleys, but it turned out to be more expensive and less convenient to do it that way than just to take a taxi out. I also got a photo from the plane when we were leaving, but it was out of focus (photo 4)

    The station was established in 1899 and the original lighthouse was similar to the present one, but it was an iron skeletal tower enclosed by coral rock walls. The lighthouse is a square pyramidal reinforced concrete tower, topped by a round watch room and lantern. It is an active lighthouse. The red sector warns boats about the nearby reefs. The present lighthouse is painted white; lantern roof is red. The 1-story wood keeper's house (1921) is the residence of the Coast Guard district commandant. The historic Coast Guard photo of the lighthouse is photo 5. Site and tower closed

    The sign in photo 3 says in part:
    Diamond Head Lighthouse is a prominent symbol of Hawaiian history to residents and visitors alike. The lighthouse rests aside a tuff-cone volcano formed by explosive eruptions thousands of years ago...

    The first lighthouse on this site was built in 1899. It was rebuilt in 1917 when cracks developed in the earlier structure The Diamond Head Lighthouse still uses the original Fresnell Lens. The flash of a modern 1000-watt electric bulb is focused by the lens so it can be seen more than 18 miles out to sea.

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  • jdw7319's Profile Photo

    Hiking up Diamond Head

    by jdw7319 Written Feb 9, 2007

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    Walking up the path
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    Wow. For this slightly, OK very out of shape 47 year old, what a work out. You actually enter in your car the center of Diamond Head. They charge $5 per car, but what a deal. That is the complete cost. The trail is free. In the end it was all worth it as I feel they should have handed out badges of merit once you completed the walk/hike. It is .8 miles up with about a 600 foot vertical foot incline. You start off with a gently sloped path and it is very picturesque. It winds its way around the hills and then you start the steep part and the steps. There are two sets of steps with about 100 steps on each set. There are also two rather smallish tunnels you must navigate. Then you finally reach what you think is the top and then there is one last devilsh little torture for you as you must climb three rungs of a ladder and stoop to get under what once was a gun implacement. Once this is all accomplished, you will see the best view Honolulu has to offer. Advice: Brings lots of water and take your time !!

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  • SLLiew's Profile Photo

    Diamond Head - a natural landmark

    by SLLiew Updated Oct 13, 2006

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    Diamond Head is a volcano cone visible from Waikiki beach, reminding we tourists that Hawaii is built from volcanoes rising from ocean floor in the middle of Pacific Ocean, very far from the closest land continents.

    Did not go up the top of Diamond Head where one can see from the rim into cone, Waikiki Beach and the big blue Pacific Ocean from above.

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  • Jetgirly's Profile Photo

    Get Your Morning Exercise Climbing Diamond Head

    by Jetgirly Written Aug 14, 2004

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    The View!

    My best tip for those planning on visiting Diamond Head to check your map before you go! We ended up walking all the way around the entire park looking for the entrance because one of our chaperones just assumed she knew where the park entrance was. That added about ninety minutes walking to our trip and totally wore us out!

    The climb up is fairy steep and there are lots of stairs... I personally was not in great shape (and had been walking for ninety minutes already), and I found it to be strenuous. Once you reached the top the view was great though... and the trails are varied and interested (not just straight up along the same type of trail).

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