Diamond Head, Waikiki
I love taking photos of lighthouses and collect them whenever I travel. I have many lighthouse photos. But Diamond Head Lighthouse is one of my favorites. It is located on a steep cliff on the coast of Oahu below the now extinct Diamond Head Volcano. It is 55 feet tall and stands 147 feet above sea level. It's light can be seen 18 miles out into the Pacific Ocean. On our first trip to Oahu we did not have a rental car so we walked to the lighthouse from our hotel in Waikiki. It was quite a walk but well worth it to see this beautiful lighthouse. On our second visit to Waikiki we did have a rental car so we were able to drive to Diamond Head State Park and climb to the top of the volcano. From there I was able to get a great photo of the lighthouse from above. Below the lighthouse is Diamond Head beach which is also beautiful and not as crowded as the beaches in Waikiki proper.
It's impossible to go to Waikiki and not see Diamond Head. The inactive volcano dominates the skyline from the beach in Waikiki. You have seen it in a million movies and a hundred times on television shows. It's just one of those iconic places in Waikiki. But there is more to do than just stare at this beautiful mountain and think about television shows. You can also climb Diamond Head and see some of the best views of Waikiki from a birds eye view. The entrance is off Diamond Head Road between Makapu'u Avenue and 18th Avenue, Honolulu. Entry fee of $5 per vehicle or $1 per walk-in visitor.
It's takes about an hour and a half for the complete round trip depending on how agile and fast you are at hiking.
The trail to the summit is 0.8 mile (1.3 km) one way and climbs 560 feet (171 m) in elevation. There is a paved concrete walkway for a distance of 0.2 mile at the start of the hike, but the trail becomes uneven and steep, requiring caution and appropriate footwear. Portions of the trail involve steep stairways. There is a lighted tunnel near the top also. It's quite an adventure but worth the journey.
The Diamond Head Lighthouse is not open to public tours but relatively unobstructed views of the lighthouse can be found. This lighthouse has a great historical significance to many on the island.
In 1825 British sailors climbed the crater at Diamond Head and found hard, clear calcite crystals among the black volcanic rocks. They believed these rocks to be diamonds and the name has followed the crater even to today.
The indigenous Hawaiians had called the hill “Leahi” meaning “wreath of fire” this name reflects the ancient Hawaiian practice of lighting a fire on the crest of the volcano to guide canoe fleets back to the islands.
It was this function for the crater that may have inspired the coast guard, in the late 19th century, to construct a lighthouse here. There had been two separate incidents of ships running aground in the recent years.
The lighthouse is 55 feet (16 m) tall and the light can be seen up to 18 miles (29 km) out at sea.
It's a bit of a climb to the top, but it's worth the view.
When you get here you could possibly understand why they didn't see the Japanese coming. The awesome view! From here you get a great prospective of the locality of everything.
We caught a limo taxi to the main entrance as it was only $5 each.
The bus stops right outside the bottom of the park. Making it a bit of a climb just to get into the main park.
Walk in's were some nominal fee.
Standing atop the world famous Diamond Head Crater, I'm awed by my surroundings. The afternoon sun is still high over the pacific, stretching southward over the horizon. To the west lies Waikiki Beach, with it's gleaming hotels, beach front pavilions and throngs of sun worshipers. From here, it is peaceful, quiet... the only sound the wind whipping in from the ocean. To the east, the rocky Kawaihoa Point stands watch as outrigger canoes race along silently in the clear waters of Maunalua Bay. The far wall of the 150,000 year old crater rises two thirds of a mile to the north. Though the trek to the 760 foot summit is just under a mile, I feel like a conqueror, surveying my newly acquired kingdom...
Diamond Head (Le'ahi) isn't really in Waikiki, but i figured those of you staying in Waikiki will be looking for it there, so I put the info in my Waikiki section (hope I haven't offended any geographical puritists).
From the trailhead to the summit of Diamond Head Crater you will cover 1.3km one way and climb 171 m from the crater floor. It isn't a terribly hard walk, but make sure you wear sensible shoes, take plenty of water and don't be rushed by others. Sunscreen is also a very good idea, but I did see many people using the walk as the perfect opportunity to strip off a bit and get a start on their holiday tan!
It's a nice walk through some moonscape-like terrain and the views from the top are really nice. Pray that you don't reach the summit with a tour group though, as it's not that spacious up there and some tourists can get a little pushy (pet peeve).
I can't help but wish the old Fire Control Station was completely open to the public, as I think that would be amazing to see. Climb up to the top and then enter the Fire Control Station and work your way back down through the station.
We took the bus from the hotel district to Diamond Head and make the hike up the crater. It was a shorter walk than we had anticipated but were happy that we brought enough Gatorade and snacks to sustain us.
Be prepared to sweat and climb stairs.
We took a taxi to Diamond Head one day and hiked up the hill...there are some amazing views up there...it's definitely worth doing! You can get a bus or a taxi up to the entry from Waikiki for fairly cheap (I think it costed us US$8)...
We also walked all the way back into town from the top of Diamond Head and it was a great walk...we really enjoyed it!!!! We saw a bit more of the local life of the Hawaiian people while walking back into town...it's definitely worth doing if you are able to do so.
Lying dormant for 150,000 years, DIAMOND HEAD is Hawaii's most distinctive landmark. A favorite activity is hiking to the top of Diamond Head --- the trail begins inside the crater. Awesome panoramic views of Waikiki can be seen from the top. On a clear day you can spot the outline of Molokai in the east.
Gates open 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Entry $1.00 US per person