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Diamond Head Hike In Oahu – A Complete Guide

Diamond Head Hike in Oahu is one of the most popular hikes in Hawaii. With amazing views and plenty to see, here’s all the info for visiting.

How To Get To Diamond Head

Diamond Head is an extinct volcano, located 3 miles south of Waikiki in Oahu.

Car

If you have a rental car, the drive to Diamond Head is pretty straightforward and takes about 15 minutes from Waikiki.

Just head south out of Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue which will take you onto Monsarrat Avenue and then Diamond Head Road.

Follow this until you see signs for Diamond Head Visitor Centre and Crater Trailhead.

There is car parking once you arrive with a parking fee of $10 per car. The car park apparently fills up very quickly, so get there early!

Taxi/Uber

A taxi will cost $14 – $18, so could be a good choice if there are a few of you.

Found in most large towns in Hawaii, Uber, Lyft and Holoholo are ride-sharing apps that enable you to hail on-demand private drivers. This is usually a little cheaper than a taxi.

Bus

You can jump on bus number 23 from Waikīkī to the Diamond Head Monument stop. Then walk inside the crater.

Trolley

A bit more expensive than a bus, but also more fun, one of the Waikiki Hop-on Hop-off Trolleys stops at Diamond Head. If you are planning a few trips the Waikiki Trolley Hop-on Hop-off 1, 4 or 7-Day All-Line Pass is a good idea.

Tour

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

For enthusiastic hikers, Diamond Head and Manoa Falls Hiking Trails Tour takes you to the two most popular hiking trails in Oahu.

Diamond Head Entrance Fee

Entry and parking reservations are required for non-residents as of May 2022.

Adults: $5 per person.

Children under 3: free.

Parking: $10 per car.

Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
The entrance to Diamond Head.

Diamond Head Opening Times

Monday – Sunday: 6am – 6pm.

Last entry is 4pm and the gate closes at 6pm.

Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Beautiful backdrops upon arrival.

Best Time To Visit Diamond Head

This is one of the top things to do in Waikiki, so gets very busy. However, early on weekday mornings is said to be a little less crowded.

An early start is probably a good idea to beat the midday sun and also get a parking space, if needed.

It’s quite a steep climb and be prepared for two sets of stairs on the way up, totalling over 170 steps altogether.

There are water fountains and toilet facilities at the start of the trail.

It can get pretty hot so hats, sunscreen, water etc are highly recommended.

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Jen ready to explore.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
The beginning of the trail.

Diamond Head History

Said to have been formed between 400,000 and 500,000 years ago, Diamond Head is a crater of the Koʻolau Volcano.

It was originally known as Leahi (brow of the tuna) by the native Hawaiians due to its outline resembling the dorsal fin of a tuna fish. They used it as a sacred site for worship.

Subsequently it was renamed Diamond Head by Western explorers in the 1700s, who mistook shiny calcite crystals on its slopes for diamonds.

In 1904, the US government purchased Diamond Head and used it as a military base until 1955. During this time many of the military constructions seen today were built.

Diamond Head has been preserved as a historic site since 1965 and in 1975 it became a part of Hawaii’s Park Division. It has been open to the public for hiking and exploring since then.

Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Big views from the get go.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
A photo spot just 20 minutes into the trail.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Couldn’t resist a quick snap.

What To Expect When Hiking Diamond Head In Oahu

Sitting prominently on the edge of Waikiki’s coastline, Diamond Head is the most iconic volcanic formation in Hawaii.

This extinct volcano was formerly used as a military reservation and is now a State National Park and tourist hotspot.

The Diamond Head Hike is one of the most well known and popular hikes in Hawaii. This is due to its uniqueness and stunning 360 degree views once you reach the summit.

Although it can be quite challenging, the actual hike is only about 1.3km to the summit at 171m. Taking about 30-60 minutes, depending on your levels of fitness.

With paths, a long tunnel and lots of stairs, this hike has varied terrain with plenty of amazing views along the way. (You will find some benches along the route to catch your breath if needed.)

In addition, the old military installations that are still in place certainly add to the atmosphere of this unique hike.

When you finally reach the viewing deck, the panoramic views are breathtaking. From Waikiki to Waianae, the Pacific Ocean and the Ko’olau Mountains, you can see for miles.

Once you have made your descent, you might want to visit one of the food trucks for some well deserved refreshments. There is also a small Visitor Centre if you are looking for a souvenir of your hike.

We visited after a trip to Manoa Falls and it made for a great day! Definitely a must do on your Oahu itinerary.

Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
An example of the few stairways along the hike.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
The loop to the summit.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Views from the lookout.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Quick selfie time.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
The final climb to the top of Waikiki.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Looking back at the trail we just climbed.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Views over Waikiki Beach.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Jen taking in the scenery.
Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii
Big shakas to end the afternoon.

Where To Stay In Oahu

Luxury

Sheraton Waikiki

Just 4 miles from the Diamond Head Crater Park, the Sheraton Waikiki features two oceanfront pools, an adult-only infinity pool and Helumoa Playground featuring two fresh water swimming pools, and a 70 foot long water slide

Modern rooms feature a flat-screen TV and video games at Sheraton Waikiki. Rooms come with a private balcony, some with mountain or ocean views. In-room coffee and a work desk are also provided.

The Sheraton offers 4 on-site dining options, including Pacific Rim inspired RumFire, the Edge of Waikiki bar situated just above the ocean, a breakfast and dinner buffet featuring Hawaii’s locally grown products at Kai Market and Hapa’s Pizza.

Mid-Budget

Best Western The Plaza Hotel

Featuring an outdoor pool, free WiFi and all guest rooms include a refrigerator.

Guest rooms include a microwave, a TV with cable channels and pay-per-view movies, and air-conditioning.

An on-site restaurant is available at the Best Western The Plaza Hotel.

The hotel also provides a 24-hour front desk and a business center and is completely non-smoking.

The Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial and the Missouri Center are 3.7 miles away from this hotel. Downtown Honolulu is 9.9 miles from the Best Western The Plaza Hotel.

Budget

Polynesian Hostel Beach Club

Located on the southern coast of Honolulu Island, this hostel is one block from Kuhio Beach and the Honolulu Zoo. The Polynesian Hostel offers comfortable accommodations.

Polynesian Hostel Beach Club offers dormitory rooms where guests can meet other travelers. Private studios feature en suite bathrooms and kitchens.

The common room at Polynesian Beach Club provides a TV for entertainment. The hostel has Wi-Fi, barbecue equipment and laundry facilities.

Kapiolani Park, which provides tennis courts and soccer fields, is less than one mile from the Polynesian Hostel. Waikiki Aquarium is a 5-minute drive from the hostel.

For more places to stay in Oahu, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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Diamond Head Hike In Oahu Hawaii