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 Hike
Diamond Head is an extinct volcano, located 3 miles south of Waikiki in Oahu.
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!
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.
You can jump on bus number 23 from Waikīkī to the Diamond Head Monument stop. Then walk inside the crater.
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.
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 Hike Entrance Fee
Entry and parking reservations are required for non-residents as of May 2022.
Entry is $5 per person.
Under 3 years free.
(Parking is $10 per car.)
Diamond Head Hike Opening Times
Open every day from 6am to 6pm.
Last entry is 4pm and the gate closes at 6pm.
Best Time To Visit Diamond Head Hike + Tips
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
History Of Diamond Head
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.
What To Expect At Diamond Head Hike
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.
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.
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