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The Diamond Head Trail Journey to the Top

Diamond Head Trail is one of the most rewarding Oahu hikes, offering amazing 360-degree views when you reach the top.  My family has hiked it over the years and we never get tired of it.  Hiking Diamond Head might first appear to be a challenging all day climb, but this Oahu hiking trail can look deceiving, as it really only takes about 40 to 60 minutes to reach the 760-foot summit.  The hike itself is 1.5 miles round trip.

There are some steep sections including narrow stairs, and the number of hikers ahead of you might slow you down, but just imagine the panoramic views you will be rewarded with once you reach the top of this Diamond Head hike.  Keep reading to see everything you need to know before you go!

Note:  Starting back in May 2022, you will now need to make an online reservation for if you are an out of state visitor, and would like to hike Diamond Head.  See more details below in the entrance fee section.

Diamond Head is a famous volcanic crater located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, known for its distinctive shape and stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Hike Details

Elevation     560 Feet

Length         1.6 Miles Round Trip

Duration       60 to 90 Minutes

Terrain           Switchbacks, Hilly, Stairs, Hot

Difficulty        Medium

Disclaimer – all Oahu hikes have different challenges and hazards that can be dangerous and may cause injury. Know your fitness and skill level before embarking on any hike.  Stay on trails and obey posted signs. The information on this site is for your reading pleasure only.  Hike at your own risk.

Today Diamond Head has been turned into a state national park.  You will need to enter the Diamond Head park from the eastern side, through a short vehicle tunnel that will bring you into the center of the crater, where you will start your 560 foot ascent.

The Diamond Head View offers a breathtaking panorama of the sparkling ocean, lush greenery, and the iconic Diamond Head crater, providing a mesmerizing sight that captures the beauty of Oahu, Hawaii.

Consider a self-guided hiking tour, including map, water, park entrance fees, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel  Book your hike now...

The Diamond Head Trail Hike

The Diamond Head Pillbox View offers a stunning vantage point from the historic World War II pillboxes, providing panoramic views of the coastline, Honolulu, and the majestic Diamond Head crater, making it a popular spot for hikers and photographers on Oahu, Hawaii.

New pedestrian tunnel is complete.

Construction for a new pedestrian tunnel has been completed for the Kapahulu side of the crater, which will make it easier to access from Waikiki.  Previously the only entrance and exit was through a car tunnel on the Kahala side.  The new tunnel was completed at the end of 2021.

At the top of the Diamond Head Trail, hikers are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu skyline, and the surrounding natural beauty of Oahu, Hawaii.

Hiking Diamond Head is suitable for most, including children, golden agers, and the average person who does not exercise daily or participate in many hikes for recreation.  However, please know your own health condition and wear the appropriate gear for this moderate hike.

The Diamond Head Trail path winds its way up the iconic volcanic crater, offering hikers a moderately challenging yet rewarding journey with stunning vistas of the coastline and lush landscapes of Oahu, Hawaii.

You will find the beginning of the Diamond Head trail on the west side of the crater, where you start your ascent slowly up a sidewalk path that turns into a switchback rock pathway.

There are lots of loose gravel and potholes on the trail, so take caution with your footing to prevent slipping and falling.

The Diamond Head Steps, also known as the "Stairway to Heaven," is a challenging and thrilling hiking trail on Oahu, Hawaii, featuring a steep ascent with over 3,900 steps that lead to breathtaking panoramic views from the top of the Ko'olau Mountains.

I have seen a few hikers on this Oahu hiking trail wearing flip-flops that are meant more for the beach.  Although they might get away with it, I would recommend wearing something with stronger support and grip, such as hiking or trail running shoes.

The Diamond Head Platform is a spacious and elevated area at the summit of Diamond Head crater, providing visitors with a panoramic view of the surrounding coastline, Honolulu, and the natural beauty of Oahu, Hawaii.

The switchback trails will take you quickly up to the first lookout, where I recommend taking a moment to catch your breath and enjoy some beautiful ocean views.

The Diamond Head Lighthouse, located on the southeastern tip of Oahu, Hawaii, is an iconic landmark that has been guiding ships since 1899, with its distinctive white tower and picturesque coastal setting.

The next section of this Diamond Head hike involves narrow long stairs –lots of stairs!  This will lead you to a lit 225 ft tunnel that you will need to pass through.

The Diamond Head Tunnel is a short and scenic tunnel that cuts through the Diamond Head crater, providing a convenient passage for vehicles traveling between the eastern and western sides of Oahu, Hawaii.

As you exit the 75-yard tunnel, you will see a double headed painted arrow on the wall pointing 2 ways to the top.  Turn left and it's a long path with a series of stairs leading to the top platform.  Turn right and it's a straight shot up.

The Diamond Head Stairs, also known as the "Haʻikū Stairs" or "Stairway to Heaven," is a steep and challenging hiking trail on Oahu, Hawaii, featuring a series of over 3,900 steps that lead to breathtaking views from the top of the Ko'olau Mountain Range.

99 steps will lead you straight up to an old military bunker room with a spiral staircase leading up to the top.  That's right, more stairs that will finally lead you to the top of the pillbox lookout.

Not too long ago, you had an opportunity to purchase a Certificate of Achievement for doing the Diamond Head hike for a small donation of $2.00!  You will have to settle for a souvenir once you reach the bottom.

The spiral staircase adds another layer, mystery, and sense of adventure to this amazing Oahu hike!  And while this signifies the end of the climb, there are more stairs and platforms up top to explore.

The Diamond Head Spiral Staircase is an architectural marvel, featuring a gracefully spiraling design that ascends to provide panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, notably located in the Diamond Head crater in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The backside stairs gives you an amazing view of the Diamond Head Crater, and the coastline leading down to the Koko Crater.  Most climbers take this route back down to the bottom.  You can climb up 1100 steps next at the Koko Crater if you're up for it!

The Diamond Head Stairs, also known as the "Haʻikū Stairs" or "Stairway to Heaven," is a steep and challenging hiking trail on Oahu, Hawaii, featuring a series of over 3,900 steps that lead to breathtaking views from the top of the Ko'olau Mountain Range.

The gorgeous 360-degree views from the viewing decks are breathtaking!  Not because you’re out of breath from climbing all the stairs, but because of the panoramic views of Waikiki to Waianae, the vast Pacific Ocean, the Ko’olau Mountains, and eastern views reaching out to the Koko Head Crater.

The Diamond Head Top View offers a stunning panoramic perspective of the surrounding landscape, including the sparkling ocean, lush greenery, and the vibrant cityscape of Honolulu, making it a must-see attraction on Oahu, Hawaii.

Diamond Head Crater also holds the record for the longest recorded land views in the world.  On a clear day, I think I would have to agree!

Diamond Head trail is one of my favorite Oahu hikes…I hope you get to discover it too!

A Little Diamond Head History

Diamond Head is an iconic volcanic crater in Hawaii, known for its unique shape and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the city of Honolulu.

Diamond Head Crater is a stunning volcanic landmark that has captured the attention of visitors from the beginning of time.  Ancient Hawaiians first named the extinct volcano Le’Ahi for its strong Ahi-Tuna-fish brow like appearance.

Later in the 1800’s, British sailors were fooled by the glittering stones that are embedded at the top of the crater.  No diamonds were discovered, but Le’Ahi received its new name “Diamond Head”.

The Diamond Head Map is a detailed navigational guide illustrating the trails, landmarks, and points of interest within the iconic Diamond Head State Monument in Honolulu, facilitating exploration of the volcanic crater and its stunning surroundings.

The Diamond Head trail itself was originally built in 1908 by the US Army, and used for many decades as part of the Fort Rugur military base.  Artillery cannons, cement bunkers and an observation deck were built on the summit of the Diamond Head Crater.

Facilities at the base of the crater

The Diamond Head Food Truck offers a diverse and delicious array of culinary delights, providing a convenient and flavorful dining experience for visitors near the famous Diamond Head landmark in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Restrooms
  • Food lunch wagon
  • Vending machines
  • Water fountains
  • Picnic areas
  • History and I signs 

  • Diamond Head Trail Hiking Tips

    While hiking the Diamond Head Trail, visitors can enjoy stunning hotel views of the Waikiki Beach area, with a backdrop of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and the majestic Diamond Head crater.
    • Start early!  Gates open at 6am…I wouldn’t start to hike Diamond Head at midday since it gets a little hot in this area.  The crater and much of the trail are bare with little signs of shade or a breeze.
    • Also consider catching a sunset on the summit!  You would need to park outside the crater grounds, and start your hike before 4:00pm.  Your patience could pay off with a beautiful sunset if you’re willing to hang out a while, once you reach the top.
    • Bring a hat, sun glasses, and a bottle of water for each hiker.  And don’t forget to wear appropriate shoes to trek on loose gravel and uneven walkways.

    Reservations, Entrance Fee & Hours

    Starting back in 2022, out-of-state visitors will need to make an online reservation up to 14 days in order to hike Diamond Head.  DLNR, who oversees Hawaii hiking trails and parks, would like to reduce over crowding from 6000 to 3000 hikers per day, and help spread out visitors through out the day to help make it safer and more pleasant to experience.

    The Diamond Head Visitor Center serves as the gateway to the iconic Diamond Head State Monument, providing visitors with information, exhibits, and facilities to enhance their experience exploring the crater and its surrounding natural beauty.

    • There is a small entrance fee for visitors and parking.
    • $10 per for non-commercial vehicles, Free for resident cars with valid ID
    • $5 per non-resident visitor entrance fee
    • Park Hours  6am to 4pm everyday
    • Park Gate closes at 6 pm

    3 Similar Oahu Hiking Trails

    Here are 3 additional Oahu Hiking Trails that are similar to hike, which you might want to consider climbing after this one...

    Getting There

    The Diamond Head Crater View offers a breathtaking panoramic perspective of the volcanic crater's rugged terrain, the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the vibrant cityscape of Honolulu, creating a captivating sight that showcases the natural and urban beauty of Oahu, Hawaii.Diamond Head Crater

    You could literally walk to the Diamond Head trail from Waikiki, if you don’t mind extending your hike an hour...depending how far back you start from.

    Remove the stress consider a self-guided hiking tour, including map, water, park entrance fees, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel  Book your hike now...

    Waikiki Trolley

    Waikiki Trolley Tours provide a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the vibrant and iconic Waikiki area of Honolulu, offering narrated tours that showcase the city's landmarks, attractions, and scenic beauty.

    The Waikiki Trolley visits many Honolulu Attractions including Diamond Head. There are 4 different routes to explore including: Scenic Tour, Historic Tour, Shopping Tour, and the Island Tour. The Green Line will get you there.  Tickets start around $30 for a child day pass, and go up to $75 for an Adult 7 day pass. 

    Purchase your pass now

    By Car

    • Drive through Kapiolani Park (located at the end of Waikiki) headed towards Diamond Head on Kalakaua Blvd.
    • Kalakaua Blvd. turns into Poni Moi Road.
    • Turn Right onto Diamond Head Road and follow it around the crater.
    • Make sure you merge left to stay on Diamond Head Rd, when it intersects with Kahala Ave.
    • After you pass 18th Avenue on the right hand side, make your next left turn towards the Diamond Head Crater.  There is no street name, but look for a large “Diamond Head State Monument” sign that's posted.
    • Follow this road up through a tunnel that leads to the center of the Diamond Head Crater.

    Discount Oahu car rentals offer the best deals and a variety of vehicles to choose from, allowing you to explore the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, at an affordable price.

    Need a good rental car option for the day?  Whether you would like to visit a beach, a popular Oahu attraction, or explore the island for just a day, consider these great, discounted rent-a-car rates with Discount Hawaii Car Rental.  They also have great packages for your entire trip...

    By Oahu Bus

    Simply take the number 23 Oahu Bus from Kuhio Avenue towards Diamond Head, and get off once you reach the Diamond Head State Monument bus stop.

    Ask your bus driver to notify you once you have reached your destination.  You will have to walk up through the crater tunnel to reach the Diamond Head Trail.

    Oahu Map of the Diamond Head Crater

    In the Area

    Diamond Head Beach Park

    Diamond Head Beach Park is a picturesque and serene coastal park in Honolulu, Hawaii, known for its sandy beach, clear turquoise waters, and stunning views of Diamond Head crater.

    Hike from the summit back down to the Pacific Ocean.  Diamond Head Beach Park is a marvel to see and explore…just as much as the summit!

    Most visitors only make it as far as the three, scenic view lookout points located near the Diamond Head Lighthouse, but never down to the beach itself.

    KCC Farmers Market

    The KCC Farmers Market is a vibrant and bustling market in Honolulu, Hawaii, offering a wide variety of fresh local produce, delicious food vendors, and unique artisanal products.

    If you happen to hike on Tuesday or Saturday, consider swinging by the KCC Farmers Market, as its located just across the street from the entrance.  Sometimes referred to as the Diamond Head Farmers Market for its location, is one of the best on the island. 

    You find lots of tempting eats, along with lots of local fruits, flowers, dried fruits and nuts, and creations for sale.

    If you’re lucky, Pig and the Lady (rated as one of the best Oahu restaurants) will be on site.  Don’t pass up on an Ono Pop, which are unique local fruit Popsicles…they are delicious!

    • Location - Kapi'olani Community College, 4303 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu
    • Times - Tue 4 PM to 7 PM, Sat 7:30 AM to 11 AM

    Hau Tree

    The Hau Tree is a charming beachfront restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii, known for its relaxed atmosphere, delicious cuisine, and stunning views of Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean.

    Hike Diamond Head early, and save an appetite for breakfast at the Hau Tree after your trek.  This Waikiki Restaurant is located in the New Otani Hotel at the base of Diamond Head, and is at the edge of San Souci Beach.

    Celebrate your hike with a mimosa and some ono island-style eats, while enjoying the relaxing beachfront open air setting, under the Hau tree.

    Diamond Head Market and Grill

    The Diamond Head Market and Grill Line is a bustling and lively queue where patrons eagerly await the delectable offerings of the popular market and grill, known for its diverse menu and vibrant atmosphere in Honolulu, Hawaii.

    Continue northwest on Diamond Head Rd that turns into Monsarrat Ave, and you will run into the Diamond Head Market & Grill on your way back to Waikiki.  This is a popular spot to grab some food items to go.

    They make some wholesome breakfasts and plate-lunch meals.  Their homemade cornbread and brown fried-rice are a treat!  There are lots of tide pools to explore and gorgeous beach homes to gawk at.

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