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Diamond Head Trail

Diamond Head Trail is one of the most rewarding Oahu hikes, offering amazing 360-degree views when you reach the top.  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.  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!

Diamond Head

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

A Little Diamond Head History

Diamond Head

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”.

Diamond Head Map

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.

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 tunnel that will bring you into the center of the crater, where you will start your 560 foot ascent.

Consider getting a guided hiking tour, including transportation from your hotel, through purchasing a discounted GO Oahu Card!

Oahu Go Card

The Diamond Head Trail Hike

New pedestrian tunnel underway

Construction for a new pedestrian tunnel has been approved for the Kapahulu side of the crater, which will make it easier to access from Waikiki.  Currently the only entrance and exit is through a car tunnel on the Kahala side.  The new tunnel is expected to be completed by 2021.

Diamond Head View

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.

You will find the beginning of the Diamond Head trail on the west side of the crater, where you start your ascent up a switchback dirt pathway.

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

Diamond Head Steps

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.

Diamond Head Stairs

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.

Diamond Head Lighthouse
Diamond Head Stairs

The next section of this Diamond Head hike involves narrow stairs –lots of stairs!  99 steps will lead you straight up to a dimly lit 200-foot long tunnel that will lead you out to the Pacific Ocean side. 

Once you arrive at the end of the tunnel, you will have a chance to purchase a Certificate of Achievement for doing the Diamond Head hike for a small donation of $2.00!

Next…you get to climb out of the “bunker” and continue up more stairs until you finally reach the top viewing platform.

Diamond Head Tunnel

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.

Diamond Head Top View

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!

Getting There

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 and get a guided hiking tour, including transportation from your hotel, through purchasing a discounted GO Oahu Card!

Oahu Go Card

Waikiki Trolley


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 $9 for a child day pass, and go up to $25 - $49 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 the 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 large “Diamond Head State Monument” sign that is posted.
  • Follow this road up through a tunnel that leads to the center of the Diamond Head Crater.

By Oahu Bus

Simply take the number 23 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.

Entrance Fee

  • There is a small entrance fee for parking and visitors.
  • $5 per car, $10 plus for commercial vehicles
  • $1 per visitor
  • Park Hours
  • 6am to 6pm everyday

Trail entrance closes at 4:30pm

Facilities at the base of the crater

Diamond Head Food Truck
  • Restrooms
  • Food lunch wagon
  • Vending machines
  • Water fountains
  • Picnic areas
  • History and surrounding area signs 

  • Oahu Map of the Diamond Head Crater

    Diamond Head Trail Hiking Tips

    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 4:30pm.  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.

    In the Area

    Hau Tree

    Hau Tree

    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

    Diamond Head Market and Grill

    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!

    Diamond Head Beach Park

    Diamond Head Beach Park

    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.

    There are lots of tide pools to explore and gorgeous beach homes to gawk at.

    Aloha & Enjoy!!

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