There are tons of things to do on Oahu when visiting Hawaii. If you’re just on a vacation then you may need to pick and choose which sights to see, depending on the length of your stay. If you’re moving to Oahu then you’ll have plenty of time to do everything on the Island. You may still need some help at the beginning to determine what is actually worth your time.
I’ve been on Oahu since January 2014 and I still marvel at how lucky I am to be living in this beautiful State, on this beautiful Island. I’m really happy about it too!
History of Diamond Head State Monument
The monument and the mountain lay on the eastern edge of Waikiki and dominates part of the landscape when you’re facing away from the beautiful Waikiki Beaches. 300,000 years ago, Diamond Head was formed by a single volcanic explosion that threw smoke, dirt and ash into the air. Once it all settled it formed a rock or stone called tuff.
Quick Fact and Definitions:
Diamond Head is called “Le’Ahi” in the native Hawaiian language which means “brow of the tuna”.
Tuff: a light, porous rock formed by consolidation of volcanic ash.
The trail on Diamond Head which people now hike was built as part of the U.S. Army’s Coastal Artillery Defense System in 1908. Later it was used a Fire Control Station. The view from the top of Diamond Head is perfect for spotting potentially threatening ships on the ocean’s horizon. No shells were ever fired from Diamond Head, though.
Visiting and Hiking Diamond Head State Monument
If you’re on Waikiki, either staying there or just hanging out, then you might be tricked into thinking that you can actually walk to Diamond Head, enter the park and start hiking. Don’t get fooled. While Diamond Head is only a five minute drive east of Waikiki, it’s further away and more difficult to get to on foot. The entrance to the park and the trail is on the opposite side of the crater from Waikiki.
There is actually public transportation that will get you to Diamond Head if you’re without your own car or a rental.
If you walk into Diamond Head State Monument then it will $1 per person. Driving in cost $5 per car. Determining on the amount of people in your party then it may be cheaper to either walk or drive.
What time Should You Hike Diamond Head?
The park opens at 6:00am and closes its gates at 6:00pm while the last hiker is allowed to enter the trail at 4:30pm. My advice is to get to the park and start your hike early for two reasons:
- Diamond Head is a very popular tourist attraction so there earlier you arrive then the less of a crowd there will be. My family and I arrived at 7:30am and there was already a pretty large crowd in the parking area and on the trail.
- The other reason is that the hike can get hot! There is very little shade and/or cover on the trail. The earlier you hike then the cooler the weather will be while the sun is not yet directly overhead.
What’s the Hiking Trail on Diamond Head Like?
- Open and sunny so it gets hot
- Steep in spots with switch back and steps
- Round trip the hike is 1.5 miles
- Crowds can make the trail narrow as there is two-way traffic constantly on the hike
- Hiking Tips for Diamond Head
- Bring and wear sunscreen and a hat with a wide brim.
- Allow about one and a half hours for the hike, longer if you’re going with older and younger people.
- There are benches and sitting areas on the way. Not too many, but if you get tired then you can rest.
- Stay on the trail. This isn’t an adventurer’s trail and you’re liable to get kicked of the trail.
- Wear the proper walking or hiking footwear. On the day I went I saw people in flip-flops and heels.
- Pack a light backpack with water and “energy” food. Cereal bars, trail mix, etc.
The Summit at Diamond Head is the Jewel of the Hike
You can see far away on Oahu in a lot of different directions. The view of valley in one direction and of Waikiki in the other is awesome. Also, you may be able to see humpback whales in Pacific from your standpoint if you hike between December and March.