Hiking the Trail to Hawaii’s Volcanic Diamond Head

by May 5, 2020

What are we doing all the way out here?

We’re going up to the rim!

Diamond Head tl;dr

  • Over 150,000 year old 475 Acre Crater of the Honolulu Volcanic Series
  • 762 ft / 232 m Above Sea Level to the Summit Views
  • Cash Only $5 Parking and $1 Entry (5/4/2020)
  • Wear Comfortable Footwear
  • No Pets

The Earth is a wild and crazy place that I know I’ve taken for granted. Being more of a city boy, I’ve never been one to go look for nature. Nadia on the other hand has always been about getting into as much nature as possible, usually in a manner of some physical labor (much to my chagrin). And with our travels, admittedly, looking for local nature reserves are on our (her) long list of things to do.

A while back, Nadia and I were in Hawaii exploring as much of the island. We’ve been eating everywhere, snorkeling everywhere, and taking in as much sun, sand and fun as humanly possible. It’s literally Nadia’s dream come true, surrounded by nearly every outside summer  activity known to man available for her enjoyment.


You know we were going to head up to the top of Diamond Head!
One of us faster than the other…

Making our way to the top, the trail went from paved, to dirt to stairs, to concrete bunkers and more. While there were some guard rails, I wouldn’t count it being along the entire path. Fortunately given the time of the day, we had some cloud movement providing occasional life giving shade. Accounting for photo taking and the occasional view gazing, we finally reached the top after an hour.

Nadia Diamond Head 395x628 (1) Oahu

There’s a lot of stair steps! I lost count after 150…
But there wasn’t many after that.

Jm Diamond Head 395x628 (13) Oahu


We spent a lot of time waiting at the top for our turn to take photos with the view. For better or for worse, we didn’t go up alone, as there seemed to be quite a number of people also making their way to the top. From the top and from traveling down side paths, we found other vantage points to take photos:

  • The Sea
  • Waikiki Beach
  • More Sea
  • Even Inland Views
  • Neighboring Islands
  • And Even More SEA!

Diamond Head 795X500 (12) Oahu

Nadia Jm Diamond Head oct 2013 story

While going back down was a touch easier, it didn’t make it any less dangerous. I can’t imagine trying to navigate the area in the raining.

What is It

Diamond Head is the crater within view of Honolulu that every tourist seems to want to attempt to hike up. While it’s not necessarily a hard hike, it’s a tricky hike because it’s not a hike I’d do after a long day in the sun. We were on vacation but it being a physical activity isn’t a easy Sunday stroll:

  • Lots of Incline (trail and stairs)
  • Different Terrain (paved, rocky, stairs)
  • Confined Spaces (more stairs, and depending where you go, there’s ladders)

Toward the top, you’ll find the remains of the old military installation that used to operate there in the past.

Diamond Head 795X500 (5) Oahu

Where is It

Diamond Head can be found in the southeastern side of the Island of Oahu, about a 10 minute drive from Waikiki Beach. I’ve heard you could walk from Waikiki, but depending on how fast you go it’ll take you a couple of hours.

While walking was an option, Nadia and I opted to get there faster so as to spend more time seeing, eating and doing other things during our limited time in Oahu.

What to Do There

There’s plenty of outdoor things to do at Diamond Head.

Jm Diamond Head 395x628 (12) Oahu

  • Hike Up Stairs
  • Hike Down Stairs
  • Take in the Views
  • Take Photos, Lots of Photos
  • Take Panoramic Photos, Lots of Panoramic Photos
  • Take Even More Photos

Diamond Head 795X500 (3) Oahu

Go early or go later to avoid the daytime sun during your hike!

More importantly, there are the things you can do coming back your time at Diamond Head. Our personal favorite grabbing a bite to eat at some of the venues just outside the park.

My personal favorite is Pioneer Saloon for their miso butter fish! Don’t let anyone I told you, don’t want the local secret to leak out…

Next Time

The next time I’m in the mood or in the area I’d definitely check it out again:

  • Sunrise Hike at 6 am
  • Sunset Hike at 4:30 pm (last entry?)
  • Maybe the Longer Ocean Facing Hike From Waikiki
  • Check Out Diamond Head Beach Park

lighthouse Diamond Head 795X500 (10) Oahu

Diamond Head


Where’s your favorite Island location to hike?

You're going to eat, you might as well eat something tasty.
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