If you’re visiting Oahu, Diamond Head is one of the places you should visit. It offers a unique experience as you walk through a 300,000 year-old crater and see beautiful panoramic views of the ocean and the lush valleys that line Oahu from above it all. To enjoy the majestic views, you’ll have to hike the Diamond Head (Le’ahi) Summit Trail which is about 1.6 miles roundtrip. The Diamond Head hike is less than a mile each way (you go back and forth on the same trail) and could be considered a moderate hike because while it’s short, there’s elevation involved.
Diamond Head is one of the most popular destinations on Oahu, with thousands of people visiting daily. The traffic at Diamond Head means that the hiking trail, as well as the parking at the state park can fill up. If you’re able to do the Diamond Head hike in the morning, you might want to arrive at 6 AM (park open) while it’s cooler and less busy. While many already do this, it will still mean encountering less people than the rest of the day. You’ll also want to make sure that you get to the park with sufficient time to do the hike because there’s a cutoff when they allow people in (since they wouldn’t finish the hike before the park closing). For more information on the fees, hours and parking, please visit our Diamond Head State Monument page to learn more before your Diamond Head hike.
Be sure to bring your sunscreen, as well as water since it gets hot on the Diamond Head hike. If you bring bottled water, please dispose of your bottles in a garbage can. While that seems like it should go without saying, the majority of the litter consists of water bottles or park receipts. There are garbage cans near the start and end of the Diamond Head Summit Trail (with much of the littering occurring between these two places). The only water source and bathroom are at the start of the trail, so ensure that you’re ready to go before starting the Diamond Head hike.
Unfortunately, the Diamond Hike isn’t for everybody. Due to the elevation and the fact that you’re hiking through a crater there are certain things to be aware of. The hike is definitely not ADA accessible, as the last leg near the summit consists of 99 steps with rusty railing. Also, while there’s a trail it’s uneven due to the ground which means that sturdy shoes should be worn – preferably tennis or hiking shoes.
If you were to hike straight up, and then down the trail, you might be able to do it in about 30 minutes each way (with the time to the summit longer due to the steep incline). However, it will most likely take you longer due to the traffic with other visitors, as well as the time that you’ll want to spend taking pictures and enjoying the views.