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Honolulu, Hawaii, United States

Oahu's Diamond Head Summit Trail

Peak offers panoramic views of Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii

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    This guide contains photos
 (35 votes, 11 reviews)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 1.6 miles / 2.6 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
 
Overview: The Diamond Head Summit trail hike is likely the most popular hike in Oahu, and for good reason. While fairly steep, this moderate 1.5-mile round-trip hike starts from the middle of the Diamond Head volcano crater and climbs about 560 feet up the side to the top of the rim.

The Diamond Head crater is more than 3,500 feet in diameter and is part of the Hawaiian volcano chain from more than a half million years ago (don't worry, it has been dormant for at least 150,000 years now). The crater is also called “Le'ahi,” which means “brow of the tuna” in Hawaiian. It got the name Diamond Head almost 200 years ago when British sailors believed there were diamonds in the side of the crater. Although none were found, the name stuck.

The trail was built in 1908 as part of the Oahu coastal defense system. The World War II bunkers on top now support antennas used by the government.

The trail starts on a paved path before climbing several steep switchbacks leading to the first set of stairs. After the stairs you will climb through a tunnel and then climb up another set of stairs before reaching the bunkers at the top of the rim. Once on top you can climb up to the top of the bunkers for 360-degree views of the island, with Waikiki not too far away.


Tips: This trail is exposed and there is no water on the trail, so make sure to bring sunscreen, a water bottle and a hat on especially sunny days. There are refreshment stands and restrooms near the parking lot, where the trail begins.
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Hours
Daily 6am-6pm
Last entrance is at 4:30pm; gates lock at 6pm
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Admission
Parking $5
Walk ins $1

Points of Interest

Parking
map

Trail head

After paying the $5 fee, park in the lot and head to the corner farthest from the entrance to begin the hike.

The trail starts along a (fairly) flat paved path. After about five minutes you will reach the end of the paved path and the beginning of the dirt trail.
Viewpoint
map

Lookout

After about 15 minutes from the start you will arrive at the first lookout, where you can also rest from the switchbacks while admiring the eastern half of the island over the far side of the crater.
map

Stairs

Very soon after the lookout you will reach the first set of stairs. After climbing the 74 steps you will arrive at the first tunnel.
map

Tunnel

If you are afraid of the dark you may have a little trouble with the first tunnel, but it shouldn’t be too bad. After climbing more than 200 feet through the tunnel you will arrive at the other side, looking straight up at the second set of stairs.
map

Stairs

The second set of 99 stairs is a bit tougher than the first, but there is a rest area and a lookout spot near the bottom if you want to catch your breath before proceeding.
map

More tunnels and stairs

After a short tunnel and a climb up a three-story metal spiral staircase you will arrive at the fire control station lookout. Another 54 steps brings you to the Diamond Head Observation Station.
Viewpoint
map

Observation Bunker

Finally you can relax; you have reached the top. On a clear day you will see what seems like forever. Look down on busy Waikiki and see people laying on the beach and playing in the water.

The hike down is much easier and should take less than 30 minutes.
Pictures in this guide taken by: argyleist, chris, Vaudesir, whiteeagles, edward1876, alitata, wongo
Reviews
inqueba
my dream place... gonna visit it this august

by inqueba on Jul 17, 2014
hairtransplant
Just Loved the hikes.... had been there twice... will still want to visit at gain

by hairtransplant on Jul 17, 2014
calchip1
Love this hike! History lovers dream. Up at the top, not actually "bunkers" but four story observation post for island artillery. One floor for each gun battery in this area of the island. Go early! Heat and crowds can be bad later in the day. Enjoy!
Visited on May 17, 2014

by calchip1 on May 20, 2014
bluegirl79
I did this hike 4 daysin a row in my first 7days in Oahu. It is a nice little hike. Go early to beat the heat. Definitely wear hiking shoes. I saw people wearing heals and flip flops and I just laughed. Great views of Honolulu, Waiki and East side of Oahu. When I'm back Oahu I will do it again for a nice little workout.
Visited on Jun 09, 2013

by bluegirl79 on Aug 29, 2013
gravit_013
I did this hike yesterday and left from my place in Waikiki. Probably about 7 miles roundtrip. If leaving from Waikiki, hike down Ala Wai Blvd first, follow it straight as it turns into Paki Ave, then take a left on Monsarrat which turns into Diamond Head Rd. Make sure to get out early so you can hit the KCC Farmer's Market on your way their or back to Waikiki (market ends at 11am). Great place to get a pre summit breakfast and then on the way back produce for home. Take plenty of water as you will be out in the sun for most of the hike and it will get hot. It will be windy at the top so hold on to your hat and take one to cover up from the sun. I stopped at Surf and Turf Tacos on the way back for a casual lunch and it was great. Enjoy!
Visited on Jul 27, 2013

by gravit_013 on Jul 28, 2013
Appleguy1991
My wife and I hiked this trail and absolutely loved every minute of it, from the beautiful vistas to the very cool tunnels that we walked thru on our way to the top of the hill.

Once, we reached the top we enjoyed a magnificent view if Honolulu and Waikiki beach! We made our way back down via the internal bunker system that is within the volcano. Two separate stairways, one spiral and other a long straight set of stairs.

Very important, bring drinking water and sunscreen, you're going to need them both.

Good Times!!

Visited on Sep 15, 2012

by Appleguy1991 on May 21, 2013
kbkidd
Very enjoyable hike! Not very demanding if you take the easy route at the top instead of the stairs. The view is awesome and shouldn't be missed!
Visited on Oct 07, 2012

by kbkidd on Oct 16, 2012
gregkthompson
Went on this one when I was stuck on the island for Christmas. I figured there wouldnt be any one there on that day. Boy was I wrong. But this is an awesome hike with excellent views.
Visited on Dec 25, 2010

by gregkthompson on Dec 16, 2011
Wads
Good hike with great views of Waikiki from the top. As recommended by previous reviewers, try to avoid the peak times as there are a couple of bottle necks where you may end up waiting for 5 minutes for the line to get going again. Having said this, a new section of the trail should be opening up in early Sep which will create a loop vice up and down on the same trail. Hopefully someone will review once opened.
Visited on Jul 11, 2011

by Wads on Aug 22, 2011
DeRoche
This was a great walk with lots of nice views. I would recommend going either early in the morning [park opens at 0600] or waiting till about 4pm. The time in between is full of people and harder to navigate.
Visited on Feb 14, 2011

by DeRoche on Feb 19, 2011
chris
The highlight of this hike is the view from the top of the crater looking down at the beach and downtown Honolulu. The hike itself isn't too spectacular (it's paved and there are lots of stairs and 2 tunnels), but the views from the top are pretty great.
Visited on Feb 13, 2009

by chris on Feb 10, 2011

Oahu's Diamond Head Summit Trail Trail Map


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chris
chris
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