The Name Diamondhead was given to the volcanic crater by a group of British sailors in the 1850's.When they first saw the volcanic crater at a great distance, the sparkling calcite crystals in the volcanic lava rock appeared to shine and glimmer in the sunlight. The British sailors incorrectly thought there must be diamonds in the volcanic soil. Diamondhead is a volcano that has been extinct for 145,000 years or so.
The volcanic crater is 3,530 feet in diameter with a 762-foot summit. When the United States annexed Hawaii in the year 1898, harbor defense became a main their (the United States) responsibility. One of their major defense forts, Fort Ruger, occupied what is known as Diamondhead Crater. A huge battery of cannons was located within the volcanic crater providing for complete concealment and protection from the invading enemies.
The observation deck was constructed at the summit in 1911 to provide for target sighting and a multi level under ground complex was built with in the walls of Diamondhead crater as their command post. A 582-foot tunnel was dug into and through the craters wall to provide easier and better access to the Fort. The Diamondhead observation deck and it's underground complex has now been abandoned with the discovery of land and sea radar systems but evidence of the command post is still present along Diamondhead Trail.
Services: Restrooms are available at the bottom of the hike, several vending machines, a lunch wagon serving food, cans to dispose of trash, trail markers, several lookouts on trail, interpretive signs, brochure and species list, drinking water,public picnic area, bus accessible.
The trail to the summit of Diamond Head was built in the year 1908 as part of O'ahu Hawaii's coastal military defense system. The eight tenths of a mile hike from trailhead to the summit is sometimes steep and very strenuous, gaining 566 feet as it ascends from the bottom of the crater floor.
The walk is a look into the geological and military history of Diamond Head Crater. The concrete walkway built to help reduce erosion shifts to a somewhat natural tuff type surface about two tenths of a mile up the trail with numerous switchbacks crossing the steep slope of the crater interior.
The climb continues up very steep stairs and continues through a lighted 230' tunnel to enter into the Fire Control Station completed around 1911. Built on top of the summit, the Fire Control station once directed military artillery fire from batteries located in Fort Ruger and Waikiki outside of Diamond Head crater.
At the summit, you will see some bunkers and a large navigational lighthouse built around 1917. The dramatic postcard like view of the shoreline all the way from Koko Head to Wai'anae is stunning to say the least, and from late December to May 15th may include groups of passing humpback whales.
Diamond Head Hike Oahu
NO PETS ARE ALLOWED IN THE PARK EXCEPT FOR SERVICE ANIMALS.
The trail to hike the summit is moderate except for several very steep and uneven areas. The last one tenth of a mile is steep and narrow stairs. The site is accessible to those with disabilities near the visitor booth. Allow one and a half to two hours for your round trip hike. Wear decent walking/tennis shoes, bring a bottle of water, and wearing a hat and using sunscreen is advised.
Directions to get to Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach hotel area: go east on Kalakaua Blvd. to the intersection at Monsarrat Ave. at the corner of the Honolulu Zoo. Then turn left onto Monsarrat Ave.and proceed about 1 1/8th miles until the road turns into Diamond Head Road. Follow the road for about a quarter of a mile to the Diamond Head access road to the crater. Go right through the tunnel which to the interior of the crater and then drive to the parking area.
Hans Hedemann Surf School
Effective: 1/1 - 12/31/16
Diamond Head Hike & Bike
Bike from the Park Shore Hans Hedemann Surf School around Diamond Head, stopping at the Diamond Head Lookout. Then, bike into the Diamond Head Crater and hike up the lookout. Afterwards, bike back to the Shop to enjoy a sandwich and drink at Lulu’s Surf Club Waikiki Beach. Park entrance and lunch is included.
NOTE: Only adult sized bikes offered (5+) Transportation to Surf School NOT included.
New lighting has been added inside the entire lenght of the summit tunnel and a spiral staircase eases the way, but be aware that the hike to the crater is an upward climb with long steep steps in several places. if you aren't used to getting occasional exercise, be sure and pull out/rest several times before reaching the top.
At the top, you'll find that you will climb out into the open air, the view is really worth it. Take at least 1 bottle of water per person in your group with you to stay hydrated under the sometimes tropical sun. To beat the noon heat and the sometimes large crowds, get up early and make the hike before 7:45 am.
You can view the paid Diamondhead Hike and Bike Tour at the bottom of this page
This works real well if you don't have a car on Oahu
Free hike information
Hours of Operation: 6 am to 6 pm Daily, 365 days a year including holidays.
Last allowed entrance to hike the trail is 4:30 p.m. Gates are locked at 6:00 p.m. daily and all visitors must leave the park by this time.
Entrance Fee: $5.00 per carload or $1.00 per person for pedestrians. Cash Only!!! Commercial vehicles fees: $10.00 cars or vans, $20 for mini-buses, $40 for commerical buses
Diamond Head has a unique profile and can be seen from miles away. Diamond head Crater sits on the eastern edge of Waikiki. Diamondhead is one of Hawaii's world renouned landmarks and is easily recognizable from miles away. It's historic hiking trail, unsurpassed coastaline views, and rich military history make it a must due hike while visiting the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Diamond Head is a State Monument and encompasses 477 acres of land that includes the interior and outer slopes of the extinct volcanic crater.
Diamond Head crater was formed around 310,000 years ago during an explosive volcanic eruption that sent fine particles and ash miles into in the air. When the ash and fine particles settled, they melted together into a solid rock that is known as tuff, creating the saucer shaped crater which is visible from the trail in Diamond Head park. Almost all of the vegetation and birds were introduced in around 1880 to 1920.