Follow the trail to the top of Honolulu’s extinct volcano and discover one of the most breathtaking panoramas in the whole of Hawaii.
Offering sweeping views of the spectacular Honolulu skyline, the rugged peaks of Oahu island and the vast Pacific Ocean, the Diamond Head crater is one of the must-see natural wonders of Hawaii. The 1.1-kilometre hike to the crater’s edge 232 meters above sea level is the highlight of any visit.
The volcanic crater, or “tuff cone”, was formed around 150,000 years ago and is known locally as Le’ahi, or “brow of the tuna”, for its distinctive shape. The trail winds upwards across grassy slopes, along an unpaved path and over lava fields to the observation platform at the summit, with handrails and information signs to guide you along the way. Waiting for you at the end of your climb are some of the finest views in Hawaii, with Waikiki Beach and Kapiolani Park at your feet and the blue ocean stretching to the far horizon, so be sure to remember your camera to capture the moment! If you’re visiting in winter you might be lucky enough to spot breaching humpback whales on their migration route.
Enjoy the refreshing sea breezes before heading back down to the Diamond Head State Monument area for another kind of refreshment; here you’ll find plenty of picnic tables and benches to spread out your packed lunch, or head to nearby Monsarrat Avenue, just opposite the entrance to the park, and take your pick from a wide variety of eateries. On Saturday mornings you can also stock up on fresh seasonal produce and delicious snacks from the weekly farmers market, which brings a dash of local colour to the site.
The Diamond Head trail begins just beyond the entrance to the State Monument and is open from early morning to late afternoon. A small charge applies. Sensible walking shoes are advised for the climb to the top, which takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete. Hikers are also recommended to bring water, a torch (as the trail includes some tunnels) and sun protection.