This is a very popular hike on the oceanfront just east of Waikiki and in Honolulu. The trail is not very long at 1.6 miles round trip, however the arid exposed conditions and the 560 foot gain of elevation makes this quite a workout. The reward for those reaching the summit is a panoramic view of the beaches of Waikiki and Honolulu town stretching all the way to the greenery of the central Ko'olau Mountains.
At a Glance:
Highlights: Centrally located hike, with stunning mountain top views looking across
Honolulu and the infinite blue ocean reaching toward to the south horizon.
Location: Centrally located above Waikiki
Activity Level: 1.6 miles round trip but moderate to strenuous as there is little shade and 560 ft. of uphill climbing trail.
Equipment: Sturdy shoes, shade hat, sunscreen, water and food.
Warnings!: Plan ahead and make this an early morning or afternoon hike to avoid heat. Avoid climbing off the trail as there are many drop offs and loose rocks.
Reservations: None needed
Cost: Entry fee of $5 per vehicle or $1 per walk-in visitor.
A majority of the trail is a little rough with many switchbacks traversing the steep interior slope of the crater wall along loose natural terrain. The ascent continues up steep stairs and through a lighted 225-foot tunnel. At the summit, you'll see bunkers on the crater rim and a navigational lighthouse built in 1917 along the coast outside the crater. The postcard view of the shoreline of southeastern O'ahu from Koko Head to Wai'anae is incredible.
Where to Start:
From the parking lot on the crater floor, the trail to the summit is 0.8 mile (1.3 km) one way and climbs 560 feet (171 m) in elevation. There is a paved concrete walkway for a distance of 0.2 mile at the start of the hike, but the trail becomes uneven and steep, requiring caution and appropriate footwear. Portions of the trail involve steep stairways - take your time. Rest and hydrate appropriately as you make the ascent.
Diamond Head State Monument. The entrance is off Diamond Head Road between Makapu'u Avenue and 18th Avenue, Honolulu.