Diamond Head Crater in Hawaii

Experience The Whole Of Waikiki From Diamond Head Crater in Hawaii

Trust me when I say this: the Diamond Head Crater is a popular destination and the most sought-after place for tourists visiting Hawaii.

You’ll find a beautiful halo-shaped crater when you visit this place. Seen easily from the Waikiki beach and situated in the middle of an attractive and faraway place, you’ll find the Diamond Crater – a unique and extraordinary natural wonder—a perfect destination for people who love adventures and nature.

This sleeping volcano crater is a big natural landmark in Honolulu covered with lush mountain all around. Visitors from outside are mostly attracted to it due to its rich history and stunning views of the coast. 

Although it might be a bit of a task to hike to the top with some steep steps, the views here are the best on the whole island. 

If you’re not someone who enjoys walking or easily gets tired, there are other options to reach the peak as well. Scooters are the best option here. You can easily ride them and enjoy the view without getting tired.

Now, let’s dive into learning more about the place!

A Brief History

The name you are familiar with right now is not the one the locals gave. British sailors gave the English name Diamond Head in the 19th century.

They named it this because of the calcite crystals on the nearby beach which seemed to look like diamonds when they first has an encounter with it. The volcano tells a story of the island’s volcanic beginnings, that formed a volcanic tuff cone nearly 300,000 years ago.

It is a unique kind of volcano on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, which was earlier used as a strategic military lookout. The Hawaii residents call it Lēʻahi.

The Hawaiian name probably comes from “lae” (which means browridge or promontory) and “ʻahi” (which means tuna) because the shape of the ridge looks like a tuna’s dorsal fin. 

Now For Some Geological Info

Leahi, or Diamond Head Crater, is an iconic landmark and holds historical significance for Native Hawaiians. This also as the location of a luakini heiau, a ceremonial structure dedicated to the war god Ku, used for worship and human sacrifice.

The trail presents a climb of 560 feet in elevation and was initially built in 1908 as part of Oahu’s coastal defense system. The crater is spread over 450 acres in area comprising both its outer slopes and interior.

This moderately challenging walk allows hikers to explore the geologically and historically important crater. It includes steep stairs and a 225-foot lighted tunnel leading to bunkers on the crater rim and a navigation lighthouse below, constructed in 1917.

Why Is It So Famous?

The main highlight of Diamond Head is the famous hike to its summit, offering a journey through both time and terrain. As you climb, you’ll be treated to panoramic views that unveil the expansive landscapes from Honolulu to Waikiki, extending all the way to the vast Pacific Ocean.

Honolulu to Waikiki,

The trek to the summit is moderately challenging but rewarding. Once at the top, you’ll find the historic Fire Control Station standing proudly—a silent witness to the island’s military history. 

This stunning viewpoint is perfect for capturing the beauty of Oahu, making the hike a must-do for both adventure seekers and photography enthusiasts.

 Views You’ll Find At The Summit

Hiking Diamond Head is something that has become an everyday activity many visitors and locals prefer doing. When you reach the lookout point at the crater’s highest point, you can gaze down at Waikiki and across Honolulu to the Waianae Mountains.

On clear days, you get a wide view stretching from the Koolau Mountains, dividing Oahu, to Molokai, Lanai, and Maui on the eastern horizon. If you are visiting the place in winters, you might catch a glimpse of the beautiful humpback whales.

There’s something else also that you’ll find when you head down after the hike. Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park is close to Diamond Head Lighthouse on Diamond Head Road, and some people call it Diamond Head Beach Park.

Hiking Diamond Head

When you stroll down the smooth path, you can notice the tall cliffs by the sea and the small beach. Although it’s not suitable for swimming because of the rocks, it’s a great spot for surfers who want to ride waves in a quieter place.

How To Reach The Top?

You can reach the top by walking or by scooter. If you’ve chosen to hike by foot, wear comfortable shoes. The trail typically takes about two hours to complete but might take more time if you stop to take in the beautiful view on the way. 

Keep your sunscreen and hat handy because the scorching sun might easily give you sunburn. Bring along with your snacks or a small lunch, as there are no concession stands along the hike.

How To Reach The Top

Another exhilarating way to experience Diamond Crater is by embarking on a scooter adventure. The freedom of riding a scooter through the vast expanse of the crater allows visitors to cover more ground and explore remote corners that may be inaccessible on foot. 

Scooters offer an efficient and thrilling mode of transportation, blending the thrill of speed with the freedom to stop and take in breathtaking views at a moment’s notice.

We allow out of state visitors to cruise along well-maintained trails and venture into the heart of this natural wonder to create a memorable experience beyond the conventional tourist trail.

Why Is It Fun Riding A Scooter Along The Trail?

Diamond Crater is a national natural landmark boasting a network of scenic routes that wind through its diverse landscapes. From the elevated plateaus offering panoramic views to the narrow canyons with walls that seem to touch the sky, each route promises a unique and captivating journey. 

Riding a scooter along these routes not only adds an element of excitement but also allows for a more intimate connection with the surroundings.

Fun Riding A Scooter

One particularly popular route takes riders through the remnants of the diamond mining operations, where abandoned structures and rusting machinery tell the tale of a bygone era. 

Another route meanders through a labyrinth of rock formations, offering a surreal and almost alien landscape that is sure to leave riders in awe.

Starting The Adventure at Diamond Head

The hike to the crater begins between Makappu Avenue and 18th Avenue, Honolulu, which also serves as a parking lot for the place.

The journey starts from inside the Diamond Head State Monument. The entry fee to enter the monument for tourists is $5 per person, which must be paid through a credit card only. As a local Hawaiian resident, you can sign up for the hike anytime for free.

Adventure at Diamond Head

However, non-resident reservations should be made 30 days prior. If bringing a non-commercial vehicle, the entrance fee is $10 per non-resident vehicle. In case of commercial ones, the charges may vary depending on the size of the vehice.

The timings of the trail are from 6 AM to 4 PM. Finally, the gates close at 6 PM.

Tips To Enjoy The Trail

Enjoy The Trail

To enjoy the hike, you should make sure to keep a few things in mind:

  • First of all, wear comfy hiking shoes.
  • Bring water with you in good amount. 
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen to stay safe from the sun.
  • Remember to check the time at the visitor center to get the latest info on educational programs and guided tours.
  • Stick to the marked trail as the terrain is dry and with loose rocks and soil.
  • Always check the forecast before you go.
  • In case you are on scooters, wear helmets and proper protective gear.
  • Familiarize yourself with the designated scooter trails. 
  • Follow the regulations put in place to preserve the natural integrity of the area.
  • Bringing pets is strictly prohibited (service animals are welcome).

Get Ready For An Exciting Adventure!

Diamond Crater is a great place showcasing Hawaii’s incredible scenic beauty. Whether by walking or exploring this natural wonder on a scooter, either way, it adds an extra layer of excitement and freedom, allowing visitors to forge a more intimate connection with the captivating landscapes. From the remnants of diamond mining to the diverse flora and fauna, Diamond Crater offers an unforgettable experience for those willing to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. So, rev up your scooter, embrace the wind, and get ready to discover the unparalleled beauty of Diamond Crater.

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