Diamond Head crater was formed from an explosive volcanic eruption approximately 300,000 years ago. The State of Hawaii constructed a path to the southern rim of the crater. From there you have a 360° of Oahu’s south shore. The “hike” to the top is more like a strenuous walk, as nearly the entire path is paved and protected with railings. Still, the view makes it all worth it!
The trailhead is actually located inside the crater. From Diamond Head Road, follow the signs to Diamond Head State Monument.
The park opens at 6am and parking is very limited at the trailhead. There is another metered parking lot just outside the crater, but that fills up quickly. If you wait too long, you will most likely see a sign that says “Lot Full” blocking the road. You can still park in the neighborhood on Diamond Head Road, or at KCC Farmer’s Market on the weekends if you are willing to risk being cited.
It Gets Hot on the Trail
Most of the trail is exposed, so be sure to wear sunblock, a hat, and protective eyewear. Also be sure to bring water, as there are no water stations until you return to the parking lot.
Up, Up, Up!
The Diamond Head Summit Trail is only about 1.6 miles round trip. But it’s uphill the whole way! The elevation gain is approximately 550 feet.
Diamond Head Pathway
The path up to the summit is paved or lined with lava rock nearly the entire way. There are a few areas where the path becomes dirt, but not for very long. The entire trail has a railing and is ideal for when you just need something to lean on!
Kama'aina Discount for Locals
If you have a Hawaii ID you can park AND hike up to the Diamond Head Summi with local (kama’aina) benefits and do it all for free! Otherwise, both parking and entrance to the trail are paid. Check the Hawaii Division of State Parks website for up to date fee information.
I Wasn't Prepared for the Tunnel
I don’t have claustrophobia, but enclosed spaces do make me uncomfortable. At one point on the trail you will have to walk through a long tunnel. The tunnel is poorly ventilated, but if you’re prepared for it, the experience is worth the discomfort!
Cool Off with Some Shaved Ice
There are several vendors in the parking lot area inside the crater. Cool off after the hike with some fresh fruit juices or Hawaiian shaved ice.