Results 1-10of 26 Reviews
Los Angeles, California
September 24, 2004
Okay, now let's get to the skinny.
Diamondhead is a big hill of dirt.
Yeah, yeah, it's a big sunken-in volcanic crater. But, honestly, it feels like you're hiking in L.A. There's almost nothing green on the hike - you're exposed to the sun almost the whole way. And you have to fight every tourist, their wife, and five kids to get to the top. And, once you're there to see the panoramic views of Waikiki and the southeast of Oahu, you're there alone with your thoughts and 100 other people snapping pictures, fighting for vantage points, and trying to keep their kids from jumping down.
If you give in to your inner tour guide and decide to do this hike, make sure you do it early in the morning when the crowds are thin and the sun is low. If you're the first one there and you race up to the top, then I would imagine the view all to yourself could be a highlight of the trip. But save yourself the disappointment, and take one of the million other gorgeous and less-crowded hikes on Oahu.
From journal Trying Not to Be Such a Tourist in Honolulu
by Truly Malin
New York, New York
November 12, 2001
It was admittedly kind of neat. Diamond Head is essentially a huge hollowed out volcanic "tuff cone", built by the US army as part of their coastal artillery defense system. You have to see the cross-section drawing in the brochure to believe it. The entire inside of the hill is a labyrinth of hallways, artillery batteries, and observation posts. An impressive piece of work considering that construction was completed before 1911!
At the very top of the grueling, steep 0.8 mile hike is an observation tower, which commands impressive 360 degree views, of the harbor, the ocean, and the fungus-like sprawl of buildings that is Honolulu. We were warned to leave early, because it gets hot. Does it ever. At 8am on a September morning we were sweating like pigs and inhaling our water bottles. I don't know what it is about volcanic rock and moist, dark, concrete tunnels, but it makes a girl sweat. I mean glow. Right. Bring plenty of water if you go, and if you're at all frightened of the dark or dark tunnels, bring a flashlight, although you will only be in total darkness for a few seconds without one.
Bird lovers should bring their binoculars, because the grounds of Diamond Head State Monument are crawling with Golden Plovers, Brazilian Cardinals, doves, and countless other specimens. There are helpful signs at the entrance with a photo and description of each species, so you can easily identify which ones you saw.
The gate to Diamond Head Road is locked from 6pm to 6am daily. That should give you an idea of how early you can start your hike (or jog, if you're looking for a fantastic workout!)
Getting there: from Waikiki, take Kalakaua Avenue East. It merges with Diamond Head Road just outside of town. Make a left on Monsarrat Avenue. From there you can follow signs to the parking area. Allow an hour to an hour and a half for the hike, depending on your fitness level and how many photos you plan to take at the top! Entrance $1 pp.
From journal Honolulu: Where Don Ho is King
October 20, 2006
From journal Highlights of Oahu, Hawaii
San jose, California
September 1, 2006
From journal Hawaii
January 7, 2006
Diamond Head State Monument, Hawaii's most famous landmark, got its name from early sailors of the late 1700s or early 1800s who mistakenly thought that the glistening calcite crystals inside the tuff rocks were diamonds.
This military property is opened to the public to enjoy the scenic view. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours for this hike. Bring a bottle of water, wear hiking boots or appropriate footwear, and do the hike either very early or in the late afternoon, especially on an overcast day, as it gets hot and there's no shade to rest along the trail.
Use the restroom at the comfort station at the trailhead before you start your ascent, as that's the only one available.
From the comfort station there is a paved trail, an uneven dirt trail, a landing (concrete lookout for a rest stop; I advise that you take a rest), a concrete stairway with 74 steps, a narrow 225-foot-long tunnel, another stairway with 99 steps, a tunnel leading to the lowest level of the Fire Control Station of Ft. DeRussy, a spiral staircase ascending four levels of the Fire Control Station, and an exit through to the exterior. Ascend a metal stairway to reach the upper most level of the Fire Control Station and Observation Station.
Entrance fee is $1 for trail maintenance. Keep track of the time, as the Tunnel Gate locks up at 6pm. Do not do this if your health isn't reasonably good or you're out of shape.
Daily 6am-6pm, Bus nos. 22 or 58
From journal HNL
Bayside, New York
May 30, 2003
Though there are folks who visit the crater, we had no such ambitions. We kept stopping along the road, and taking photos of some amazing blue ocean, and riotous flower beds found all along the slopes of the road. There is some interesting history to this, however, and for those who want to venture inside the crater, you will be able to get the same views as the US defenders of the then newly annexed state did in the early 20th century. They had apparently built an observation post inside the crater, together with cannons which would be used to defend against unsuspecting attackers. An approximate two-mile trail will lead you to the crater, where you can be admitted for $1. However, if you are more than just merely curious, they have in-depth (no pun intended here) tours for about $20 that start as early in the morning as 6am.
Diamond Head is also famous for having fostered the California born sport of windsurfing. Attaching sails to their surfboards, people took to the waves to test their prowess with their new gear. As the sport became popular and produced some champions, Diamond Head was eventually abandoned for "greener" waters on the famous "North Shore" of Oahu.
Of some historical significance is the Diamond Head Lighthouse, which sits on the south side of the crater. It is the second oldest tower in Hawaii, built in 1899. In 1917, it was rebuilt and reinforced with concrete; a flashing light replaced the constant light that was in use. Today, it’s an important warning device to seagoing vessels against the rugged reefs of Waikiki; in 1980, it joined other structures in the National Register of Historic Places.
Wear a hat, comfortable walking shoes, and bring lots of water!
From journal Hawaii is not just for Honeymooners!
Walkertown, North Carolina
July 3, 2002
The military used this as a lookout/radar installation during WWII, so this is not exactly a natural setting. Most of the trail is paved, with an uphill grade. Then, there are a BUNCH of stairs, that are fairly steep, to get up to the "pillbox" on the top of Diamondhead. The stairs are the only strenuous part of the hike, and this is why I rated it intermediate. Those (like me) who are out of shape and have bad knees won't enjoy the stairs, but the view from the top is fabulous.
At the top of the stairs, you have to go through a short tunnel, which is big enough to walk upright in, but it is dark. If you didn't bring a flashlight, you'll be feeling your way around until somebody else comes by with a light.
After the tunnel, you are at the "pillbox" which was a concrete reinforced bunker near the top, used by the military. This is not the best spot. If you can climb through the pillbox (extremely large or the elderly will probably have difficulty here), then you can go a little higher up and get some really nice views. Unfortunately, when we were there, there was a lot of litter, as the trash cans had not been emptied in who knows how long.
Bring some water (it gets hot) and a flashlight. You'll only need the flashlight for a little ways, and could probably get by without it, but it does help. Of course, good walking shoes are a must.
Remember, it gets crowded in the afternoons, so it's best to go in the morning.
From journal Just another day in Paradis
February 18, 2008
From journal Oahu, Hawaii: The Way to Make Memories Happen...
by Phil P
Bronx, New York
August 13, 2007
From journal Hawaii in Style
May 29, 2007
From journal A Haole Hanging in Oahu...With Locals