Results 1-10of 26 Reviews
August 24, 2012
From journal The Hunt for Pineapple Syrup
October 22, 2007
From journal Oahu - The Gathering Place
May 29, 2007
From journal A Haole Hanging in Oahu...With Locals
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
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!
Salt Lake City, Utah
May 14, 2007
From journal Oahu for Two
January 28, 2005
Bring plenty of water--I can't stress that enough. The temperature here is hotter than at the beach. The path is a dirt trail that is a series of switchbacks up the side of the mountain. At the halfway point, there is a concrete landing with some photo opportunites. It is here that you are fooled into thinking you have almost made it to the top. Then you encounter a steep staircase (74 steps), which leads into a 225-foot-long tunnel. Guess what--a second staircase with 99 steps is now facing you! You have almost made it! You will encounter a spiral staircase, and then you will have made it. You can get a certificate that shows you made it to the top! Gee, did I mention that you have to climb out what I remember to be a hole to actually see the view? Now you have the option to climb one more set of steps to get to the very top observation area. Yes, the views are incredible!
Link to the offical site to download a brochure:
From journal Honolulu 20 years later!
St. Louis, Missouri
August 19, 2003
If you take a bus there, it will drop you off near the tunnel going into the crater. If you drive in to the parking lot, there's a $5 day use/parking fee.
I rated the level of difficulty here as beginner because of the good paths and steps. But there are hundreds of steps near the top that will give your heart a real work out, so keep that in mind. There are also a couple of long dark tunnels. They suggest that you take a flash light with you. We didn't, and got along ok. There are hand rails to guide you through the tunnels. I did take a bottle of water, though, and am very glad I did. It seemed to be more humid here then down in Waikiki.
Once at the top, the views into the crater and towards Waikiki are amazing. If you plan to take pictures, I'd recommend going up there in the morning so you have better lighting.
Give yourself at least 1.5 hours to make the roundtrip hike! The park closed at 6 when we were there in Aug. I'm not sure how they know everyone is down, or if they just lock you in. We didn't wait to find out.
The first two times we went to Oahu, we didn't do this hike. I'm glad I finally got to. It was well worth the effort.
From journal Hectic Honolulu
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...