Diamond Head Day Hike!

On my fifth day in Honolulu, on a Monday morning no less, I started the day hiking the crater of Diamond Head. It is a very common must-do for tourists because of its proximity to Waikiki and that it’s a short trek for such an amazing view.

From Waikiki I took Bus #23 plying the Hawaii Kai – Sea Life Park route. I went down at the 18th Avenue + Diamond Head Road stop after about 20 minutes and right there at the opposite end of the crosswalk was the Diamond Head entrance.

diamond head entrance

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This is not yet the official entrance to Diamond Head. The concrete trail has a very clear path that even if you arrive by foot, you won’t be lost. It is common for cars or shuttles/buses to pass you by. After a semi-steep walk of about 5 minutes, you will reach the Kahala lookout.

The next two photos are views from the Kahala Lookout. You can continue walking but for me who did not have any warmup before this, the lookout was a perfect excuse to catch my breath (tipong 5 minutes semi-uphill pa lang yun ha; way to go, Juday).

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When you are ready to begin your Diamond Head trek, you’ll see this tunnel leading further to the main entrance. Corregidor feels!

going to the main entrance - diamond head

After the tunnel, there’s the small ticket station where you can pay the entrance fee of $1. It’s also where a few foods stalls, souvenir shops, restrooms, and visitor’s center are.

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Beautiful. This is at the foot of the trail. If you look closely you can make out the ridges at the top. That’s the actual trail. It’s not that high.

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One more shot about 10 minutes into hiking. You can see more clearly the trail at the top.

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Now this is something very noticeable when you reach a certain altitude in Diamond Head: STAIRS! Lots of them!

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Yup, more stairs! But this is just one way, there’s a separate way going down.

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Did I mention stairs??? This one is the last one to reach the “summit”. There’s an alternate trail at the side which was what I took going up. I took this stairs going down.

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Almost there!

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Hello, Waikiki!

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A famous landscape shot from the crater.

My verdict of Diamond Head? It is relatively easy and if you have time to spare, give it a try! The bus ride from Waikiki took 20 minutes, the entire trek from the entry point to the summit/top of the crater took me 45 minutes, photo/video-taking included. Take note that I was not fast. As I said I barely had physical preparation and was really walking slowly on my way up. Gee, there were kids and elderly people (mostly Japanese) who were overtaking me!

At the visitor’s center, you can avail the audio tour if you wish. I saw there were docents, too. But the hike’s relatively easy to follow and can be absolutely explored alone.

Aside from the view, there’s a structure which used to be the fire control station where you can explore for free. It involved crouching to fit and walk inside so I passed on it. There’s also an option to have a personalized certificate made stating you made it on top of Diamond Head. I heard it was $12 each.

For the essentials, as common short dayhikes require, have your sunblock and hydration ready. Wear comfortable shoes. It can be windy at the top so hold on to articles of clothing that could be easily swept away like caps/hats and shawls. It may be best to go there when it opens at 6 a.m. so it won’t be too harsh on the skin. I got there a little after 11 a.m. so it’s really very hot already. Or maybe go in the afternoon? Although the park accepts visitors until 6 p.m., permission to hike ends at 4:30 p.m. so plan your visit accordingly.

It took me a shorter time going down mainly because I wasn’t taking photos anymore. Overall, I enjoyed that morning, and if ever I would travel with someone who has not been there, I’d be glad to accompany him or her. After Diamond Head though, I wish to visit other volcanic craters in Oahu like Koko Head and the Punchbowl Crater, and of course the infamous Ha’iku Stairs or Stairway to Heaven!

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