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Need to know


Diamond Head


Diamond Head is one of the most popular hikes in Hawaii and everyone’s here for the sweeping views in all directions from the top — Honolulu to your right, Koko Head Crater to your left, and endless Pacific Ocean.

This is the perfect introductory hike to Oahu. There are some steep, more strenuous parts, but overall it’s a pretty laid back, well maintained trail. It’s easy to get to, easy to navigate, won’t take up your whole day, and it’s close to Waikiki. The only catch is that with its popularity comes big crowds for most of the day, so try to get there as early as possible to avoid the rush (and the heat). 

Diamond Head is a dormant volcano. As you hike up higher and higher, you’ll have a good view of the crater that was formed about 300,000 years ago during a single, explosive eruption. You’ll see remnants of how the military used it to defend Oahu’s southern shores during WW2 as you walk through dimly lit underground tunnels and bunkers. It became a National Natural Landmark in 1968. 

Diamond Head is one of the most recognized landmarks in Oahu, and by far, one of the most scenic hikes. 

Covid Specific

  • Wear a mask. It’s required at all times.

  • Maintain social distancing.


Hawaii.gove Diamond Head State Monument Page


The entrance is off Diamond Head Road between Makapu’u Avenue and 18th Avenue, Honolulu.

Contact Info

Diamond Head Visitor Center



  • Mon + Tues, Thurs - Sun  ▭  6am - 4pm (Gates close at 6pm)

  • Wed  ▭  CLOSED

  • *Christmas + New Years ▭ CLOSED


Diamond Head Collection


Entrance Fee

  • Hawaii Residents: Free with HI ID

  • Non-Hawaii Residents: $5

  • Children (3 and under): Free

Parking Fee

  • Hawaii Residents: Free with HI ID

  • Non Residents: $10 / non commercial vehicle

*Credit card only



1.6 mi (round trip)

560 ft elevation gain

Time Estimate

1.5 - 2 hours


  • Diamond Head Market and Grill — 3 min drive (15 min walk)

  • Diamond Head Beach Park — 3 min drive

  • Cowcow’s Tea — 5 min drive

  • E.A.R.L. — 7 min drive

  • Sans Souci Beach — 8 min drive

  • Waikiki — 10 min drive

Sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu from the top of a dormant volcano. One of the most popular hikes in Hawaii and very close to Waikiki.

Diamond Head


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Good to know





  • Water Bottle: This hike isn’t too strenuous but there are some steep inclines and it gets pretty hot in the afternoon. Make sure you’ve got at least one bottle per person.

  • Sunscreen and a Hat: There’s not much shade.

  • Good walking shoes or sneakers.



  • Visitor Center with souvenirs and restrooms.

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  • There are restrooms at the Visitors Center, but not along the trail, so take advantage before you start your hike.

  • Get there right when they open (or even a little before) if you want to avoid the crowds and the sun. Otherwise, you may have a lot of people blocking your view at the top and feel a little cramped on the hike. It also gets really hot as the day goes on.

  • There’s not much shade and it gets hot once the sun comes out. Make sure you’ve got sunscreen, a hat, and lots of water. 

  • Getting there: From Waikiki, it’s about a 5 min drive. You can also catch the Bus from Kuhio Ave + Liluokalani Ave to Diamond Head State Monument. (Bus #2). It’s also a short trip by Uber or Lyft.

  • There are limited parking spaces. To avoid the busiest times, try getting there by 8am or after 11 (but FYI that it’ll get hot as the day goes on).

  • If you’re lucky, the Honolulu Pineapple Co food truck will be parked at the bottom and you can cool off with a Dole Whip after your hike.  

  • You can do an official self-guided audio tour by a Park Ranger for $4. It comes with a free souvenir map and the tour focuses on the history, legends, culture, geography, plant & animal life, music and scenery of the Diamond Head State Monument. Learn how ancient Hawaiians considered Diamond Head a sacred location and how the military used it for a first line of defense during WW2. It also comes with an “I Hiked Diamond Head” certificate. (FYI: This doesn’t include your admission or parking fees).

  • There are picnic tables scattered along the hike if you need to take a little rest. 

  • What to expect: The trail is well maintained. The first 0.2 miles is along a paved pathway. A lot of the trail from there is a natural tuff (volcanic rock) surface. It’s a little uneven at times, so wear some good walking shoes. There are a series of switchbacks leading to the first set of steep stairs. Then you pass through a 225 ft tunnel. At the end, you can either go left or right. Going right takes you up 99 more stairs, then a spiral staircase to the Fire Control Station built in 1908 and then a few more steps to the summit. Go left and you’ll take a shorter outdoor staircase to the summit. From there, you’ll see old military bunkers and a lighthouse that was built in 1917. Not to mention the stunning 360° view. 

  • In the winter, you may spot humpback whales from the summit. 

  • Ditch the flip flops. Most of the terrain is fairly uneven. You’ll be a lot happier with good walking shoes.

  • The summit is not very large and gets very crowded during busy times, so either come right when they open or prepare to be patient waiting for your turn to get a good photo. 

  • If you plan to hike on Saturday morning, you can swing by the KCC Farmer’s Market afterwards. It’s just a 5 minute walk. 



  • Entry and Parking fees are credit card only.

  • The last entrance to hike the trail is at 4pm. The gates are locked at 6pm and you’ve got to be out of the park by then. 

  • Diamond Head is closed on Wednesdays.

  • There are a total of 173 stairs.  

  • There are handrails along the whole trail.

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  • Age 3 and under are free.

  • Not stroller friendly.

  • Kids can certainly do the hike, but it does get pretty strenuous at the end and you might find yourself carrying them the last bit of the way up and back down. You may want to skip it if your kids aren’t used to walking a lot.

  • There are benches along the way in case the kiddos need a break. 



  • No Dogs allowed. Service pets only.



  • Hawaiians named it Leʻahi, which means “brow of the tuna” in Hawaiian because the crater looked like an ahi head. You’ll also hear it referred to as Diamond Head Crater, Diamond Head State Park, and Diamond Head State Monument.

  • It was named Diamond Head in 1825 when British sailors saw calcite crystals sparkling in the sun and thought they’d found diamonds. They named it Diamond Hill, but it was later changed to Diamond Head. 

  • In 1908, the US Army built bunkers, observation points and pillboxes with cannons for their coastal defense system. 

  • The trail to the summit was built in 1908 as part of Oahu’s coastal defense system. In 1911, they finished the Fire Control Station at the summit to direct artillery fire from batteries in Waikiki and Fort Ruger outside Diamond Head crater. (No one ever fired from the station in war.)

  • 3000 people visit a day. There can be 1 million visitors in a year. 

  • It’s actually a volcanic tuff cone. That’s when the lava flowed into the Pacific Ocean, resulting in a steam explosion that sent ash and fine particles flying up into the air and settled on the ground where it hardened into what is now Diamond Head. 

  • Diamond Head, Koko Head Crater, and Punchbowl Crater were formed by a series of eruptions that probably happened over just a few days. 

  • There’s a Hawaiian legend about Pele, goddess of fire, lightning, wind, dance and volcanoes. Story goes that she sailed from Tahiti looking for a home and found Hawaii. She was attacked by her sister in Kaui and escaped to Oahu where she dug fire pits, including Diamond Head.

  • Diamond Head covers 475 acres of land.

  • Diamond Head was closed for 9 months during the pandemic and quietly reopened on Dec 18, 2020. 

  • It was named a National Natural Landmark in 1968. 

  • Diamond Head is Hawaii’s most recognized natural landmark.

Last Updated 5 / 20 / 21

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