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Hiking Diamond Head

Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816 | (808) 587-0300
20 Reviews
Type: Nature & Gardens and Hiking & Walking
Ages: Ages 3 — adult
Cost: Free
Hours of operation: 6am-6pm

The area is clean and safe, and signs point clearly to the trail. Try to ignore the pesky vendors who have set up stands at the trailhead, selling everything from bikinis to tuna sandwiches to T-shirts that verify the wearer actually climbed Diamond Head.
 
Locals consider these businesses an eyesore at an otherwise beautiful natural setting, and the majority opinion is that such stands should be limited to Waikiki. Nonetheless, the constitution and a business license allow them to sell their products here. The issue is being debated in the courts, but the outcome is anyone’s guess. On the plus side, you can stock up on cold water for the hot hike ahead.
 
The hike is ideal for grandparents, young children, and everyone in between. It’s an easy, forty-five-minute trek that offers breathtaking panoramic views of Waikiki, downtown, and the Leeward Coast to the west, and Kahala, Kaimuki, and the eastern shores in the other direction. 
 
The 7⁄10-mile trail leads from the crater floor to the bunker and lookout at the 760-foot summit. The structure up here was built in 1908 to serve as a U.S. Coast Artillery Observation Station.
 
Although the trail is used frequently and very well maintained, you will definitely develop a hearty thirst. Bring plenty of water, a flashlight, and binoculars, and most importantly, a camera with enough film. Flashlights are recommended because one section, about 75 yards, is inside the mountain and therefore quite dark.
 
Most of the trail is defined by sturdy guardrails. The only tough part necessitates climbing about a hundred steep cement steps, sure to leave even the most physically fit a little short of breath. The rest is uphill but easy.
 
While hiking, it’s intriguing to think that this tuffaceous cone is suspected to be more than 350,000 years old. Geologists say it was formed when lava was forced out of a fissure and connected with the ocean in one gigantic explosion of steam and ash. The last eruption here is thought to have been more than 200,000 years ago.
 
The Clean Air Team, as part of a litter-control project, sponsors free guided hikes from Honolulu Zoo to Diamond Head every Saturday. The group meets at 9:00 A.M. near the main entrance to the zoo, at the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu Avenues.
There's no shade except in the tunnel, so hike early to avoid the heat.
 
WHAT YOU NEED
•Walking or hiking shoes
•Bottle of water
•Flashlight for seeing your way in the tunnels
•Sunscreen, towel
•Binoculars (optional)
•Camera
 
GUIDED TOURS
•Oahu Nature Tours, (808)924-2473
•Clean Air Team, (808)948-3299


20 Reviews for Hiking Diamond Head

February 23 2012
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Great view-Tough hike"

The Diamond Head hike would be a tough one for young kids. If you're planning a trip, make sure to pack lots of water and snacks. There are drinks and snacks available before you start the hike, but not after. Try to go on a clear day so that you get the best view. Also, make sure you wear good shoes. The hike is not super difficult, but it is definitely a "hike". It is worth the hike to see the view. Remember your camera!

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edmundsa
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January 28 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"great hike for family"

This is a great hike for everyone in your family. Its nice and can be a little steep but I think every one could do it. There is some amazing views from the top. I have done it a few times and always had my kids with me and they  all have really enjoyed it every time.

November 13 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Better for kids that walk"

I did this hike with my boyfriend before my son was born and I loved it. Now that I'm a mom I can't imagine this hike with my 2 year old son who tires quickly while walking . He also weighs a whopping 37lbs. If I had to do this hike with my giant baby in my arms, oh lordy! My poor arms would be exhausted and my back would be aching. Do this hike with children that are 6 and older. The view is gorgeous. Go early in the morning before it gets too hot.

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momoftwins
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January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Amazing"

You cannot go all the way to Oahu and skip Diamond Head.  It's a long hike to the top, but it's gorgeous.  You are so close to nature.  Wear comfortable shoes and carry a bottle of water.  You'll get a great workout, and see some amazing scenery along the way.

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MeganSAHM
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January 10 2011
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Quite a hike"

We did this in the rain.  Don't do that.  It is very steep and at times it seems like you are NEVER going to get to the top.  Once up there, the views cannot be beat, it is truly amazing to see the ocean.  There's a great shot of a little light house from the top.  We did this hike with our baby in the pack.  I don't think it would be appropriate for small kids, but pre-teens/teens would be fine.  

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Lots of walking, and not a great trek with young ones"

My husband and I did this hike to the top in just 45 minutes (without kids), but I would agree with other reviewers that younger kids may have trouble. If you are determined to get your family to the top, take your time and put little ones in a backpack carrier if possible. The view at the top is definitely worth it!

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miyumama
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December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"great for adult tourist"

I hike Diamond Head at least 3 times, but never with my child yet.(4years)  Someday I want to try, but I am pretty sure I end up carrying her since I think this hike is not too easy for small kids.  For adult and older child, the pass is kind of clean and easy to hike (except last steep stairs), so I really recommend to try at least once if you never try hike yet.  You truly enjoy the beautiful view !

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"So much Fun!"

This trail was so much fun! I was so proud of myself for doing this hike! There were steep trails, steep stairs, a ladder, and a crawl though before you reached the top. I was so proud I even bought the cheesy little certificate that I reached the top! We made it up and down in less than 45 minutes!

With a kid I would really build in some breaks for your self and I recomened taking the baby backpack! This way they are safe and sung. Otherwise if you have kids of walking age I would say let them tire themselves out here but always keep a hand on them, this is a tricky hiking trail but the rewarding view is totally worth it!

Update: We recently did this with our one year old. We used the back pack carrier and it worked great, the only down side was the lot was full when we went and we had to walk form the college. This made it extra hard. My husband got mad prop from all the other walkers for carrying the sleeping child on his back the entire way :)

maimai19
maimai19
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December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Excellent view, Easy Hike"

We hiked this with our two year old son and enjoyed, anyways.  My husband carried him most of the time, though. I just wish we hiked it in a December morning instead of hiking in a summer afternoon! It should be much cooler and probably lesser tourists also.

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"wear proper shoes!"

I don't know how it always happens, but when hubby and I always embark on hikes in Hawaii, I'm wearing rubber flip-flops. Stupid.
Anyway, we took this hike pre-baby, and it is NOT easy. You are climbing up, up, up, there is very little shade, and in places there are steep stairs, steep tunnels of stairs, and a lookout tower at the top from WW2 days that you must sort of squirm and climb and shimmy through to get to the vista point at the top. There is no way, now, as parents of a toddler, we could manage it -especially not with a baby-hiker-backpack (no way to manuever it through the tight spots.)
The view from the top? sigh. It's gorgeous.... I could stand there all day (and considering it took like an hour to get up and then another hour to get down, I would have been happy to park there a while.)
This would be a fun hike for families with older children; there were lots of energetic kids hurling themselves up and down the paths, well ahead of their panting parents (but I'll be you can expect a chorus of "mooooom! I'm tiiiireeeed!" on the way down.)

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Wouldn't do it with small kids"

I'm in moderately good shape and hiked briskly to the top in about 25 minutes.  Went just as the park opened at 6 am for the sunrise (in december anyway).  Flashlight is a necessity at that time of day since its pitch black and VERY uneven terrain.  Water isn't so critical and heat is not a factor at all at dawn.  I jogged past about 80 tourists piling out of a JTB trolley and when they finally all made it up, it got really crowded and noisy at the observation post.  If there is a down day for tourists, I'd recommend going then.  Beautiful views though, remember to wear layers.

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"A great little hike with an amazing view"

I have hiked Diamond Head a couple times and the path is always full because of its proximity to Waikiki. Regardless of the crowds, I still love this hike. Its a nice little workout that anyone in reasonable shape can complete (including little kids) and history surrounding Diamondhead is very interesting. When you reach the top you climb through the bunker (after going through a tunnel and alot of stairs) and suddenly you can see everything. Be warned that the park does close around 5 or 6 so you can't go there for a sunset view (we found that out the hard way)

jaybra
jaybra
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December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Fun and easy hike"

I have done this hike several times, both with and without kids. I found it interesting what the kids become interested in vice the adults. The adults are trying to grab the history and the beauty of the surrounding scenery while the kids are counting the stairsteps, playing army in the bunkers, finding the best drag along stick possible and wondering who can spit to the bottom. Diamond Head Crater is a Hawaii State Park, admission to the park is $5 for the car, $1 per person if on foot. When doing the hike (walk is more like it - it is an easy hike) with kids, make sure you take water and a flashlight for each of them. It isn't so much that you need the flashlight, although there are a couple of places that are darker, but it is nice to have and of course if one of them has a flashlight, they all need one.

mamatamas
mamatamas
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December 23 2010
2 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Easy and a great view"

A friend from Chicago came to visit us, so we decided to take her up Diamond Head.  She, myself, and my boys hiked the mountain.  

My eldest was 2 years old at the time and he insisted on hiking the mountain by himself.  I totally thought he'd give up, but he hiked up the entire mountain (including the stairs to the lookout) all by himself.  He had a bit more trouble coming back down because his feet couldn't quite get a good grip on the varying sizes and elevations of the rocks.  Still, I'd say he walked down by himself about 70% of the time.

I carried my youngest (1 1/2 mos. at the time)in a front pack.  A layer of sunscreen on him and an umbrella helped to protect him because there really is no natural shade.  He had a grand old time sleeping the entire hike.

My friend and oldest son loved the view at the top.  We packed a few sandwiches and water, so we had a little picnic at the top.  There's one small area to sit on with shade and a good breeze.

If you plan on going up Diamond Head, we'd recommend getting there early and taking at least water.  There are no water fountains along the trail and you will get thirsty.  The park charges for limited parking stalls, so we'd recommend going early so it's less hot and you get a parking stall.  Otherwise, you have to wait for a parking stall and it's first come, first serve.  You have to wait in a line to get a stall vs. driving around the parking lot and getting the first one you see.

Despite the parking and the heat, it's a great family hike.  It's really easy (as shown by my 2 year old son) and the view at the top is great.  If you do take little ones, though, give yourself plenty of time.  The hike on average takes about 45 min.  I think with my boys it took more like 1 1/2 hours to go up.  Coming back down was a lot quicker.

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Simply breathtaking"

Hiking Diamond Head is a definately must-do while in Hawaii. The views are spectatular as you can see the island from both the West coast and East coast.

Be prepared to do the hike, however. I've heard of people trying to go there on a stroller, or not wearing the right shoes. Bring lots of water, take lots of breaks and I agree with the other reviewers: go early. Small children can make it but be prepared to carry them towards the end. The hike took up took us an hour and a half, and going down took us about 45 minutes.

The first part of the trail is a unpaved path curving around the mountain. There will be spots you could take a break, as well as pictures. Then you'll reach the first set of stairs, leading up to a tunnel. It's dimly lighted so if your kids are afraid of the dark bring a flashlight. Next would be just about the hardest part of the trail for kids, in my opinion - the 99 steps of the second set of stairs. The spiral staircase is next, and then there's a lookout on top. There was a guy there selling certificates saying you made it to the top of Diamond Head. I bought one since the proceeds goes to fixing up the place. Climb on out and you can see the lighthouse, but keep going to the end of the trail and up on top.

Take lots of pictures and enjoy the view!

December 23 2010
0 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Fun with the Family"

Your first stop heading east should be Hawaii’s most famous mountain, Diamond Head. Actually named Mt. Leahi, the crater earned its nickname from some gullible English sailors who mistook glimmering calcite crystals for that precious gem.
 
It’s so well known and well depicted in paintings, diaries, and visitor publications, it has become one of the more enduring symbols of Hawaii, along with pineapples, coconut palm trees, and plumeria leis. A visit to Oahu simply would not be complete without being able to tell your friends back home that you climbed to the top of Hawaii’s unofficial state monument.

deltaoneus
deltaoneus
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December 23 2010
2 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Oahu vacation"

Like the previous reviews the earlier the better for this excursion and do take water, this is a pretty exhausting hike so if you are taking kids then i would advise 6yrs and up.  I took my one year old but used a child carrier back pack which proved to be handy on this trip.   The views are spectacular so definatley worth the effort of getting up there,  there are a couple of rest points before you get to the top,

December 23 2010
1 family found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"nice views...but boy it's hot"

I really don't like getting sweaty and sticky. Diamond has really amazing views, but go early in the morning so as to avoid the scorching heat radiating off the ground and rock.  If you do decide to go, bring plenty of water and keep kids very well hydrated.  Kids under 7 will probably have trouble making it through the whole hike.  I don't know that you want to even carry your child in a child carrier because that will just make you feel warmer.

jerseymama
jerseymama
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December 23 2010
3 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"Spectacular views"

I agree with the previous review that this is not an easy hike for younger kids especially early walkers. If you can leave the little ones behind that's probably the best decision.  
Our little one isn't walking yet, so we were able to take her in our trusty Kelty backpack to the top and down. The climb's not long, but steep in certain spots. Plan to allocate about 20-25 minutes up. Bring lots of water and be sure to slather on the sunscreen because really no shade on the hike. If you're planning on putting a kid in a backpack, remember to bring the sunshade to give them a bit of relief from the Hawaiian sun too.

chich
chich
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December 23 2010
3 families found this helpful
Violetwhite_word
"not good with little ones"

this is a fairly easy walk to the top of diamond head, at least for the first 20 minutes. then, it gets steep and has a long set of stairs that's killer if you have to tow along kids that either aren't yet walking or don't want to walk anymore. my recommendation is to get a sitter for kids under 8 so that you can go up to the top and enjoy the views without breaking your back.

 
 

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