How Long Does it Take to Hike Diamond Head, Hawaii?
Diamond Head in Oahu is one of the most fascinating hikes in Hawaii as you have the chance to discover the ancient natural crater while also witnessing the sprawling cityscape of Honolulu and the surrounding seas. Diamond Head can be reached by walking directly from Waikiki as well as by car, so there’s no excuse not to enjoy this hike out in Hawaii’s stunning natural landscape. Read on to find out how long it takes to hike to Diamond Head and top tips for enjoying the walk.
How Long Does it Take to Hike Diamond Head?
The 0.9-mile hike to the summit of Diamond Head from the carpark can be reached by a moderately fit person in about 30 minutes. If you decide to walk all the way from Waikiki Beach to Diamond Head, you will add an additional hour (at least) each way to your hike.
Most people prefer to take a slower pace, stopping to admire the view and catch their breath en route, in which case it takes around 1.5-2 hours for the round trip from the carpark.
If the trail is particularly busy, the hike can take extra time, but if you allow yourself a couple of hours, you should have plenty of time to enjoy the route from the car park to the top.
How Long is the Trail Up Diamond Head?
The hiking trail from the car park to the summit of Diamond Head is less than one mile long, but it can feel much longer due to the gradient of the terrain. Visitors are required to ascend to 560ft to reach the summit.
Once you reach the tunnel through the side of the crater, you’ll know you have arrived and only have the short, steep section remaining.
How Difficult is the Hike Up Diamond Head?
The Diamond Head hike is considered ‘easy’ by hiking standards, with some preferring to call it a walk rather than a hike or trek. Many locals chose to jog or walk up Diamond Head on a regular basis, with some people doing it multiple times a day!
Some sections of the trail are particularly steep, with steps, tunnels and crevices to navigate. The terrain can be rocky and uneven in places, especially after heavy rainfall, when surfaces become loose.
While the hike up Diamond Head is not wheelchair-accessible, most able-bodied people should be able to complete the hike, even children.
There are handrails the whole way alongside the trail up Diamond Head, and most areas are wide enough for you to stop for a breather and let other people pass by.
What Can Be Seen From the Summit of Diamond Head?
The peak of Diamond Head offers some of the most magical views, with walkers being able to witness Hanauma Bay, Koko Head and Honolulu. The summit boasts 360-degree views, so it’s worth taking some time at the top to stop and admire the views.
Visitors can decide to opt for an audio-guide to take with them along the hike, which will tell you all about the history of Diamond Head as well as what you can see from the top.
How to Get to Diamond Head and How Long Does it Take?
There are various options for getting to the base of Diamond Head from Waikiki, including bus, car and on foot.
The number 23 bus from Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki heads in the direction of Diamond Head and will drop you off at the tunnel just before the park. You will then need to walk a few hundred metres to reach the car park and the beginning of the trail. This journey takes between 20-30 minutes from central Waikiki.
The other option is to drive or take a taxi. The drive from Waikiki takes about 15 minutes and costs between $10-15. If you are driving, you will just need to pay $5 for car parking at the base of Diamond Head.
As aforementioned, you can also walk, which takes around one hour from Waikiki. You’ll want to ask your hotel for directions or follow Google maps to ensure you don’t add extra to your journey time!
Top Tips For Hiking Diamond Head
Wear Sturdy Shoes
While it’s definitely possible to hike to Diamond Head in flip flops, it’s not exactly recommended as there are some parts with uneven terrain and rocky ground. The first 0.2 miles of the trail is paved, but the rest of the route is completed on natural ground. Unless you have packed them already or much prefer walking boots, these are not required, and a good pair of trainers will more than do the job.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
The hike up Diamond Head can get particularly hot and humid, so lightweight clothing is best year-round. There may be parts of the hike where you will be scrambling along rocky ground or passing by rusty railings, so make sure you’re not wearing clothes you are worried about getting dirty or ripped. While it’s unlikely you will ruin your clothes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Bring Sun Screen
The trail up Diamond Head is mostly in the sun, with only occasional sections covered by trees or the crater wall providing shade. You’ll, therefore, want to pack sunscreen and perhaps a hat to ensure you do not burn or overheat during your hike. The last thing you want to do is get sunstroke when hiking up Diamond Head as it will ruin your experience.
Unless you’re heading up Diamond Head really early and plan to be up and back within an hour, it’s recommended to pack at least one bottle of water to keep you hydrated throughout your hike. If you plan on taking a gentle pace up the trail and maybe stopping to take in the views or letting your children play at the summit, then you may want to bring additional refreshments and snacks for the journey.
Take Your Rubbish With You
Diamond Head is a place of natural beauty, and it is important that we, as the public, take care of it. While we are able to take food and drink up the trail, it is vital that we bring all trash back down with us and dispose of it correctly. There are recycling points within the base car park, where local teams donate money made from recycled bottles and cans to nearby schools. Please help keep Diamond Head clean by putting recyclable goods in the designated areas and all other rubbish in the bins nearby.
It is also important to be aware of human impact on the planet and to reduce our effect wherever possible. This includes sticking to designated trails, not taking any mementos with us from the site and not causing any damage or vandalism to the crater. Smoking is prohibited within Diamond Head Crater Park due to the risk of fire, so please do not be tempted to light up during your hike.
There are restrooms, vending machines, food trucks and a visitor information centre at the base of Diamond Head, in the car park. Once you start the hike, there will be no more facilities, so make sure you are well prepared before setting off.
Park Opening Hours
Diamond Head Crater Park is open from 6 am to 6 pm each day, with the last entry being around 4.30pm to ensure everyone has time to complete the hike before closing time. Unless there are major works going on within the park, the trail is open seven days a week.
More Questions You May Ask
When Was Diamond Head Formed?
The famous Diamond Head in Hawaii is a circular crater which is thought to have been naturally formed around 300,000 years ago after a single mass eruption. The summit and trail are located within Diamond Head Crater State Monument, but the actual crater itself is said to span around 350 acres!
Why Is It Called Diamond Head?
The name Diamond Head is said to have been given to this crater when British sailors spotted the peak from their ships and noticed that the stones at the top of the crater glistened in the sunlight. (r) Diamond Head is known locally as Le’ ahi as it thought the shape resembles the forehead ‘lae’ of the “ahi’ fish.
Now you know all you need to about hiking Diamond Head. You’re aware how long it should take, what to wear and bring with you and what to expect when you reach the top. The hike to Diamond Head is one of the most popular routes in Hawaii, and it would be a shame to miss it if you’re visiting Oahu.
Let us know if you’ve hiked Diamond Head, how long it took you and if you enjoyed the trail!
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