Diamond Head Crater is a large volcanic tuff cone located 8 minutes via car from Waikiki, O’ahu. The hiking trail is popular among visitors to O’ahu due to the beautiful views at the summit, the relatively short trek to the top, and the low level of difficulty. I enjoyed my hike at Diamond Head Crater! Here are a few things to know before you go.
Is it difficult?
No. I would consider this hike to be easy.
How long does it take?
Depending on how often you stop on your way to the top, 30 – 40 minutes to reach the summit. I would budget 90 minutes total inclusive of time to enjoy and take photos at the top.
Do you need any special hiking equipment?
No hiking boots are necessary. Regular sneakers are perfectly fine. Walking sticks aren’t necessary but feel free to bring along what makes you comfortable.
Is it free?
No. It costs five dollars per car to park at the lot where the trail begins or one dollar per person being dropped off at the entrance. CASH ONLY!
What time does the trail open?
The trail opens at 6 am and closes at 6 pm. Note: you will not be allowed to enter to begin your hike after 4:30 pm.
Other recommendations and things to note:
I recommend beginning your hike sometime between 6 am and 8 am. I arrived a little before 8 am and the trail was not crowded. I was able to walk at my own pace comfortably the entire time and enjoy the view from the top without too many people in the way. On the descent, the path was much more crowded and as I was pulling out of the parking lot at 9:30 am, there was an entire tour bus full of people parking.
The hike includes walking through a tunnel that is carved into the mountain (estimated tunnel time, less than one minute). While I personally did not find this to be too stressful, I can see how this could bother people who are claustrophobic or don’t enjoy dark tunnels. It is not possible to get to the top without hiking through this portion of the trail.
After the dark tunnel, the trail splits into two routes. You can either climb a very steep set of stairs followed by a spiral staircase inside of a tower or take the scenic, less direct route to the top. I decided to take the stairs straight up (the recommended route) and take the scenic route down. Taking this route also gives you a chance to see different things.
If you’re staying in the Waikiki area and you’re physically able to complete the hike, it’s a no brainer! The views are incredible for such a convenient, quick, easy, and inexpensive excursion. I highly recommend checking this off your list while in O’ahu. I enjoyed the trail and will 100% hike it again when I return to the island one day!