Choose from 76 Fun Things to Do in Oahu
The Diamond Head trail is 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) round-trip, gaining over 550 feet (168 meters) from the trailhead to the summit and affording amazing views of the island and the Pacific Ocean. Unless you're trying to be the first one up to the Diamond Head summit in the morning, enjoy the hike at a steady pace and take in the views on the way—travelers usually allot one to two hours for the Diamond Head crater hike. This crater adventure is often included on Oahu city tours or circle island tours that take in a number of Hawaiian landmarks and historic sites such as Manoa Falls, Pearl Harbor, and the North Shore. Consider taking a guided Diamond Head tour to learn the history and local stories surrounding the popular crater.
- An admission fee of $5 per car or $1 per pedestrian is required.
- Hiking up Diamond Head involves numerous steep stairs and isn’t accessible for travelers in wheelchairs. The trail also includes a 225-foot (68-meter) tunnel that is well lit but can feel a bit tight.
- Restrooms and water are located at the trailhead, but there are no facilities on the trail.
- Be sure to wear proper walking shoes.
- On tours of the crater with a tour guide, hotel transport is often included and reduces the need to find parking.
How to Get There
The best way to reach Diamond Head Crater hiking trail is by foot, bike, guided tour, car, or the local bus. There is limited parking if you choose to drive; many travelers opt to take The Bus to the Diamond Head State Monument bus stop.
When to Get There
Diamond Head State Monument opens at 6am and closes at 6pm daily, with last entry at 4:30pm. Considering over 2,000 people hike up the famous volcanic crater each day, you'll never have the trail completely to yourself, unless you start your day with a race to the top. Though crowds are heavy almost every day, Tuesdays tend to be especially heavy since one of Oahu's most popular sights—Hanauma Bay—is closed. The best time to beat the heat is early in the morning, and there's usually a line in front of the gate for the 6am opening. Diamond Head tours also arrive pretty early, so hiking late in the day may sometimes help you beat the crowds. If you plan to hike up Diamond Head in winter, keep an eye out for humpback whales that leap from the waters offshore.
Diamond Head History
In Hawaiian, the mountain is known as ‘Leahi’—the name Diamond Head comes from British sailors who found calcite crystals embedded in the mountain and falsely claimed they were diamonds.
For the lowdown on Polynesian lore, legend, history and anthropology, drop into the Bishop Museum. Far from dry, displays range from woven hats, sculptures and scientific exhibits to planetarium shows and historical artifacts.
Circular Hanauma Bay is a particularly attractive, sheltered inlet of turquoise water, carved from a submerged volcanic crater east of Diamond Head.
The sandy beach park is popular with families, with its calm waters, lifeguards, and gentle diving and snorkeling. Picnic tables overlook the bay, and you can rent diving equipment.
The area is a Nature Preserve and Marine Life Conservation District, and when you visit there’s a short film to watch about the marine life before you head down to the beach.
While diving you should spot green turtles, parrotfish and coral.
Buses run here from Waikiki, around 10 miles (16 km) east of Waikiki, just off the Kalanianaole Highway. A shuttle runs from the car park entrance down to the beach.
- Queen Emma Summer Palace is ideal for those wanting to explore Hawaiian history.
- The original palace architecture is not completely wheelchair accessible, but people needing assistance can contact the palace ahead of time for options.
- Docent-led tours for groups of more than 10 people should be arranged in advance; check the website for details.
- The Dole Plantation is a must-see for families with kids and Hawaiian history buffs.
- Expect to spend one to two hours at the plantation, depending on which activities you’d like to take part in. (Each activity requires a separate fee.)
- The plantation is a common stop on North Shore tours.
- The Dole Plantation is wheelchair accessible.
- There is both a gift shop and an on-site restaurant, the Plantation Grille.
- Every Friday night, hotels in Waikiki set off a not-to-miss fireworks spectacular.
- Both Diamond Head and Koko Head Crater offer challenging but easy-to-reach hikes with stunning city, island, and sea views.
- The Waikiki trolley is a convenient way to get around the area.
Its unusual shape makes it a popular landmark to spot from panoramic viewpoints such as Kualoa Point. The fish-filled coral reefs surrounding the island are home to sharks, adding to the island’s mystery and James Bond quality.
When the tide is out you could even walk here, but it’s best to visit by kayak or boat. When you get here, you can explore sea caves or have two golden beaches all to yourself.
A 20-minute climb winds to the top of the island for great views looking back to Oahu’s Windward coast.
The conical island lies less than half a mile off the east coast of Oahu, within swimming distance of Kualoa Park on Kaneohe Bay.
To get here by car, follow the Kamehameha Highwy, 45 minutes from Honolulu.
- Ala Moana Beach Park is ideal for beachgoers of all ages.
- There are lifeguards on duty, showers, restrooms, and picnic tables available.
- Don’t forget your towel, sunscreen, and drinking water.