Vacation Spotlight: Diamond Head

1 Oct

On our recent trip to the island of Oahu, my husband and I had the amazing opportunity to visit Diamond Head.

According to our guidebook, this was one of THE things to do in Oahu.  I totally agree! Anyone who gets a chance to go, should at least do this once in your life.  It’s a fairly easy hike (I will go more into this later) and the view at the top gives you a real sense of accomplishment.  I’m not too crazy about heights, but doing this hike up was totally worth it.  There are some form of railings most of the way up.  As long as I kept looking at the ground and only glancing at how high up I was, I made it up.

It’s a beautiful desert climate.  Definitely a contrast to what we hiked later in the day – through the rainforest.  However, this post is about our amazing Diamond Head hike.  It costs $5 to park in the parking lot there.  There are also buses and a way to walk in. (I believe the walk in rate is $1 per person.)  However, it is located a bit in the middle of nowhere so I definitely recommend driving and having a rental car.  Also, I recommend tennis shoes to hike.  The ground is rough, and although I did see a few people doing the hike in flip flops, I was nervous for their safety!

There are bathrooms and a stand at the bottom to buy water or other food. Definitely useful if you forget water or need a boost.  There’s also a map explaining the hike. It takes the average person between an hour and a half and two hours to hike.

map of the hike

It lists the amount of stairs. This use to be an old military base so there are some interesting aspects to the climb!  This is not an easy hike by any means.  It’s a lot of steep stairs or steep paths.  Definitely need to bring some water.  My husband and I had three bottles with us as we were planning on doing a few trails that day.  Between the two of us, we shared one bottle for our hike.  We did the hike in a bit over an hour total.  We were very impressed with how well we did with the hike.  Yes, we had been in half marathon training, but there were a lot of people stopping to catch their breath wherever you like.  We didn’t stop. We just kept going, and while we were a tiny bit winded at the top, we were no where in the shape of a lot of people we passed.

view from about halfway up

There are a few look out points along the way.  We hiked it about 10am.  It opens at 6am and during busy times of the year, I would highly recommend getting their early to avoid the crowds and the heat. However, since we were in off-season visiting in September, it was fairly busy, but not as busy as I expected. It was getting busier as we left.

on the way up

One other random commentary point before I left the rest of the pictures do the talking is, I was amazed by the amount of people that brought children under five to hike! I would not recommend bringing a child to hike. While there are railings, they have two railings in each one, the rest of the railing is open.  It would be very easy for a child to climb through, and I saw plenty of parents that were carrying their children up or down the hike.  That is not my idea of fun, as some of the pathways are very narrow that you have to sneak through with two way traffic, and at the current top, you have to climb through an opening to get to the look-out station.  Granted, I don’t have kids yet, but it was just something that I would not think of doing.

view from the top - ocean side

The view from the top is gorgeous.  They have “I did it” certificates that they sell for $2.00 for the top.  There were also a lot of tour leaders trying to sell their tours to you into forbidden Hawaii. Also, there was someone selling shirts near the bottom. Oh, Hawaii tourism!


We made it to the top, and it was gorgeous! We absolutely loved how high up we were and the beautiful breeze!  It’s a bit crowded at the top as everyone is trying to get to the railings to get their shot, but its totally worth  fighting through the crowds to savor the view.

explaining the crater.

city view side from the top

After spending about fifteen minutes at the top, we headed back down.  The hike down was definitely easier than the walk up!  We stopped at all the lookout spots on the way up, so we just went straight down.  We debated a shave ice in the parking lot, but we decided against it, and went on to our next adventure for the day!

at the top!

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