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I Hiked Diamond Head , Honolulu

Updated on June 17, 2013
Waikiki Honolulu From Atop The Crater
Waikiki Honolulu From Atop The Crater | Source

Diamond Head State Monument

Diamond Head is a dormant volcanic crater located in the city of Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Scientist estimate that this historic saucer shaped mountain relic, was formed over 300,000 years ago, due to a single massive, explosive, volcanic eruption. Diamond Head or Le’ ahi, as it’s called by the locals, is a 475 acre park, a unique ecosystem, with the rim of the crater, at its highest point, standing at 560 feet above sea level. This landmark is one of Honolulu’s most important sites, and is visible, from just about everywhere in this beautiful Hawaiian city.


A Morning Hike To Diamond Head

The early morning hike up to Diamond Head was the most interesting, awe-inspiring experience I had, while on a 10 day vacation in Honolulu, two years ago.

We conveniently booked our tour to Diamond Head, through a representative, at our hotel front desk, the day before our scheduled trip. The next morning we were up at 5:00 AM, got ready, and met our tour guide and bus, downstairs, just outside the hotel lobby. Because of the intense Hawaii heat, it always best to begin the hike early in the morning, rather than later in the day. We made a few stops in the nearby Waikiki area, and a few hotels downtown, to pick up other guests, who had also booked the tour. Moments later, we were well into the short ride to Diamond Head National State Park.

The closer we got to the park, the larger and more intimidating the crater became. For a brief moment, I began to rethink the wisdom of making this pre-breakfast hike. Unfortunately, it was too late now. We were now almost at the foot of the crater. Our group consisted of about 15 individuals, including our knowledgeable tour guide. Once our bus was parked, our guide gave us a few tips about our upcoming climb, encouraged us to visit the available rest rooms, to ensure we were all relaxed and comfortable for the impending climb.

Pathway Up To Diamond Head
Pathway Up To Diamond Head | Source

Hiking Up The Crater

A short while later we began the one hour hike. We started off on a concrete pathway, before getting to a winding, uneven stone/gravel pathway which gradually wound its way up along the side of the crater. Surprisingly, the pathway was wider than I expected.

It accommodated hikers going up, and those coming down the crater quite comfortably. The sun was already beginning, to make its presence felt, further confirming the brilliance of our decision, to make it, a morning hike.

At certain spots along the way, our guide would stop to point out, interesting plants, birds, and other interesting facts about the unique topography of this volcanic area.


The Summit - Are We There Yet?

About an hour into our climb, after clearing the winding footpaths, steps and tunnels, we came upon, what seemed like the longest, steepest, set of stairs I had ever seen. Could this mean we were nearing the top? Tired, but determined, we summoned the necessary resolve, and all the remaining energy we could muster, to get to the top of this last hurdle.

A short walk from the top of the stairs, was a small holding area. From there, we climbed, single file, through a small opening, and WALLAH! We had conquered Diamond Head. Elated, hot, and sweaty, we moved cautiously around the summit, soaking up the views, and taking as many pictures as we could. It's important to point out, that real estate is limited, at the top of the crater. The space was rendered even smaller, because another tour had arrived there a few minutes before us. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the few minutes spent at the peak.


Stunning 360 Degree Views

Friends, there is only one three letter word that adequately describes the magnificent 360 degree views from this vantage point, atop the crater. That’s, WOW! The pictures tell the whole story.

If, you are planning a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii. Be sure to include Diamond Head on your list of things to do. Hiking Diamond Head, is not only good exercise. It’s an inspirational experience, you will never forget.

Basics You Will Need For Your Hike

Requirement for this hike are minimal. You’ll need a comfortable pair of shoe or sneakers, a bottle of water, to keep you hydrated, a hat, (If you are not concerned about hat hair), and a camera. An early morning breakfast would not hurt either.



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