ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting North America

Climbing Diamond Head

Updated on September 29, 2014
Diamond Head from a distance
Diamond Head from a distance

My Personal Journey Up An Iconic Mountain

Diamond Head is recognized by people all over the world and one of the most iconic landmarks in Hawaii. You can see it from various places in Honolulu. Strolling down Waikiki beach, Diamond Head is always in sight. You can even see it from the airport! Surprisingly many first time visitors don't know that you can actually climb to the top of this extinct volcano.

The hike up is considered to be one of the easiest on the island with spectacular views of the city of Honolulu and beyond and only takes about an hour each way.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

Diamond Head Hike

Have you climbed Diamond Head before?

See results

Can I Make it to the Top?

At the summit of Diamond Head
At the summit of Diamond Head

The Best Guide and My Favorite Honolulu Pictorial

Lonely Planet Discover Honolulu, Waikiki & Oahu (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Discover Honolulu, Waikiki & Oahu (Travel Guide)

This is probably my favorite guidebook on Honolulu. Since I don't live there anymore, I bought this one for my trip this year. Even though I lived there for half my life, there were many things I discovered from this book.

The restaurant listing is spot on with all the local's favorites including information on off-the-beaten track places that are worth visiting.

 

About two years ago, I did the hike as I always do when I visit Honolulu. It's one of my favorite things to do especially when combined with a morning stop at the farmer's market across the street. But for me, this was no ordinary hike.

It had been just over a year since I recovered from Bell's Palsy as well as having some health issues and although I wasn't overweight or anything, I was embarrassingly out of shape. Still I didn't think much about it.

In the end I did make it to the summit but I don't remember much of it because the feelings of weakness, pain and panic overshadowed everything else. That was back then.

Now two years later and healthier, I attempted the climb once more just to prove to myself that I could do ti. I also was going with a friend who knows the health problems I've been trying to overcome this past year so that made me feel better.

However as soon as I arrived at the foot of Diamond Head, thoughts of failure and difficulty breathing made me panic and my palms started to sweat.

Starting the Hike

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The starting point feels like a park. Take some time to appreciate this beautiful area and make use of the restrooms if you need to.At the start of the trail, hibiscus and plumeria trees welcome you.The first part of the hike is paved.
The starting point feels like a park. Take some time to appreciate this beautiful area and make use of the restrooms if you need to.
The starting point feels like a park. Take some time to appreciate this beautiful area and make use of the restrooms if you need to.
At the start of the trail, hibiscus and plumeria trees welcome you.
At the start of the trail, hibiscus and plumeria trees welcome you.
The first part of the hike is paved.
The first part of the hike is paved.

Honolulu of Yesteryear

Honolulu Town (Images of America)
Honolulu Town (Images of America)

Honolulu today is a sophisticated and cosmopolitan city. In fact, it has changed so much since I was a kid that I kind of miss the old things.

This book takes us down memory lane with photos of the now demolished movie theaters, the history of Chinatown and Japantown and other interesting things. In fact, the areas in Chinatown was completely different from what you see today just 30 years ago.

I bought a copy of this book on my trip and enjoyed it so much I finished it in one sitting!

 

Peace and Quiet Inside the Crater

Diamond Head Trail
Diamond Head Trail

Oahu Hike Resource

The Hikers Guide to Oahu: Updated and Expanded (A Latitude 20 Book)
The Hikers Guide to Oahu: Updated and Expanded (A Latitude 20 Book)

If you are an avid hiker, or just would like to know more about the options on the island of Oahu, this is the best resource you'll find. Complete with a list of 52 trails ranging from the easy Diamond Head hike to the more challenging Koko Head climb.

 

My friend and I started the climb up Diamond Head and I have to confess that I had to psyche myself up for this day. I was already having anxiety attacks everyday since I had arrived and although I had second thoughts of doing the hike, I knew I had to do it for the sake of breaking through this irrational fear I've been holding within me.

I concentrated on the fresh air, the blue sky and the beautiful views all around me. It was peaceful and quite inside the crater and I felt calm. The fresh air cleansed my soul.

When I became anxious, my friend tried to distract me with singing songs, making random jokes about unicorns and asking me to take pictures of him in front of the "falling rock" signs.

Halfway to the Summit

Click thumbnail to view full-size
By this point, I was feeling good and confident. The beautiful views only helped me feel positive.Everytime I looked up at the summit, I got a bit anxious. My friend kept the jokes coming and I have to admit, his plan worked.One of the number of "falling rock" signs my friend kept taking pictures in front of. For some reason, I thought that was the funniest thing.Stunning views all around.I see the ocean! I think we're almost at the top!Suddenly it starts to get harder and I must concentrate on my footing as the ground is quite uneven.You must be extra careful on this part of the trail.Nope, it's not time to stop yet.
By this point, I was feeling good and confident. The beautiful views only helped me feel positive.
By this point, I was feeling good and confident. The beautiful views only helped me feel positive.
Everytime I looked up at the summit, I got a bit anxious. My friend kept the jokes coming and I have to admit, his plan worked.
Everytime I looked up at the summit, I got a bit anxious. My friend kept the jokes coming and I have to admit, his plan worked.
One of the number of "falling rock" signs my friend kept taking pictures in front of. For some reason, I thought that was the funniest thing.
One of the number of "falling rock" signs my friend kept taking pictures in front of. For some reason, I thought that was the funniest thing.
Stunning views all around.
Stunning views all around.
I see the ocean! I think we're almost at the top!
I see the ocean! I think we're almost at the top!
Suddenly it starts to get harder and I must concentrate on my footing as the ground is quite uneven.
Suddenly it starts to get harder and I must concentrate on my footing as the ground is quite uneven.
You must be extra careful on this part of the trail.
You must be extra careful on this part of the trail.
Nope, it's not time to stop yet.
Nope, it's not time to stop yet.

So Tell Me...

What do you think of the hike so far?

See results

The Final Part of the Journey

The stairs to the summit. Almost there!
The stairs to the summit. Almost there!

The hike had been quite pleasant all the way up until this point. As soon as we turned around the last bend, we came to a set of stairs that seemed to go on forever. I suddenly remembered how breathless I had been the last time I was here. I've been ok up until this point but once again, my anxiety started to creep into my body.

However as quickly as my anxiety came, something in me immediately refused to give in to it. I've done it before and I knew I could do it again. I told myself that it was all in my mind-it was simply mind over matter and I just had to get over it. My irrational fears had no place in my life anymore and with that thought, I climbed up those stairs.

Oh no, stairs?

How does that picture of the stairs make you feel?

See results

The Final Hurdle

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This cave is a nightmare for a claustrophobic like myself. My friend told me to imagine this was a hallway to a luxury hotel. Strangely it helped.After the cave comes this narrow spiral staircase.We're almost there I hope!We have arrived!
This cave is a nightmare for a claustrophobic like myself. My friend told me to imagine this was a hallway to a luxury hotel. Strangely it helped.
This cave is a nightmare for a claustrophobic like myself. My friend told me to imagine this was a hallway to a luxury hotel. Strangely it helped.
After the cave comes this narrow spiral staircase.
After the cave comes this narrow spiral staircase.
We're almost there I hope!
We're almost there I hope!
We have arrived!
We have arrived!

The View from the Top

Diamond Head View
Diamond Head View

Once we got to the top, I was ecstatic! Although I was a bit breathless from the claustrophobic cave, the spiral staircase and the excruciating stairs, I had made it to the top.

Directly in front of me was the city of Honolulu and beyond. My friend and I stayed there for as long as we could until I could no longer tolerate the strong winds that were making me shiver.

The Mountain that Taught Helped Me Become Stronger

Lone tree in the middle of a crater
Lone tree in the middle of a crater

After a good 30 minutes, we started to head on down to the base of the crater before the park closed. When we got back to the starting point at the base of the crater, I looked over my shoulder and noticed a single tree standing in a vast field of grass and dirt. My friend had noticed the same tree and we both were stunned at how beautiful it looked against the sky.

The sun was setting and the sky had changed into a multi-hued canvas. The place was peacefully quiet with only the sound of the wind and the rustling of the trees. If I could, I would've stayed there until nightfall.

To most people, Diamond Head is just a hike and it's definitely one of the easier ones. But for me, it was a personal journey of not giving up on life and of not giving into that ever-present fear that lurks behind the shadows. I am grateful to my friend for his jokes and singing that helped me reach the top.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I will be eternally grateful to Diamond Head, the mountain that taught me how to be strong again.

Watch this Video Before You Go

Now What Do You Think?

After reading this lens, do you have a desire to climb up Diamond Head?

See results

Thank You For Reading About My Journey

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      I'd never heard of Diamond Head before. What a great article!

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 3 years ago

      Climbing Diamond Head was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life! I had been visiting friends on the Big Island for a couple weeks, friends I had made the previous year on a cruise in the Greek Isles, but upon leaving out of Honolulu to return to the Mainland I got bumped off my flight and wound up spending 3 days in Honolulu unexpectedly. It was such a happy accident as I did enjoy many lovely meals, a day at Waikiki Beach, a day climbing Diamond Head and a day playing with the dolphins! Lovely lens, thanks for sharing and sparking some awesome memories :D

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @StrongMay: Aww thanks so much. Really appreciate the comments.

    • profile image

      StrongMay 3 years ago

      Good job for conquering your fears and making it up there. Bravo for not giving up!

    • AceofHearts profile image

      AceofHearts 3 years ago

      Great lens. Feels like I went on the climbing adventure with you. Thanks again.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 3 years ago

      This looks like a very doable plus enjoyable hike. Thank you for publishing this review. It's great.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @trevorjb1406: Thanks. Will check it out. Thanks.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @WriterJanis2: I hope you get a chance to one day.

    • trevorjb1406 profile image

      trevorjb1406 3 years ago

      Thanks, a good read. I like the photos and the view from the top is truly great. As a "photographer" you may be interested in my lens, so I am putting a link below should you be interested!

      https://hubpages.com/technology/nikon-D7100-35mm-d...

      I hope you find it enjoyable & informative.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      I love all of the pictures you have included. I've seen Diamond Head, but have never climbed it.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sierradawn lm: Thanks for coming on this journey with me. Cheers!

    • bueler lm profile image

      bueler lm 3 years ago

      Cool lens. I climbed Diamond Head on my honeymoon. Great hike and nice views.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @bueler lm: Thanks so much. It really is a great hike.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      I have enjoyed this virtual climb up Diamond Head so very much! I never thought to climb it when I lived in Hawaii, now I feel that I have experienced this experience through your delightful lens! Beautiful!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Pam Irie: Thank you. Oh, do you live in Hawaii?

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Merrci: Merrci, thank you! I really was proud of myself and you know what? I can't wait to do it again!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 3 years ago from Land of Aloha

      We do this hike quite often and I've never thought to make a lens of it. Yours is wonderful and Congratulations on your Purple Star! :)

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Another excellent lens Smine27. I'm proud of you! It's very cool that you would make the climb again, and push through, in spite of the anxiety. It must have felt amazing when you did it and got to the top! I've never climbed it but enjoyed your wonderful photos! Good friend that went with you too! Thanks for writing this.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @TanoCalvenoa: I hope you get a chance to visit. Hawaii truly is a beautiful place.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @favored: I'm so glad you had a good time there. The climb is deifnitely a must next time you visit.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @HalloweenRecipes: Thank you for reading. It makes me so happy to hear that you enjoyed it.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @TreasuresBrenda: That's amazing. i'm so glad you got to experience it with your family.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @ecogranny: Grace thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad I did the climb. I am no longer scared to do it again!

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 3 years ago

      God, this view is a true reward for the whole walk! Thanks for this lens)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Max Globe: It was my pleasure. Thanks for reading!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @norma-holt: Haha. Actually it takes about 45 minutes to an hour depending on your pace to get to the top. Those stairs happen at the final point which makes it hard because you've already walked up quite a bit. It's a good challenge though.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sousababy: Oh yes, a bathroom and a coffee stand would be nice sousababy. Also Hawaiian coffee is pretty amazing. Lens about that coming soon.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @chrisilouwho: Thank you so much for visiting. I really appreciate it.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @DawnRae64: I'm so glad you liked it Dawn.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: Thanks Vinn. You have also helped me change in the best way possible.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Diana Wenzel: Thank you Renaissance. You always say the right words. Seriously you do. It's already starting out to be a great year!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      I've never been to any of the Hawaiian Islands, but I very much would like to. I've heard of this climb before, and hope to try it someday.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      When we were there I didn't know that you could climb it. The tourist guides never told us that, which seems funny to me. It was so beautiful there, we loved every moment of our trip.

    • HalloweenRecipes profile image

      HalloweenRecipes 3 years ago

      Congratulations on achieving your goal and sharing the journey with us. It sounds like an exhilarating climb! Really enjoyed reading the lens and the pictures bring your adventure to life.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

      We've climbed Diamond Head as a family. It is very rewarding once you make it to the top! It was very hot and we carried a spray bottle with us.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      I've never been to Hawaii, so have not had an opportunity to test myself climbing Diamondhead. Your story of perseverance in the face of significant anxiety and discomfort is moving and inspiring. Congratulations on trusting yourself to make it through. It seems you climbed an even more rugged mountain within yourself that day. I always know I will learn something from your lenses. Thank you for writing from your heart.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      Wow, can't imagine that hike happening for me. You say its only 30 mins to get to the top but how many turn back at the sight of those stairs. Great lens and thanks for the trip.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 3 years ago

      They just need a little landing spot halfway up those stairs (they could sell coffee and have a bathroom handy) then for sure more people would go. I understand Hawaiian coffee is pretty good.

    • chrisilouwho profile image

      chrisilouwho 3 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this, after reading your story and viewing the photos I feel like I have been there myself.

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 3 years ago from Maryland, USA

      I love your lenses. This one is even more spectacular than usual! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 3 years ago

      I'm so happy to hear that you were able to make it up to the top of Diamond Heads. Whatever our own challenges are and as irrational as they may seem, they are real. You've done terrifically at overcoming your own. Congratulations!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Aww can I just say that I love you? ;) You really know how to make me smile. Thank you! I hope you're having a wonderful week.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      You did it! Of course, you did. You always find a way to push through and make it to the other side. This was an odyssey of sorts. The best kind. I would love to experience that hike. The view is to live for! Well done, my friend. It's going to be a happy new year.