Visiting Oahu? Take a hike up Diamond Head State Monument

A while back we spoke to a local about some of their top tips on hiking to the top of Diamond Head State Monument.  Here they are:


Diamond Head Sign

Hawaiian place name: Lē`ahi

To gain a perspective of Oahu’s geology, plan an early morning hike to the top of Diamond Head

  • An extinct saucer shaped crater, formed about 300,000 years ago and it’s a National Landmark.
  • One of the most widely recognized hikes on Oahu
  • Diamond Head Crater climbs about 560 feet up to the summit.
  • .8 mile hike to the top
  • Once at the top, enjoy a panoramic view that extends over half of the island.
  • Open 6am-6pm but the last entry to the trail is at 4:30pm
  • $1 admission per person for pedestrians or $5 per car
  • The trail starts on a paved trail but will soon turn into a dirt path, uneven in some spots and the last 10th of a mile is all stairs and very steep.
  • There are a number of lookout points where you can rest a bit before continuing up to the top.
  • The first set of stairs is just a few minute walk after the first look out and this is the shorter one– only 74 stairs.
  • After climbing the first set of stairs, you’ll be at the entrance of the 225 foot long tunnel.  It’s dark so bring a flashlight with you.
  • Once you get out of the tunnel, the 2nd set of stairs, this one longer with 99 steps will be just ahead.  There’s a rest area and look out point after exiting the tunnel so you can catch your breath before heading up this steeper set of stairs.
  • After a bit more of a climb, you’ll soon be at the observation center at the summit with some fantastic views of Waikiki and Oahu.

Insider Tip:

  • Best at sunrise (thanks to cooler morning temperatures)
  • Great whale-watching from December to March for a $1 admission!
  • Don’t pass up the visitor’s booth for some interesting history, it’s role in World War I and, of course, bathrooms, water fountains and some vending machines.

You will get some fabulous views from the top of the crater so make the effort to go to the top (although it was hazy the last time Mr and Mrs My Vacation Lady did the hike so our pictures only came out so-so). Don’t forget to bring water with you and wear sneakers of good walking shoes. This is not a trip to make in flip flops.


My Vacation Lady is a Hawaii Destination Specialist so if you are interested in a vacation or honeymoon to Hawaii, contact us.  Our personal approach to vacation and honeymoon planning can turn an OK trip into a great experience!

About the Author:

Mindy Gilbert of My Vacation Lady has been helping clients, just like you, plan their dream vacations, cruises and honeymoons since 1994.