Diamond Head Hike (Oahu Hawaii): Diamond Head Crater Trail

by David & Intan

The Diamond Head hike in Oahu is a nice, easy trek near Honolulu that belongs somewhere on your Hawaii to do list.

Aside from the novelty of hiking on the edge of an old volcano crater, the Diamond Head overlook also lets you see a lighthouse and some old World War II pillboxes, with top notch views of the crater rim and Honolulu city in the background.

This guide will explain how to do the Diamond Head Hawaii hike, how to get there, and everything else you need to know before you go!



 

Quick Facts

  • Distance: 1.8 miles (2.9 km) roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 500 feet (150 m)
  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Duration: 1 – 2 hours roundtrip

 

Diamond Head Hike: What To Expect

The Diamond Head trail is family friendly and should be pretty easy for anyone with decent fitness, but you’ll want to bring water and sunscreen.

The only thing that makes it a bit more difficult is the mid-day heat and some uphill sections that can be strenuous. Go early in the morning or late in the afternoon for cool weather and less crowds.

A large part of the trail is paved with railings, but it does get a bit crowded because it’s one of Oahu’s most popular attractions and it’s so close to Honolulu.
 

Hiker walking down the steps at Diamond Head trail, with ocean views in the distance

On the way back down from the Diamond Head crater overlook (you can see the Diamond Head Lighthouse on the right).

After a small tunnel and about 100 steps, you’ll reach a lookout point with a World War II bunker. Climb another 50 steps from there, and you’ll reach the summit.

The great thing about the Diamond Head overlook is that you get fantastic summit views of the Diamond Head crater (leftovers of an old volcanic eruption), along with some lookout pillboxes from World War II, and Honolulu city in the background.

All in all, the Diamond Head trail is a worthy addition to your Honolulu hike list. As always, please remember to keep the trail clean, be considerate of other hikers, and leave no trace. Thanks and happy travels!
 

Diamond Head Reservations

Since 2022, reservations are required for out-of-state visitors to Diamond Head. You can make an advance booking on this page of the Hawaii state parks website.

Hawaii state residents can still visit Diamond Head without a reservation.
 

Hours & Entrance Fees

  • Hours: 6 AM – 6 PM (last entry 4 PM)
  • Parking Fee: $10 per car
  • Hiking Fee: $5 per person

These are the current hours and entrance fees for the Diamond Head hike, as of 2022. These fees have to be paid online here.

Parking and hiking are both FREE for Kama’aina (all Hawaii residents) if you can show ID.
 

How To Get There

Diamond Head crater is located just south of Waikiki and Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

It’s a 10 minute drive from Waikiki by car, or 20-30 minutes if you take TheBus.

Keep in mind there’s no bus stop inside of Diamond Head crater (the nearest stops are by the outside rim), so there’s an extra 10 minutes of walking involved if you go by bus.

However, the Waikiki trolley has a stop just inside the crater, and you can buy a trolley pass here.


 

Best Time To Visit

Generally the best time to climb Diamond Head is in the morning, that way you avoid most of the heat and crowds.

Photography is great at the Diamond Head lookout all day long, so you should get spectacular views and pictures at any time of the day.
 

Diamond Head vs Koko Head

So in a comparison of the Diamond Head hike vs Koko Head, how do these two popular volcano hikes in Oahu stack up? That’s a good question, and I’ll try to answer.

Both hikes are roughly the same distance roundtrip (1.8 vs 1.6 miles), and they take roughly the same amount of time to complete, but Koko Head has about 50% more elevation gain than Diamond Head crater. That means Koko is steeper and harder.

The path on the Diamond Head trail is in much better condition than the Koko stairs, so it’s definitely more suitable for kids and older people. If you want a good workout and calorie burn, however, Koko Head wins there. Koko is also better for seeing the sunrise or sunset.

The views at the summits are different, but great on both hikes. Diamond Head and Koko Head are both extinct volcano craters, and you can see old World War II military bunkers (‘pillboxes’) at the top of either summit.

Diamond Head is closer to the city and it has amazing views of Waikiki and Honolulu, while Koko Head has amazing views of Hawaii Kai and Hanauma Bay. Overall, they’re both great hikes if you have time!

Read More: Koko Head Hike

Koko Head Volcano

Koko Head is harder and has different views from Diamond Head, but they’re both nice hikes.


 

More Hawaii Travel Tips

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for the Diamond Head Hawaii hike.

Don’t forget to check out my other Oahu hiking guides and my complete list of the best things to do in Oahu Hawaii!
 

Where To Stay In Oahu

 
 

Best Oahu Tours


 

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7 comments

Robert March 24, 2021 - 3:34 am

Fantastic day hike with excellent views, it was a highlight of our visit to Oahu. We had a Waikiki Trolley pass for the week and it stopped just inside the crater. That line also serviced the farmers market, another interesting visit. Try the octopus balls!

Reply
David March 24, 2021 - 3:42 am

Interesting. Thanks Robert!

Reply
Lilia Mejia June 24, 2021 - 2:18 am

Hi David we Goin Tomorrow
How do we get a Waikki trolley pass

Reply
David June 24, 2021 - 2:26 am Reply
Tom July 30, 2022 - 8:41 am

Have not seen a trolley there since 2021.

Reservations are now REQUIRED for visitors.

Thank you for your otherwise generally nice story.

Reply
David July 31, 2022 - 7:23 am

Thanks for the heads up. I just updated the article to include some info about reservations.

Reply
Best Things To Do In Oahu Hawaii (Fun, Couples) – takemeaway.world September 27, 2023 - 8:41 pm

[…] Point, Koko Head, and the Crouching Lion hike. Easy trails for families include Diamond Head and the Pu’u Ma’eli’eli […]

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