What you should know before hiking Diamond Head

No doubt that if your thinking about travelling to Honolulu you've heard that Diamond Head is a must do. While I was in Hawaii we nearly ran out of time to do this but we got up early to try and make it before the crowds arrived.

Diamond Head is one of the most popular hikes in Hawaii and you can probably see why! It's gorgeous and the 360 degree view of Oahu is breathtaking.


To get to the start of the Diamond Head trial you have two options, walk or drive. We decided to drive and try our luck with parking. Due to going early we didn't have a problem parking which was good. If you choose to walk from Waikiki this can take over an hour to get to the start of the trailhead but you get to take in the surrounding scenery. You also get to walk through a tunnel that will take you to the middle of a giant ancient crater.

Once you start the hike up Diamond Head, depending on what time of year you are there, you will get hot pretty fast. If you have activewear and sneakers with you I would definitely recommend that. If you don't, not to worry, just wear something lightweight and breathable. I probably wouldn't recommend wearing jandals because some of the path is quite uneven. If it has been raining it could possibly be a bit slippery in some areas as well.

As you are walking you notice glimpses of Diamond Head's military history. The US Army built this trail at the beginning of the 20th century.

diamond head
diamond head

From what I had heard about Diamond Head I was expecting a tough walk. I had heard it being described as strenuous but I don't think this is quite the right word. If you are from New Zealand, climbing up The Mount is probably tougher than hiking Diamond Head.

It is just under a mile in length and mostly uphill. Don't take this the wrong way thinking I'm saying this walk is super easy, I still got pretty hot and sweaty but if for some reason you are thinking about not doing this walk because you are worried you aren't fit enough, or it will be too hard etc. etc. trust me, you will be fine! The estimate is about one hour to get to the summit but we managed to get up and back down in this time. The trail opens at 6am so the earlier you go, the less the heat will slow you down. The last entry for the trail is 4.30pm as it closes at 6pm.

Once you reach the 560ft summit, the views are pretty spectacular. It's busy at the top as everyone is trying to get the perfect pic but if your patient you'll get your turn. People were considerate and letting others take their photos before they jumped in trying to capture their own.

If you want to officially reach the highest point, there is a small set of stairs taking you up to a little platform and this is where you will get the best panoramic views!

What to bring with you

  1. Camera!!
  2. Water
  3. Sunscreen
  4. Cash for entry ($1 for pedestrians, $5 for cars - they only accept cash so this is important!!)

What not to bring with you

  1. Food - it just takes up room in your bag and personally I don't think you need anything as long as you've eaten before you go. This walk isn't going to take you hours and hours so I'm sure you'll survive! (If you walk from Waikiki you might need something small to keep you going)
  2. A jumper
  3. Jandals
  4. Pram/pushchair - it would be difficult getting this up there with the uneven terrain

If you are planning on heading to Hawaii anytime soon leave a comment below! Or if you have done the Diamond Head hike, what did you think?