Diamond Head Crater is one of the most recognized landmarks of Hawaii. Located just east of Waikiki on the southern shore of the island of Oahu, Diamond Head is home to the most popular hike on Oahu. I highly recommend this hike to first time visitors to the island. It’s close proximity to Waikiki makes it easily accessible for those without rental cars. You’ll need to walk a bit to get to the trailhead, but the views at the top will be worth it. Those with rental cars will need to pay $5 for parking & entrance. Pedestrians will need to pay $1/person for entrance.
I recommend doing this hike either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the hot sun. The trail opens at 6 AM and the last entrance is at 4:30 PM. Everyone must be down by 6 PM.
Before leaving the hotel make sure to lather up on sunscreen. Bring the sunglasses and hat. If the sun is out, you will want to wear very little because it will be HOT and sweaty. Sneakers would be good, but honestly this hike could be done in slippers just in case you forgot to pack sneakers. The only thing I would carry is bottled water and a camera. There is NOTHING on the top, no souvenir shop, no water fountain, no toilet, nowhere to even pop a squat, nothing.
At the beginning of the trailhead however there is a truck that sells refreshments. And there are public restrooms and water fountains.
I would categorize this hike as easy. I saw many kids, adults of all ages, and even a woman carrying a baby! There is really no danger on this hike. I would just say if it’s rainy or if the trail is wet from previous rainfall, it can be slightly slippery since most of the trail is rock. The trail itself winds up along the inside wall of the crater. By far the hardest parts of the hike are the stairs at the end. There is a section between the two staircases that is a dimly lit tunnel. It’s a bit claustrophobic, so just forewarning those that don’t like tight spaces.
I started this hike at 10:30 AM and it took me 30 minutes to reach the summit, at which point I was hot and sweaty for sure and glad I had brought my water bottle. I would estimate 1.5-2 hours roundtrip from the trailhead, which takes into consideration stopping for pictures and time on the summit. If you are walking from Waikiki, I would add on another hour.
Have fun and be safe.
0:25 Hike starts as a concrete sidewalk
0:27 After about 5 minutes the trail becomes rocky with a handrail
0:48 This is at the scenic viewpoint stop before the stairs begin
1:12 First set of stairs before tunnel
1:24 Tunnel opening
1:27 Bottom of second set of stairs
1:32 Spiral staircase
1:48 Pillbox at the top of the spiral staircase
2:04 Views of Waikiki and east Oahu