My mom was visiting us this past week, and her top thing she wanted to do was to hike Diamond Head. There are so many things to do here, and this one was a simple request. We woke up early(ish) one morning and set off to complete the trail.
What is Diamond Head? This is a crater located in Honolulu and claims to be Hawaii’s most recognized landmark. Lē’ahi, as it is called in Hawaiian, is a 300,000 year-old crater that can now be accessed by a trail for adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and tourists galore. Wildlife and vegetation were introduced in the area in late 1800s, and the trail to the crater ridge was formed in 1908. The trail was originally constructed as part of the coastal defense system and has military history, but today it is a steep hike up 560 feet to view the coast and Waikiki. *thank you to the Hawaii State Parks website for the technical information*
I like to research everything and figure out the perfect time for excursions; honestly, it is my anxiety. I want to make sure that I am prepared for every possible scenario. I read that there was little parking available close to the trail entrance, so you should arrive either before 10:00 am or after 2:00 pm to avoid the peak hours. However, we arrived before 9:00 am and had to wait for parking. When the parking area is described as small, it is no joke. However, people are continually coming and going, so I think we only waited 15 minutes for a spot. The park costs $1 per person to enter or $5 per car (if parking there), so it is quite affordable. Disclaimer: this is cash only! There is a food stand and a gift shop/information center at the base as well. We had water and sunscreen, so we took off – just my mom, Addie, and myself.
I thought this would be more challenging than it was – everyone I know who has visited or lived here talks about the incline and how the view is worth the hike. We found it not terribly strenuous. There are parts that are a little uneven and rocky, so strollers and unsteady individuals will not make the trek. The hardest parts of the hike are the 99 stairs at the end and the traffic along the hike. This is a busy place on Oahu! The heavy traffic lets you take the hike at a leisurely pace and to take in the surroundings as you ascend the crater. Once at the top, the views do not disappoint. The water, the city, the greenery, and the wildlife are all spectacular. I could have taken a thousand pictures, but I felt more than content to sit and enjoy my apple atop Diamond Head for a few minutes
Once we made a leisurely descent, we rewarded ourselves with shave ices and some yoga in the park in the center of the crater. Of course, I purchased some postcards from the gift shop – it’s my thing with every place we see and visit. I LOVE mail, so of course I send it to those I love. All in all, we left feeling sweaty, accomplished, and happy. This whole hike and eating took less than 2 hours, and it was a perfect start to the day. I think if I lived nearby, I would visit more often!
If you would like more information on Diamond Head, I highly recommend the website below. There are also some great travel blogs to help you get the dos and don’ts of hiking and tourism on Oahu. I hope you all can experience Diamond Head at least once – I plan to do it several times!