This is interesting, I am on my lanai at Waikiki Beach looking at Diamond Head while I write this. Diamond Head State Monument which is an iconic Hawaii landmark will require reservations for admission beginning May 12, 2022.
Diamond Head, The Crown Jewel Of Waikiki
The unique profile of Diamond Head (Lē‘ahi) sits prominently near the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline. Hawaii’s most recognized landmark is known for its historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history. Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres, including the interior and outer slopes of the crater.
This broad, saucer-shaped crater was formed about 300,000 years ago during a single, explosive eruption that sent ash and fine particles in the air. As these materials settled, they cemented together into a rock called tuff, creating the crater, and which is visible from the trail in the park. Most of the vegetation and birds were introduced in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Take A Hike
The trail to the summit of Lē‘ahi was built in 1908 as part of O‘ahu’s coastal defense system. The 0.8 mile hike from trailhead to the summit is steep and strenuous, gaining 560 feet as it ascends from the crater floor. The walk is a glimpse into the geological and military history of Diamond Head. A concrete walkway built to reduce erosion shifts to a natural tuff surface about 0.2 mile up the trail with many switchbacks traversing the steep slope of the crater interior. The ascent continues up steep stairs and through a lighted 225-foot tunnel to enter the Fire Control Station completed in 1911. Built on the summit, the station directed artillery fire from batteries in Waikiki and Fort Ruger outside Diamond Head crater. At the summit, you’ll see bunkers and a huge navigational lighthouse built in 1917. The postcard view of the shoreline from Koko Head to Wai‘anae is stunning, and during winter, may include passing humpback whales.
The park facilities on the crater floor of Diamond Head are fully accessible to those with disabilities. The hiking trail to the summit is not ADA accessible, it is very steep and uneven in some areas. The last 1/10 of a mile is all stairs and especially steep. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours for your hike. Wear good walking shoes, bring water, and wear a hat and sunscreen. The view of Waikiki Beach from the rim is spectacular. Be sure to get a photo while you are at the top.
Diamond Head State Monument like other natural wonders is gaining visitors back to pre-pandemic levels. In order to regulate the vehicular and people traffic is to set up a reservation system. This new system will be in place effective for visits arriving on May 12, 2022 or later.
“We want to reduce the impact of visitors and really ensure that our residents have access to these desirable places,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige said during a visit to Diamond Head last week. “We can control the numbers of people who visit a particular place so they can more easily be spread out across the day.”
To make reservations for Diamond Head State Monument, click here. The reservation screen looks like this:
The maximum booking window for Diamond Head reservations is 14 days.
Residents of Hawaii are exempt from requiring reservations if they possess a Hawaiian-issued photo ID.
What You Need To Know For Your Visit
HOURS OF OPERATION:
The park is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. The last admission is 4:00 pm and the gate closes at 6:00 pm.
WHAT IT COSTS:
- Non-Hawaii resident’s price is $5.00 per person,
- Children three and under are free and
- Hawaii residents are free.
WHAT TO BRING
- Good walking shoes with plenty of support,
- Water and a
I strongly discourage the wearing of flip-flops on this trail.
Parking is limited and the cost is $10.00 for non-commercial vehicles.
All fees are payable by credit card only.
Take “The Bus”
If you are staying in the Waikiki area, there is a simple and practical way to Diamond Head, take “The Bus”. The bus system in Honolulu is called “The Bus” and route 23 will take you to Diamond Head direct from Waikiki without any transfers. The Bus stops at Diamond Head Road and 18th Ave where you can walk through the east portal into the crater.
The Bus uses a tap-and-go system called the Holo Card. You can purchase the Holo Card and load or reload bus fares at many ABC and 7-Eleven stores in the Waikiki area. The adult all-day fare is capped at $5.50 while youth passes are capped at $2.50 per day.
Diamond Head is an amazing natural feature created by a volcano. It is a must-see at least once in your life. The views from the top are spectacular.
As with all great attractions, the number of visitors is taking a toll and the new reservation system will cap the number of visitors per day to protect the park. Make your reservations and enjoy this amazing natural monument.