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a view of the crater from the parking area
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Diamond Head Crater State Monument

3451 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI
Open 6-6, all year.
808-587-0300 (main parks #) 2 hours
January 2011 All year
$0-9 Honolulu Hawaii
Website Nature State Parks
First review
Diamond Head Crater is a 760 foot volcanic crater that overlooks Waikiki Beach on Oahu, HI. The crater is in a 475 acre state park. The primary attraction is a .75 mile trail to the summit that provides good views of nearby Waikiki and more distant Honolulu. This is the type of attraction that “everybody does” and the views justify the time, but you should expect company and be aware that the walk can be taxing.

Diamond Head Crater received its name from sailors in the 1800’s who mistook calcite crystals for diamonds. The crater was incorporated into coastal defense fortifications developed by the US military in the early 1900’s. In addition to the trail to the summit, the military installed lookout posts, bunkers and communications equipment. These facilities were designed to help direct artillery and mortar fire from nearby bases.

The walk to the summit includes tunnels and stairs and a bunker at the top. When the trail is crowded, these areas become chokepoints and long lines can result. Getting stuck in a tunnel surrounded by strangers on a hot day is probably not your idea of a fun activity, so it’s a good idea to visit at an off-peak, non-holiday time, such as late in the morning or early in the afternoon on a weekday.

Diamond Head is nearby the major hotels on Waikiki, so it attracts a lot of tourists. Given its popularity, most people clearly don’t mind the walk in order to appreciate the view. However, if long staircases, tunnels and lots of company, don’t sound appealing, you will want to look elsewhere to take a hike and let a photograph (see picture at right) make do for the view.
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