Oahu’s Most Famous Hike: The Diamond Head Crater Hike

There are affiliate links in here.  I get a small commission if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you.

The Diamond Head Crater Hike is a must-do if you’re visiting Oahu.  While it may look like a tough, long hike from afar, it really only takes about an hour to get to the top, rewarding you with 360-degree views of Waikiki, Honolulu, and the surrounding area.  So, basically, this is totally worth it.  It’s one of the iconic hikes on Oahu.


The trail starts on the west side of the crater and kicks off with a set of dirt switchbacks.  It can be kind of pothole-y with loose gravel, so keep an eye out for that. 

At the end of the switchbacks, you’ll get to the first overlook, a good place to take a break and enjoy the view.

Next up is the stairs, 99 of them to be exact.  They’re in a tunnel, that’s not very big, so it gets cozy with people going up and down at the same time. 


I think I made it up without any issues, as a spritely 15-year-old.  I’m sure now I would be huffing and puffing because I hate stairs, though I would still do it.

At the top of the stairs, you’ll come out of the bunker thing.  This used to be used by the US Army as part of the Fort Ruger military base, hence the stairs and bunker.

Once you’re out of the bunker, you’ve pretty much made it!  You can hang out at the top and admire the even better views over Waikiki Beach and the Diamond Head crater you just climbed up to. 


It can be busy up here since pretty much everyone that visits Honolulu does this, so be prepared to know you probably won’t have it to yourself.

Of course, not everyone is here for the views, locals will come here to run up and down the trail for a little workout. 

Don’t feel bad if you get passed by runners.  They probably do it all the time.  This is also where you can, apparently, find the record for the longest recorded land views in the world.  Who knew?


Where is the Diamond Head Crater trailhead?

The Diamondhead Crater is on the southeast side of Oahu just ten minutes from Waikiki Beach, 20 minutes from Kokohead, and one hour from Waimea Valley.

How to get to the Diamond Head Crater hike from Waikiki

It’s pretty easy to get to the Diamondhead trailhead but here are some general directions, too.


First, you’ll drive through Kapiolani Park (at the end of Waikiki) towards Diamond Head on Kalakaua Boulevard, which turns into Poni Moi Road. 

Then you’ll turn Right onto Diamond Head Road and follow it around the crater.  To stay on Diamond Head Road, merge left when the road intersects with Kahala Avenue. 

After you pass 18th Avenue on the right side, turn left towards the Diamond Head Crater.  There is no street name, but there is a big sign for Diamond Head State Monument.  Follow this road through a tunnel to the center of the Diamond Head Crater.

By Bus

Take bus 23 from Waikiki to Kuhio Avenue towards Diamond Head.  You’ll just want to get off at the Diamond Head State Monument stop. 


How long is the Diamond Head Crater hike?

The Diamondhead Crater hike is about 1.9 miles round-trip, maybe a little more if you’re parked outside of the crater or made the trek from Waikiki.

Is the Diamond Head Crater hike hard?

The Diamondhead Crater hike has about 524 feet of elevation gain. It’s not super tough, people of all ages can definitely do it, but there are 99 stairs in there so keep that in mind.


Diamond Head Crater hike entrance fee

There is a $5 entry fee plus a $10 parking fee to visit Diamondhead Crater.

Diamond Head Crater hike opening hours

The park is open from 6AM to 6PM every day, but the trail closes at 4:30PM, so make sure you get there before that.

Diamondhead Crater reservations

As of 2022 non-residents now need reservations to hike Diamondhead Crater. They can be made here 30 days in advance and you must arrive within the first 30 minutes of your time.

If hiking Diamondhead is something you really want to do while you’re on Oahu, definitely book ahead.


What to bring on your Diamond Head Crater hike

Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side.  They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.

Water bottle – It’ll be hot and you’ll need to stay hydrated.  Even if it’s not hot you need to stay hydrated.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen.  I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, or a visor.  A baseball hat should be fine but I like my giant sun hat, too.

Sunglasses – This is a must no matter where you are.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly depending on where you are, time of day, and season.  I usually use my rain jacket for this.

Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking, just in case. 

Have you been to Waikiki?  Did you hike to the Diamond Head crater?  What was your favorite thing to do there?

11 thoughts on “Oahu’s Most Famous Hike: The Diamond Head Crater Hike

    1. I definitely believe that! I’d love to go back to see another island or four haha

    2. well, if you’re a nature fan, I’d say you may disagree with that statement. the Big Island has so much more to see. but any island in Hawaii is beautiful and unique after all.

      1. I want to see the Big Island, Maui, and Kaui (I’m not sure how to spell that) to do a lot of hiking!

Leave a Reply to Megan Johnson!Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.