In the heart of the stunning island of Oahu lies a majestic volcanic crater known as Diamond Head. This iconic destination, with its distinct silhouette, is not just a testament to the island’s volcanic origins but also serves as a beacon for travelers seeking a blend of natural beauty and cultural significance. For those venturing to Hawaii, Diamond Head is not merely a hiking spot; it’s a symbol of the Aloha spirit, a gateway to Honolulu’s past, and an essential experience that embodies the broader tapestry of the Hawaiian archipelago. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an adventurous hiker, or someone seeking a serene view, Diamond Head promises a journey that is intrinsically tied to the heart and soul of Hawaii.


  • The hike to the summit of Diamond Head provides spectacular views of the southeast coastline as well as sweeping views of Honolulu.
  • In addition to its rich historical significance, Diamond Head is a popular destination for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, running, and picnicking.
  • The landscape surrounding Diamond Head features dramatic lava formations that have been formed by centuries of erosion by wind and rain.
  • Visitors can take in breathtaking sunset views each evening as they watch the colors of day slowly give way to nightfall.
  • The clear Island air makes for perfect conditions to marvel at constellations, planets, and meteors without any light pollution obstructing their vision.
  • On special occasions throughout the year, visitors can experience a show of vibrant colors as fireworks burst in the sky above Diamond Head.


Arial view from Diamond Head Hike

Diamond Head, also known as Lēʻahi in Hawaiian, is a volcanic cone on Oʻahu Island in Hawaii. Its name comes from the Hawaiian words lae (brow-ridge) and ʻahi (tuna), as the ridgeline resembles a tuna’s dorsal fin. British sailors named it Diamond Hill in 1825 due to the calcite crystals found on the beach. Diamond Head is part of the Honolulu Volcanic Series, which includes other famous landmarks on Oʻahu. It is estimated to be around 300,000 years old.

Historically, Diamond Head and its surrounding areas were used for military purposes, including Fort Ruger, the first U.S. military reservation in Hawaii. Today, only Battery 407 and the Birkhimer Tunnel remain in use in the crater. Preserved since the 1960s, Diamond Head offers a 1.6-mile roundtrip trail, climbing 560 vertical feet, with affordable access fees and opportunities for rest and refreshments. The crater has also housed an FAA air traffic control center from 1963 to 2002. Diamond Head is a must-visit attraction for both tourists and locals, offering an exhilarating hike to the summit with breathtaking views. The Visitor Center serves as a gateway to explore the history, geology, and ecology of Diamond Head, offering self-guided audio tours and souvenirs. The preservation of this sacred site is a gift to residents, ensuring that the trail and its rich history will be respected for years to come.

Things to Do


Hiking at Diamond Head
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Hiking is one of the most popular activities, as the trail leading to the summit offers breathtaking views of Honolulu and its surrounding area. The hike takes 1-2 hours round trip and covers 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers), with switchbacks that rise more than 560 feet (170 meters). Along the way, hikers will see World War II-era bunkers that were built in the 1940s to defend Oahu from possible invasion.

Climb to the Summit of Diamond Head and take in breathtaking views of the Hawaiian Islands! At the summit, visitors can admire stunning 360-degree views of Waikiki Beach, Honolulu Harbor, and other parts of Oahu. Located on the eastern end of Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head stands at 760 feet above sea level and is one of the most iconic landforms in Hawaii. The summit provides a panoramic view stretching from Koko Head to Kaena Point, with stunning views of Honolulu Harbor, Waikiki Beach, and the Pacific Ocean. The summit was a strategic military lookout point during World War II.

There are several points of interest along the way up, including gun emplacements that were used during this time. The hike to the top is a half-mile trek with a steep incline – it’s more like climbing stairs than an actual hike! It takes roughly 1-2 hours for most people to make it to the top depending on how often you stop and admire the scenery along the way. It’s best to go early in the morning or late afternoon when it isn’t as hot outside so bring plenty of water and dress appropriately for your journey! Visitors who don’t want to take part in a strenuous hike can still take advantage of Diamond Head’s offerings: there are eight separate lookout points located along the crater rim, perfect for taking photos or just taking in the view from a distance.

Explore the Lighthouse and Museum

Lighthouse at Diamond Head
© Pixta

Check out the Diamond Head State Monument’s historic lighthouse, built in 1917 and still in use today. Inside the Lighthouse, visitors can view artifacts from times past, such as 19th-century navigational tools and photographs of Diamond Head’s first surveyors. The museum located inside the Monument also offers a wide selection of exhibits about Hawaii’s rich history. Learn more about the culture of native Hawaiian people, as well as their unique customs and traditions. With a range of interactive displays and educational videos, this small museum is sure to provide insight into Hawaii’s fascinating past.

Have a Picnic at the Summit

Diamond Head peak
© Shutterstock

Pack a picnic and head up to the summit of the Diamond Head crater for an awe-inspiring experience. As you ascend the trails of this iconic volcanic tuff cone, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Oahu’s south shore. From the top, you can spot popular spots like Waikiki Beach, Koko Head, and Hanauma Bay. After catching your breath after the steep hike, take a few moments to savor your favorite snacks while soaking in the breathtaking scenery. With its unique geological features and beautiful views, Diamond Head is a must-see destination for any visitor to Oahu!

Watch Fireworks on Fridays

Waikiki Fireworks Diamond Head
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The spectacular fireworks show seen from Diamond Head lookout points near Waikiki Beach takes place every Friday night, from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Viewers can experience the beautiful colors and shapes of the fireworks from nearby vantage points, with unparalleled views of Honolulu’s skyline in the background. The display is organized by a professional pyrotechnician team who puts on a unique and unforgettable show for onlookers. Many visitors come to watch the display, so it is advised to arrive early to secure a spot with an excellent view. People can also bring their own picnic baskets and snacks to enjoy while watching the show. The dazzling array of hues fills up the night sky like no other spectacle in town, making for a memorable evening full of fun and wonder.

Attend Summer Concerts at the Lookout

Diamond Head State Monument is the perfect place for a summer music experience. Every Saturday night in the summer months, visitors can enjoy free live music performances at lookouts near the entrance gate. The thrilling views of Waikiki and Honolulu are illuminated by a beautiful sunset while guests sway to the melodic tunes of up-and-coming local musicians. For those looking for something a little more intimate, concertgoers can also find seclusion around Diamond Head’s summit where they can relax on their picnic blanket and take in the breathtaking panoramic views. A variety of genres are represented at each performance, so there’s sure to be something that appeals to everyone. Whether you’re looking to rock out or just want to soak in some culture, Diamond Head State Monument is where you’ll find your groove this summer!

Go Stargazing with Telescopes

At the summit of Diamond Head, you can take in the night sky while using your telescope or one from a local stargazing tour. Not only can you observe the stars and planets, but you may also spot comets and distant galaxies. On a clear night, you might even see the Milky Way in all its glory! With an experienced tour guide to point out highlights and explain astronomical concepts, your evening will be truly unforgettable. On select nights throughout October–April, join astronomy enthusiasts on top of Diamond Head for guided stargazing sessions with high-powered telescopes provided by WCC Astronomy Club volunteers.

Catch Sunrise/Sunset Views

Get up early to catch one of nature’s most beautiful shows—a sunrise over Waikiki—or stick around after dark for a stunning sunset view from atop one of Honolulu’s most beloved landmarks! Diamond Head is one of the best places in Hawaii to witness a majestic sunrise or sunset. The transition from night into day, or day into night, will leave you mesmerized and in awe of this stunning location. As you watch the sky transform into an array of vibrant hues, the picturesque landscape will add to the beauty of the experience.

Diamond Head Tours

Diamond Head Crater Hiking Tour

Diamond Head Hiking Tour

From USD 42.87


Best of Oahu Hiking Combo

From USD 79.57

Diamond Head Sunrise Hiking Shuttle from Waikiki - Blue Lei Hawaii Tours

Diamond Head Sunrise Hiking

From USD 59.00


See more tours here.

Tips for Exploring Diamond Head

Diamond Head Sunrise Hiking Shuttle from Waikiki - Blue Lei Hawaii Tours
© Blue Wave Tour

When visiting Diamond Head, it is important to come prepared for a long hike and spend time in the sun.

  • Make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and a hat to keep your skin protected from the intense Hawaiian sun.
  •  Wear comfortable shoes as the trails can be rocky and uneven. Insect repellent may also be helpful if you plan to explore during the day.
  • Never venture off of the marked trails and pay attention to any signage or warnings that are posted.
  • Make sure not to touch any animal or plant life as some areas may be home to rare species.
  • Dangerous conditions such as slippery rocks and strong ocean currents should also be avoided at all costs.
  • If possible, bring a buddy with you for extra safety precautions while exploring Diamond Head.

Best Time to Visit, Admission Fees & Hours

The best time to visit Diamond Head is between May and October due to the relatively dry and warm climate. During this period, there are fewer crowds, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the crater without the hustle and bustle of tourists. Admission fees of $1 per walk-in visitor and $5 per vehicle apply. The hours vary throughout the year but are generally open from 6 am-6 pm Tuesday through Sunday, with early closure on Mondays at 4:30 pm.

Nearby Attractions

Waikiki Beach
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The area surrounding Diamond Head is a great spot for tourists looking to explore more of the Hawaiian islands. From the quiet beaches of Kailua to bustling downtown Honolulu, there are plenty of attractions worth visiting after taking in the majestic view from Diamond Head’s summit.

Kailua Beach Park is a great spot for swimming and snorkeling. It’s also a popular destination for windsurfing and sailing due to its calm waters. Visitors can also take part in activities like stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. For a more leisurely experience, take a stroll along the shoreline to enjoy views of the Mokulua Islands off the coast. Heading towards downtown Honolulu, you’ll find many more places to explore such as Iolani Palace and Waikiki Beach. The Palace is Hawaii’s only royal palace, built by King Kalakaua in 1882. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1962, making it an important cultural site to visit when in Honolulu. Waikiki Beach is an iconic spot best known for its white sand beaches and crystal clear blue waters – perfect for sunbathing or engaging in various water sports activities like surfing and snorkeling.

No trip to Oahu would be complete without visiting Pearl Harbor . This World War II monument is home to the USS Arizona Memorial which commemorates those who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, and serves as a reminder of national pride and patriotism today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Diamond Head was formed around 300,000 years ago

The peak of Diamond Head stands at 760 feet above sea level.

Yes, there is an entrance fee for visiting Diamond Head. Currently, the entry fee of $1 per walk-in visitor and $5 per vehicle applies.

Generally speaking photography is permitted throughout Diamond Head Diamond however please note that commercial filming and photographing requires the Head a permit from the DLNR Division of that State Parks Administrative Office ahead of time popular before beginning such activities within the park grounds so be sure to contact tourists them well in advance if needed for your project.

Yes, guided tours are available through various tour companies offering hikes around diamond head crater led by experienced guides who provide insight into geological features along with historical information about Hotel this landmark

No, pets are not allowed on the premises of Diamond Head State Monument. This is to protect the natural wildlife and allow visitors to enjoy a peaceful experience while exploring the area. Additionally, pets can disrupt the local bird populations and could potentially disrupt the fragile ecosystems present in the area. For these reasons, all visitors must respect this policy and leave their pet companions at home when visiting Diamond Head.

How to Get There

By Car

From Waikiki. take a scenic drive south on Kalakaua Avenue, leading you to Monsarrat Avenue and Diamond Head Road. Keep following the road until you spot the signs for the Diamond Head Visitor Centre and Crater Trailhead. Convenient car parking is available upon arrival, with a small fee of $10 per car. Alternatively, there are a few free parking spots just outside the crater, although they can be hard to come by.

By Bus

Take Bus 23 from Waikīkī to the Diamond Head Monument stop, and from there, enjoy a scenic walk inside the crater. To find the exact bus route, you can use the local bus app called “DaBus”, which is available for download on the App Store or Google Play.

Discover the Wonders of Diamond Head in Hawaii!

Get ready to uncover the secrets that make Diamond Head truly exceptional! Immerse yourself in its rich history and embark on an unforgettable exploration. Experience awe-inspiring vistas from the summit, capturing picture-perfect moments at every turn.