Are you traveling to Oahu and are wondering how to get to Diamond Head Crater in Hawaii? Whether you prefer to hike, drive or fly — we have the rundown for you the next time you’re heading for this tropical crater.
About the crater
Diamond Head State Monument offers incredible views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu from the island of Oahu. The scenery is so lovely, in fact, that it was used by the U.S. military as a post for preventing attacks on Honolulu. Diamond Head was considered the perfect place for their military because of the steep mountain walls and elevation provided a 360-degree view of the ocean, which allowed them to see incoming ships in the nearby waters.
(Image by John Liu)
The trailhead is adjacent to the parking lot within Diamond Head State Monument. The entrance is off Diamond Head Road between Makapu’u Avenue and 18th Avenue, Honolulu. Entry fee is $5 per vehicle or $1 per walk-in visitor.
When you get to the park you will be greeted by a parking agent who will tell you that parking is limited. They will allow you to circle a few times for a spot, but if you have waited too long and you are over sitting in your vehicle you may ask for a refund. The reason why parking is limited is that there is a small parking lot that was not meant for a lot of tourists.
Once you find a spot you will notice that there will be signs for the start of the path to the top. You can do the climb to the top but be sure you are physically able to do so. The hike is a series of paths coupled with a number of areas where there are major steps and some steep inclines.
(Image by Daniel O’Neal)
It is important to note that the weather can change very quickly so be sure you pack for rain and overcast.
When you are along the trail there will be a number of viewpoints you can stop and take pictures at. Once you reach the top you are going to want to be sure you have enough battery left so you can a few pictures of the amazing view. Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to do at the crater beside explore the grounds. You are going to want to stay on the path due to the steep terrain.
(Image by Daniel O’Neal)
When does the park open and close?
Diamond Head State Monument is open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day of the year (including holidays). It is important to note that the very latest you can enter the entrance the trail is at 4:30 p.m. The gates are locked at 6:00 p.m. daily, so all visitors must be out of the park by this time.
How to get to Diamond Head Crater
There are a number of different ways to experience the crater. You have the option to fly there, drive there or you can park and hike from outside the craters main parking lot. You might want to take advantage of the parking outside of the main parking lot due to the long lines for parking spots. The hike will be longer, but it’ll be worth it.
(Image by Eric Tessmer)
The best view you could possibly have is from above while you are inside of a helicopter. While you are in the sky you will be able to appreciate the sheer size of the crater as well as the lush green landscape that surrounds it. Tropical Helicopters offers can’t-miss discounted tours, and both the Oahu Island Adventure and the Ko Olina Resort tours will take you over this truly stunning landmark.
Whether you choose to ride in an individual vehicle or a commercial vehicle, prices for parking and entry vary. See below:
- $5.00 per car or $1 per person for pedestrians. CASH ONLY.
Commercial vehicles fees:
- $10.00 cars or vans
- $20 mini-buses
- $40 buses
Pricing information from: hawaiistateparks.org
(Image by Mathew Dillon)
The hiking trail there takes you to the edge of this 300,000-year-old crater. You’ll climb up the trail to the summit of Le’ahi (Diamond Head Crater). It was built in 1908 as part of Oahu’s coastal defense system. Finished in 1911, the Fire Control Station at the summit directed artillery fire from batteries in Waikiki and Fort Ruger outside Diamond Head Crater. This trek offers a glimpse into the geological and military history of the volcanic Diamond Head Crater.
Much of the trail comprises a natural tuff surface with switchbacks crossing the steep interior slope of the crater wall. The ascent continues up steep stairs and through a lit 225-foot tunnel. At the summit, you will view bunkers on the crater rim. Afterward, you can see a lighthouse built in 1917 along the coast, positioned just outside the crater. The postcard view of the shoreline of southeastern Oahu is jaw-dropping, and during the winter, you might even see humpback whales.
NOTE TO VISITORS: From the parking lot on the crater floor, the trail to the summit spans 0.8 miles one-way and reaches 560 ft. in elevation. There’s a paved walkway for 0.2 miles at the beginning of the hike. However, the trail becomes uneven and steep, so exercise caution and wear appropriate footwear. Portions of the trail involve steep stairways – so take your time. Another section of the trail runs through the long, lit tunnel.
What other tips for how to get to Diamond Head Crater in Hawaii do you have? Let us know!
For more information here are a few great resources about the park and other things to do while you visit Oahu:
- Top 10 Most Luxurious Things to Do on Oahu
- Diamond Head State Monument
- Division of State Parks
- What to Do on Oahu: Must-Dos for an Unforgettable Vacation
Tropical Helicopters is a reseller of Discount Helicopter Tours across Hawaii. We presently sell helicopters tours that depart out of these areas: Ko Olina (Oahu), North Shore (Oahu), Hilo (Hawaii Island), Kona (Hawaii Island). Please visit us from time to time as we grow our offerings. Contact us at (866) 961-6810 to book your reservations with Tropical Helicopters today.