Diamond Head Hike (2022 RESERVATIONS NOW REQUIRED)

Diamond Head Hike (COMPLETELY DIFFERENT 2022 – RESERVATIONS NOW REQUIRED)

The Diamond Head Trail is the most popular of all the Hawaii hikes. I usually try to stay away from crowds of tourists, but the payoff of this trail makes it worth the hassle.

The Diamond Head Trail goes up the side of a volcanic crater and ultimately bestows jaw-dropping 360 degree views. Depending on which direction you look, you can see the blues of the ocean, Waikiki, or other gorgeous Hawaiian mountains.

Not only is the experience amazing, but it is located right next to Waikiki, which is where most of the Oahu tourists stay. Many visitors walk to the Diamond Head trailhead directly from their hotels. The hike is a good workout, but short enough to not knock you out of commission afterwards (unlike my favorite Koko Crater Trail).

Diamond Head Hike Oahu
Views of Waikiki from Diamond Head

For those of you trying to get your bearings for a first trip to Oahu, start by reading the can’t miss places in Oahu

Most Popular Diamond Head Tours on Oahu

Day tour – Diamond Head Crater Hike and North Shore Experience – This popular tour includes Hotel pickup and drop-offend the Diamond Head admission fee. Free cancellation within 24 hrs. What to bring?

  • Hat
  • Credit card
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Water

MAY 2022 UPDATE – RESERVATIONS NOW REQUIRED

Due to its immense popularity and in an effort to prevent overcrowding, Hawaiian authorities have now decided to require reservations for anyone to hike Diamond Head. I’m not going to lie, it sucks having to make a reservation ahead of time, but if you do get a reservation you can enjoy the trail with way less people than before.

Supposedly the authorities set the goal of cutting the daily number of visitors in half. Not only do they limit the total number of visitors, but they are trying to better spread them out throughout the day.

Diamond Head Reservations

It now costs $5 to get in and hike Diamond Head, and another $10 if you want to drive through the tunnel and into the crater to park. Historically it was almost impossible to get a spot in this lot, but with the new capacity limits it is likely a lot easier.

You can make your reservations here.

The key things to know about the reservation process are:

  • Reservations can be made up to 14 days ahead of time
  • THEY WILL SELL OUT
  • You will have to choose and show up at an assigned time.
  • No pets allowed
  • The park is only open between 6 am and 4 pm
  • $5 per person, and $10 to park
Diamond Head Hike costs
Diamond Head Hike costs

Waikiki to Diamond Head

Diamond Head is one of the best hikes near Waikiki. It immediately borders Waikiki.

Can you walk to Diamond Head from Waikiki?

Yes, you could walk to Diamond Head from Waikiki. In fact, many visitors walk to the Diamond Head trailhead directly from their hotels. The walk will take about 45 minutes.

What to Expect at Diamond Head

Here is everything else you need to know if you plan on hiking Diamond Head.

Diamond Head Crater Hike Details

  • Distance: 1.6 miles out-and-back
  • Duration: Just under 1 hour
  • Elevation gain: Over 500 ft. (More if you hike to the parking lot from Waikiki)
  • Diamond Head hours: 6 am to 4 pm

What to wear:

Hiking Shoes – Make sure you have a good pair of tennis shoes (I love these Nikes) or, even better hiking shoes. These are the hiking shoes I highly recommend. They are cute, comfortable and waterproof. The only downside is they sellout quick. I recommend trying Nordstrom and DSW to get the best chance to find your size in stock.

Skims Outdoor Collection – I am pretty much obsessed with all things skims and their hiking collection is no exception. I love wearing the outdoor t-shirt with the matching leggings or bike shorts and sports bra. Trust me, it’s a vibe.

Hat – I may be biased but IMO Urban Outfitters has the best hats! Check out their new in stock here.

Diamond Head Parking

Historically, parking was a nightmare. But, with the new reservation system it is supposed to be available for anyone who is willing to pay.

Diamond Head Hike Length

The diamond head hike length is only about 1.6 miles out and back. This can vary a little bit depending on which side you start from. Also, given the parking difficulties most people will simply walk over from their Waikiki hotel, which can add another mile or so.

Diamond Head Hike Difficulty

Generally the Diamond Head Hike difficulty is rated as easy. While I agree that it isn’t especially strenuous, it isn’t a leisurely stroll. It is less than a mile up, but you definitely need to go up. 

Be prepared, at times the trail takes you through tunnels and up stairs. It is nice that it is pounded gravel or paved the entire way.

The path gains 560 feet from the crater floor.

Diamond Head Hike Time

Not counting the time you stop to take pictures, the Diamond Head hike time is usually just under an hour. Even if you can go at a faster pace, the crowds of people will generally slow you down.

The park is only open from 6 am to 4 pm, which kind of sucks that you can’t access it after sunset. They definitely lock it up.

Diamond Head State Monument Park Trail
Diamond Head State Monument Park Trail

Diamond Head Trailhead

The main Diamond Head trailhead is on the east side of the crater, which is the non-Waikiki side. They are just finishing up constructing a pedestrian tunnel directly from the Waikiki side. 

This new tunnel will allow you to get directly to the trailhead without having to walk all the way around.

Diamond Head Trailhead
Diamond Head Trailhead

The Views from the Top

Do I recommend this hike?

Even with the new restrictions, I still recommend including this hike. It now requires more advanced planning, but given that you are now much more likely to have additional space at the summit, the payoff should be even more sweet.

Other Hikes Near Waikiki

  • Mānoa Falls Trail
  • Ka’au Crater Trail
  • Wiliwilinui Hiking Trail
  • Aihualama Trail

What do you think? Is this hike worth the reservations and cost now required?

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