Diamond Head Crater Hike

I thought I was going to die hiking this trail.

Here’s the description that the Hawaii State Parks website gives about the hike:

Description: The unique profile of Diamond Head (Le’ahi) sits prominently near the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline. Hawaii’s most recognized landmark is known for its historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history. Diamond Head State Monument encompasses over 475 acres, including the interior and outer slopes of the crater.

This broad, saucer-shaped crater was formed about 300,000 years ago during a single, explosive eruption that sent ash and fine particles in the air. As these materials settled, they cemented together into a rock called tuff, creating the crater, and which is visible from the trail in the park. Most of the vegetation and birds were introduced in the late 1800s to early 1900s.

The trail to the summit of Le’ahi was built in 1908 as part of O’ahu’s coastal defense system. The 0.8 mile hike from trailhead to the summit is steep and strenuous, gaining 560 feet as it ascends from the crater floor. The walk is a glimpse into the geological and military history of Diamond Head. A concrete walkway built to reduce erosion shifts to a natural tuff surface about 0.2 mile up the trail with many switchbacks traversing the steep slope of the crater interior. The ascent continues up steep stairs and through a lighted 225-foot tunnel to enter the Fire Control Station completed in 1911. Built on the summit, the station directed artillery fire from batteries in Waikiki and Fort Ruger outside Diamond Head crater. At the summit, you’ll see bunkers and a huge navigational lighthouse built in 1917. The postcard view of the shoreline from Koko Head to Wai’anae is stunning, and during winter, may include passing humpback whales.

560 FEET! It felt like 8.0 miles not 0.8 miles.

There were fat people and little kids just going at it but boy was I struggling! It felt like I was doing lunges the whole way up AND down the mountain. I didn’t take any of my own pictures because my phone was dying but I’ll post some pictures so you can have a sense of my hike last Friday. Overall I had a fun time. It’s good to go out and exercise and these weekly hikes with Mark have been kind of invigorating.

And here’s what it looks like going up and down:

If anyone is looking for a real challenge, this is it!

This week I want to try something less steep and more dense with greenery.

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2 thoughts on “Diamond Head Crater Hike

  1. Janet says:

    It looks easy in the photos, but I know by experience, going up is hard. 🙂 And yes, you do feel like you’ve walked much farther than what you actually do when going up. Was it humid there too?

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