Diamond Head Hike
Diamond Head State Monument was on various “must-do” lists that we read before traveling to Oahu. We read up on the best times to go, parking, and costs before ultimately deciding to go. We found out that the entrance to the park stops at 4:30 p.m., but that park is open till 6 p.m. This means that going in at 4:30 p.m. helps to limit the foot traffic you will find yourself in because no one else will be coming into the park anymore, it is only people going out. Additionally, there is no shade, so going in at 4: 30 p.m. helped to beat the heat. Entrance fees are 5$ per car OR 1$ per pedestrian ( as of 2018).
The trial is a 1.6 mile loop with a 560 foot gain to the summit. The hike itself is very controlled, being a state monument, every aspect of the hike is restrained. There are guard rails and cement throughout the entirety of the hike. This meant the hike was a bit underwhelming in comparison to the free ridge-line hikes we had spent the last 5 days exploring. That being said, Diamond Head is a fun hike, it just may not give you the thrill adventure seekers may find two thousand feet about sea level standing on the edge of the ridge. Going up to the top of the crater is a steady climb, one that I would consider doable for even the most novice of hikers due to the ample opportunities to stop and rest. Most of the way up you come to a tunnel (it gets narrow enough to only allow one way traffic). Once you go through the tunnel you come to stairs to your right, or a cement walk way to the left. Both will get you to the top, but if you choose to go to the right that means choosing close to 100 stairs to climb. Choosing to go left means a steady uphill must like the first half of hike. We choose to go up one way, then down the opposite way. At the top you get a 360 view and unique look at the crater rim. The day we went the top area was shoulder to shoulder people which made exploration and picture taking troublesome. The hike took us approximately 45 minutes round trip, including some time soaking in the views at the top. When we arrived back at the start we discovered the delightful surprise of a vendor just off the parking lot that offered fresh pineapple, coconuts, smoothies, and various drinks. Of course we grabbed a fresh fruit smoothie and a bench to cool off and enjoy every minute of our vacation in Hawaii.