Treadmill Rating (out of 10): 5 out of 10
Distance: 2 miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
My family recently visited Oahu for a week. During the week we had the opportunity to see much of the island and do some hiking. Diamond Head is one of those hikes that should be done by everyone visiting the island. Mainly because it is such an iconic monument in Honolulu and because you can say you hiked up Diamond Head to your friends. The views from the top are absolutely beautiful with full panoramic views of Waikiki, Honolulu, and the surrounding areas. The summit sits at about 760 feet. From the top there is the opportunity to explore the 4 story underground military compound at the summit.
The trail is very well maintained and steep in certain areas. Plan on bringing plenty of water and a hat. The hike will be hot. There is a charge for hiking and parking and we recommend getting there as early as possible.
We made it to the summit in about 25 minutes and back down in about the same amount of time. There are a few large sections of stairs and a tunnel. There are about 175 total stairs on the hike (give or take a few). We saw several people who were not properly prepared for the hike (physically and mentally). The heat of the day and the steep portions caused some problems for the older folks heading down the trail. We were stuck behind some individuals who were having a very difficult time going down certain parts and causing some major traffic jams. This trail can get very busy, so please be prepared with a hat and plenty of water. And don’t forget to wear proper shoes.
HOW TECHNICAL IS THE HIKE?
Overall the hike is very easy, however, there are some large sections of stairs which may cause knee problems for people with knee issues. There is no question about where the trail is as it is very well marked and maintained. Many sections are paved which makes for easy walking.
I saw young children on this hike. I would honestly say that anyone in relatively good shape can handle this hike. Even if you are not in good shape it is possible to make it to the top an back down. Just remember to take your time and bring plenty of water. I probably lost 2lbs in sweat during our hike.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
The awesome part about this hike is the geographic location. I would recommend this hike anytime of the year. Obviously there may be days of heavy rain and wind, but for the most part the hike is accessible year round. I would highly recommend getting to the hike in the morning around 7 or 8am. It is much better to get on trail before the heat of the day.
Since this is more of an uphill walk rather than a hike I would recommend making sure your are in good enough shape to make it up and down several hundred stairs. Maybe climb the steps or bleachers at a local high school football field to make sure your body can handle the stairs.
GEAR LIST (day hike)
Water, good walking/hiking shoes, hat, camera, lots of water, food/snacks.