I have hiked Diamond Head many years ago and decided it was time to once again embark on the hike. The enthusiastic hotel concierge said it would take at least one hour to climb from the summit to the crater top. I’m surprised he was able to get out of his chair little lone hike Diamond Head. Hmm this sounds like a challenge.

Starting at the crater floor, I was a little awestruck knowing I was about to climb to the summit. However, it is only 1.3km along a winding trail. The trail built in 1908 was made of cement and rocks. It’s uneven, in some places narrow and steep. Thankfully there is a banister to grip onto.

The eclectic group of tourists was vast. The runners, the elderly with walking sticks, young parents carrying babies, the enthusiastic honeymooners and the Japanese in heels. Kept me entertained. How hard can this climb be with this eclectic group of hikers?? Perhaps I’ve selected the wrong hike.

I started the hike mid-morning in the searing heat. Sweating profusely. I could feel the sunblock washing off my face. Perhaps this was going to be harder than I initially thought.

The winding trail hugged the crater for a few kilometers, in some points it was only wide enough for a single file. This was a great opportunity for a break from the blistering sun.

The trail led to a dark tunnel. I had to smile as there were a number of people who would not venture in. For goodness sake, they needed a good push to get going. Once in the dark tunnel, brushing past sweaty arms and legs along the dimly lit path. All that can be heard is “sorry”, “oh sorry” I was wondering where my antiseptic wipes were, I’ll need them after this tunnel adventure.

The tunnel finished at a T-Section. Left for easy. Seriously, what does that mean? Right for hard. How hard is “hard”? Will the high heel crew be able to handle ‘hard’?

There were 99 steep steps, leading to the outlook. I decided to turn left and take the easier journey. This also had steps, steep undulating paths and had a considerable amount of congestion. This is where the eclectic group of hikers had ventured. I’m starting to think I’m one of them.

Once at the top, the views are magic. I checked my stopwatch, 29mins. Brilliant. Well worth the sweat and heat. To get the most out of your hike here are the must-haves.

Wear correct shoes

The ground is uneven. There is no point wearing heels or thongs.

When I was hiking to the summit there was an American lady being carried down. She was in incredible pain and it was obvious she had rolled her ankle. It was huge. She was holding thongs. Seriously!! What was she thinking?

It was a dry morning I decided to wear sneakers as they have a great grip on them. I definitely do not want to be carried off the crater.

Wear a hat and Sunscreen

There is little shade if any. The sun feels incredibly strong and hot. Wear a hat. And apply plenty of sunscreen. Arrive either early or late so that you miss the searing mid-day sun.

Take Water

I noticed most people were out of breath as they venture to the summit. With the heat and humidity, it is important to take a bottle of water with you. I was surprised I consumed it all.

Keep Going, don’t give up at the tunnel

Walking into a dark tunnel with sweaty arms brushing against yours, with only a dim light to guide you, can be daunting. The tunnel is 68m in length, which is nothing. At least when you are heading back to the crater floor you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It was surprising and a little annoying to see people approach the tunnel then turn around.

Keep going and don’t give up.

Getting there

There are three options to get to the crater.

  1. Walk from Waikiki beach which will take just over an hour. This sounds like hard work.
  2. Catch the local bus. $5 for an all-day ticket. The driver will not announce when to get off, so make sure you are concentrating.
  3. Catch the Green Tourist Trolley. $25 seems like an exorbitant amount to pay for a trolley that takes you the crater. It then winds around the streets and even goes into car parks of shopping centers. I found this bizarre.

Catching the Green Tourist Trolley is the best option. At least you know you will make it there.

When in Hawaii hiking Diamond Head Mountain is a must. The views across Honolulu are well worth the effort. To make the hike more enjoyable, wear covered shoes, take a bottle of water, get the hat and sunscreen and take your camera for amazing photos.