Diamond Head, also known as Le'ahi, is one of the more famous landmarks in Hawaii. It is a crater which resulted from one of the volcanic eruptions which formed Oahu.
You should visit Diamond Head on a Saturday morning and take the opportunity to visit the Waikiki Farmer's Market before beginning your hike up the mountain. The market is located in the parking lot of a community college right across from the entrance to the state park. It is so much fun to visit - all kinds of crazy flowers are available to purchase, along with LOTS of yummy food. Prices are quite high so don't stock up on groceries, but it's definitely a fun place to visit and snack. I have no pictures because I was too busy eating...
When you've finished at the Farmer's Market, cross the street and enter the park. You can park at the bottom of the hill and save a few dollars on the parking fee, but I wouldn't recommend it. It increases the length of the hike considerably and you will be sorry! Spend the money and park at the trailhead.
Take your smiling, happy picture at the beginning of your hike, because at the end, you'll be collapsed on the ground slurping a shave ice (snow cone).
Technically, this should be an easy hike. It's only 0.8miles each way. I'm learning that in Hawaii, the distance doesn't matter and you can easily be tricked into thinking you're out for a leisurely stroll, when really, you're going mountain climbing...
This is a HOT hike - there is no shade, and it's very dry up there. There is a curvy, narrow concrete trail up the mountain, and you will be squeezing past lots of exhausted people on their way down. When you get about half way up, you will encounter 74 steps headed up to a tunnel. After that, there are 99 more steps. And then, a 52 step spiral staircase up to the viewing area. The dark line in the middle of the picture below is the first set of steps.
It really doesn't look so bad, but try it while carrying a 40 pound four year old on your shoulders... My poor husband did most of the work, and I only carried Crumpet up the second set of steps. On the way down, we told him that if he walked the whole way, he could have his own giant shave ice. He walked! (My husband's whole side of the family has a weird obsession with snow cones - I really am not a huge fan...)
The view from the top of Diamond Head is truly worth the work. Stunning blue water,
All of Waikiki beach and Honolulu:
A beautiful light house that we still need to visit:
Diamond Head from the water. I hear that the mountain gets really green if it rains, but we're in the middle of a drought, so we've only seen it this way so far.
Despite all my whining, this really was a worthwhile hike, and now we can check it off our list of things that must be done while living in Hawaii! For more field trip posts, visit Live the Adventure.