Diamond Head State Monument


View from Diamond Head State Monument near the summit of east Oahu’s coastline, with Koko Crater and Koko Head in the distance. 5.25.15

On a trailblazing roll, this past Monday, Memorial Day, May 25th, for the very first time in my life EVER, I hiked the Diamond Head State Monument trail to the summit. This, coming hot-off-the-heels of a successful climb to the summit of the extremely physically challenging Koko Crater Railway Trail this past Friday, also for the very first time. Oh, and I made it back down from both trails in one piece and both legs still working fine.

I tell ya’, after the Koko Head Railway Trail being my break-in benchmark, it’s going to take a really tough hike to beat that, as getting to the top of Diamond Head was a relative walk in the park! Disneyland in comparison! Easy!


View of Waikiki from the Diamond Head State Monument summit. 5.25.15


View of luxury oceanfront homes near the lighthouse from the Diamond Head State Monument summit. 5.25.15


View of St. Louis Heights and Maunalani Heights from the Diamond Head State Monument summit. 5.25.15


Diamond Head Crater information Board at the Diamond Head State Monument summit. 5.25.15


Folks enjoy the view at the Diamond Head State Monument summit. 5.25.15


Folks enjoy the view at the Diamond Head State Monument summit. 5.25.15


Folks enjoy the view at the Diamond Head State Monument summit. 5.25.15


If you REALLY, really have to, and want to stand at the very tippy, tippy top of the summit, you’ll have to climb atop the (off limits) “roof” of this concrete structure… but be very careful!


Pomai at the summit of the Diamond Head State Monument on 5.25.15, clocking in at a hefty 200 lbs. Ouch! We’ll check back here in a few months to see if he can lose some ‘o that via hiking Hawaii’s trails!


Hawaii State Survey Triangulation Station marking pin at the highest point of the summit, reset April 2002 after modifications to the summit’s structure

Coming from an out-of-shape “newb”, on a hiking scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most difficult, I’d say Koko Head’s difficulty level is about 4 out of 5, where as Diamond Head State Monument is about 1.5. With the .5 tacked on only because of its uneven, unpaved walkway, where some parts of the walkway up that can cause a slip if you’re not careful. Other than that, the Diamond Head State Monument trail’s incline is long, winding and gradual, as compared to Koko Head, where its very steep and much more demanding of your legs and joints, both going up and coming down.

Interestingly, around 1:30pm as I was heading back to my car after the “hike”, three trucks from Honolulu Fire Department’s Kaimuki Ladder showed up for a rescue up on the trail, all the way near the summit. Soon after, they were setting up a waiting area in the grassy field within Diamond Head crater for medivac chopper. Within minutes a Honolulu Police Department chopper flies in and lands in the waiting area awaiting orders where to pick-up a distressed hiker on the trail. The chopper then flies up and picks-up the distressed hiker and fireman assisting her.

Here’s video I captured with my Note 3 of that rescue this past Monday…

Fortunately the young lady rescued appeared OK, able to walk off the chopper on her own cognizance. While I didn’t ask, I’m guessing she either had an asthma attack or some other respiratory condition. According to one of the fireman I spoke with, they get calls to the Diamond Head Trail “quite often”.

Anyways, back to the hike itself, what’s funny is, there were quite a few tourists there who were dressed like they came straight from having breakfast in the hotel. In other words, overdressed, with several women in casual dress shoes. That said, not surprisingly this hike is populated primarily by tourists, and A LOT of them. Particularly I noticed along with the usual bus loads of Nihongin, there were quite a few Aussies there doing the hike, easily recognizable by their “Day’wn Un’dah” Brit’ accent.

And with the droves of tourists who flock to this trail, it’s a well-maintained venue by the state’s parks and recreation division, including electrical lighting in the long tunnel towards the top, along with safety railings from bottom to top. So the only reason I can see someone needing a rescue here is if they went beyond the trail’s railed boundaries (as many do), slips on loose rocks or the steep staircases at the top, or personal health reasons, such as respiratory, or not knowing one’s own physical limits.

Being this is a food blog, I’ll always add something relevant at the end of my other adventures I share here, including my newfound enjoyment of hiking Oahu’s trails. Where here greeting everyone within Diamond Head Crater at the foot of the trail in the parking lot is currently the Magoo’s Burgers Bus….

Spock da’ menu…

Nothing can be more visually enticing than the bright colors of Shave Ice syrup as you’re walking to your car all sweaty and hot after a hike up the trail…

Waialua Passion Fruit/Waimanalo Watermelon Shave Ice, order up!…

Being I wanted to eat something patriotic on Memorial Day, putting the calories and fat I just burnt off right back on, I ordered their Cheeseburger…


Magoo’s Burgers Cheeseburger (Deluxe). $4.75

Not a bad deal at $4.75 for this substantial, fully-loaded cheeseburger deluxe, considering the convenience right there off the trail!

Sample, ‘Cuz…

And? Winnah! It’s a May’s patty, so it’s on the thin and kinda’ dry side, but not that bad. They did put a really nice charred crust on it from the flattop, which punched out the flavor a lot.

The abundance of mayo’, mustard and ketchup, all forming a “saucy sauce” helped keep the moisture factor in check…

The crisp Iceberg lettuce, tomato and sliced onion were very fresh, rounding out what’s essentially a perfectly executed “local style” cheeseburger deluxe, and totally worth considering having for lunch if you’re immediately hungry after the hike up DHS. 3 SPAM Musubi!


Magoo’s Burgers Rainbow Shave Ice. 5.25.15

Summing it up, the Diamond Head State Monument Trail is a fun and relatively easy “hike”, provided you’re in at least decent physical condition. However, if you have any serious respiratory or joint issues such as asthma or knee problems, like any other hike, you might want to stay away from this one.

It’s relatively safe, provided you stay within the railings of the trail, and don’t try to copy those brave ones who venture off the beaten path.

While going really early to beat the sun would be easier, I don’t think it’s entirely necessary as long as you have a hat and sunglasses. I wore neither and had no problem. That said, make sure you have a bottle of water handy, as this one will dehydrate you.

It’s crowded, so be mindful and courteous of others on the trail.

There will be many opportunities for great photos of the views, so have your cellphone camera or better yet, a dedicated still camera handy for those shots.

I really enjoyed this one and highly recommend you do it, too!

Diamond Head Monument Trail
Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

Difficulty level: Easy to moderate (depending on your physical condition)
What to wear: Athletic clothing and shoes
What to bring: Brains, water, cellphone and camera
Safety concerns: Loose rocks and uneven trail surface, steep stairs, people with infants, very high elevation level, steep cliffs and drops off railings, crowds (this hike is very popular with tourists)
Time of hike up and down: Plan at least 1.5 hours, taking into consideration loitering time at the summit and other points of interest
What to expect at the summit: Breathtaking panoramic views of from Waikiki to Koko Head, the Koolau mountain range and pacific ocean (awesome and so worth it!)

The Tasty Island rating:

(5) Superb. Worthy of repeat visits. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
Diamond Head State Monument – Yelp user reviews
Diamond Head State Monument – Trip Advisor user reviews
Hiking around Oahu by Kenji Saito