Places to Visit on Oahu- Diamond Head State Monument

I hope you’ve been enjoying my series so far of places to visit on the Hawaiian island, Oahu. We have covered Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Cultural Center, and Dole Plantation. Today I want to highlight Diamond Head State Monument in Honolulu.


Diamond Head is a volcanic crater and in ancient times was the site of a Hawaiian temple devoted to their god of wind, Paka’a, to safeguard against updrafts, which often put out the flames of navigational fires. Navigational fires were fires lit at the summit. They acted as a lighthouse, lighting the way for canoes along the shoreline.

I would call this a moderate to challenging hike, depending on the hiker. Here you can see how rough the dirt terrain was, requiring steady footing.

The name Diamond Head comes from the 1700’s when explorers confused calcite crystals found inside the crater for diamonds. Diamond Head is also called Le’ahi. This name is believed to have come from Hi’aka, who was the sister of Pele, the fire goddess. Hi’aka thought the summit looked like the forehead of the ‘ahi fish (the word for forehead is lae).


The trailhead to summit is 0.8 miles, one way. It is a switchback hike with a climb of 560 feet from the floor of the crater. This trail was roughed out in 1908 by the U.S. military who saw it as ideal for coastal artillery defense.

First set of stairs, leading to the tunnel.
The tunnel was well lit and had a handrail.


It took me 2 hours to hike this trail roundtrip. I’m glad I wore sensible shoes and brought a water bottle along. It was pretty steep at times and I was happy to take a few photo breaks! But it was definitely worth the views at the top!

The staircase leading up to the lookout station.



One of the views from the summit was the Diamond Head lighthouse, built in 1870.


All the views were lovely, but the lighthouse was my favorite. Lighthouses are cool!


I don’t have a photo of the bunker, but there was one you could enter that featured a spiral staircase and ended up just below the lookout station. ♥ Thanks for reading. If you’ve hiked Diamond Head be sure to comment and let me know.

11 thoughts on “Places to Visit on Oahu- Diamond Head State Monument

    1. It is beautiful, and I wish I lived in Hawaii, although I’d choose a different island than Oahu. I just get to visit Hawaii sometimes (this was my fourth visit in 25 years so not bad I guess!). I’ve never been to Georgia.


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