On the southeastern coastline of Oahu, just east of Honolulu and northeast of Waikiki likes an impressive volcanic tuff cone juts out into the Hawaiian skyline. Visible from multiple points of the island, this towering natural formation is most predominant from the beaches of Waikiki. Named in the 19th century by British sailors that confused calcite crystals for diamonds, Diamond Head is a 762 ft formation that came about between 400,000 and 500,000 years ago, during a volcanic eruption series that also created Punchbowl Crater, Manana Island, and Koko Head.
Diamond Head received a great honor in 1968 after being declared a National Natural Landmark and though it’s backed by a lengthy military history, it now stands as a favorite tourist spot for Oahu’s many visitors.
There are many ways to enjoy the sights of Diamond Head, each providing their own incredible vantage point of the mountainous formation.
Hiking the Crater
More than just an incredible sight to behold, Diamond Head is a massive area of exploration, a hiker’s dream that delivers amazing views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a mild .75-mile hike to the edge of the crater which takes up several hours of the day. The unpaved trail leads up to an overlook that glances out over the expanse of Oahu. Down below, Waikiki beach bustles with activity while the Pacific waters rocked against the shore.
The hike may be a little tedious with over 160 steps to the rim, but the payoff is well worth the work. The higher vantage point provides a breathtaking outlook over the island that stretches as far as beyond Honolulu and the distant horizon. During the winter months, hikers that brave the trail and stop at the overlook may even catch humpback whales in the distant waters.
Views of Diamond Head
The hike up Diamond Head isn’t for everyone, but if you’re not able to make the journey up, that shouldn’t keep you from experiencing the wonder of this amazing crater. Nearby zipline courses serve as your distant access to the awe and wonder of this towering monument. As you’re soaring high over Oahu’s beautiful terrain, Diamond Head will be in view in the distance, encompassing the Oahu skyline and serving as a backdrop to the beauty of the island. The rocky formation is imposing and, even at the speeds you’ll be cruising at, should be impossible to miss.
If heights aren’t your thing, you can still view this wondrous formation from the Pacific Ocean in boat tours just off of Waikiki’s coast. Diamond Head stands tall in the backdrop of Honolulu as the boat rocks along incoming waves from the deep blue. Around the vessel, dolphin will curiously swim, seemingly guiding it to the best spots for viewing the amazing distant volcanic crater.
The Pride of Oahu
Diamond Head is one of those things that everybody that visits the island should take time to see, and with a multitude of ways to experience it, even including walking around Waikiki beach, there’s no reason not to enjoy the massive formation.