Diamond Head Crater is probably THE most recognizable landmark in all of Oahu. We see it from thirty miles away as we leave the Westside and hit the South Shore, yet as noticeable and famous as it is, there was nothing really drawing me to it. It was just another tourist trap that I needed to avoid, in my mind. Then I saw a picture taken from the top. Two days later we were hiking it.
We opted to drive into the crater, through a tunnel, and pay the 5$ parking fee. Otherwise people park outside or take The Bus, and add a long walk in the heat, on hot blacktop. No thank you. Our first view of the top is just shortly after the trailhead entrance, way up there in the top right of the above photo. I’m so used to green Hawaii I sure wasn’t expecting all this brown, but apparently they don’t get much rain over here.
It starts off long, winding, dusty and hot. And did I say hot and dusty?
This was our first time using the Camelbak we bought from the Pearl City Goodwill…… four months ago. Can I get a big YeeHaw! for the Camelbak? The kids actually semi-fought over who would carry it! I’m used to carrying frozen bottles of water for everyone so this was a NICE change for me. I didn’t carry anything but my camera.
About halfway up we started seeing views of the interior that really started to define the crater, along with stunning views of all the houses creeping up the hillsides.
Just when we were panting good and hard, we hit our first set of stairs.
Which led us into a 225 foot long tunnel, to another set of even steeper and longer stairs.
Can you see how excited Jewel is about this set of stairs?
She’s actually fretting over how much she’s sweating.
And where in the world is Jake? As hard as he tried, he couldn’t go as slow as us, and after finally completing all the stairs and then a three story high spiral staircase in an old Army bunker, we finally met up with him at the top. Only it wasn’t the TOP, top.
We popped out at a bunker opening and then the boys decided to just stay there while Jewel and I went on to the very top bunker.
We also met back up with Annie, who also felt that Jonas, Jewel and I were too slow and had taken off ahead of us with Jake.
Jewel is modeling the view directly south, and then as we make our walk back down the view is to the northeast, which includes, I believe, Cocohead Crater. (Another hike I would like to do before leaving the island).
Ahhhh…..heading down is so much easier. It’s so easy that it’s easy to get careless, and in my magnificent hiking shoes (strappy crocs), I slipped right on some loose gravel and landed right on my butt! But I was like a cat and bounced up so fast the people behind me barely had time to gasp.
I ran before I could hear them laugh.
Upon returning to the trailhead the kids always seem to have enough energy to climb trees. Hmmmm.
After resting in the shade for a while we left to grab some food and ended up finding a perfect spot, right along Ala Wai Canal in downtown Honolulu, to have a peaceful, shady picnic lunch.
Overall impressions of the Diamond Head hike:
Jake: Long and sweaty
Jonas: Ehhh…..there was hardly anything at the end…….and…….I’m not a big fan of hikes.
Jewel: Yeah! I really liked it! but it did make me tired.
Me: Better than expected! Would be even better if done very early in the morning, when it’s cooler and with less people. I loved it for the uniqueness of the stairs and the tunnels and the switchbacks, and of course the gorgeous views at the top. I also disagree about it being a tourist trap, we learned a lot about the Military’s history in this crater that we didn’t even know existed beforehand. So…..good for the body, good for the mind, good for the senses, and good for the soul. That’s what I call a Good Hike.