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Diamond Head Hike (Backside)


"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward."

Updated: March 22, 2017

Location: An alternate route up the crater of Diamond Head. Watch the sunset from on top the pillboxes!

Type: Ridge hike

Hike Difficulty: Intermediate

Total Time: 1 hour

Distance: ~2 miles

Elevation: ~500 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: no
  • Pet Friendly: no
  • This hike has some extreme ridge climbing with vertical cliff faces up the side of the crater.
  • There are more than 8 ways up to the top of the crater besides the Diamond Head trail. We took just one of them.
  • This is an illegal hike and shouldn't be attempted. Just for informational purposes only. Hike safely!
  • This hike goes through a neighborhood so please be courteous of the neighbors and don't litter.
  • This hike is extremely hot and there are no shade or trees to cover you. Bring lots of water.
  • There are a lot of branches and dead plants that can really scratch up your legs if you are not careful.
  • For the state trail, the fee is $5 per car for parking inside. If you park outside and walk in, the fee is $1. Diamond Head Crater is open from 6am-6pm.

Your hiking backpack

  • Sun Screen
  • 2 Liter of water
  • Snacks
  • GoPro/camera
  • Long sleeve/Long pants (optional)


We parked at Kapiolani Park and walked along Diamond Head Road. Then we turned into a side street into the neighborhood. (Located undisclosed). Access to the trail requires hopping a fence.


UPDATE: We recently took a different route up to Diamond Head which was steeper, but a lot faster. Check it out on the bottom of the page!

Our Journey

Tired of seeing the sunset from Koko Head or Tantalus? Diamond Head is a great alternative to catch the sunset and see the beautiful city of Waikiki at night! There are more than 8 known routes up the side of Diamond Head which go up the ridge line to the top of the crater. I have tried most of them and they seem really difficult, especially once you reach the crater itself. This one route we did seemed like the only one manageable without equipment. We started our hike around 5pm. We hopped the fence and the trail is pretty straightforward. It goes through a short route through some brush and then comes out directly on the ridge. It isn't too difficult until you reach the crater. The ridge line itself is also pretty narrow with some steep drops on both sides. Once the ridge connects with the crater, it is pretty much vertical climbing up the rock face until you emerge onto the bunker. There are some ropes to aid you along the way, but it is still fairly difficult. Take your time on the rope section. Definitely not for the faint of heart.


UPDATE: We decided to do a different route up Diamond Head today. This time, we came up the front side of the mountain on Diamond Head Road by KCC. This route literally took us 15 minutes to get up to the rim of the crater! However, the climb was steep! There are also barbed wire that you have to cross over along the route. Once we reached the top we turned right and walked for another 15 minutes or so. We found a nice spot to watch the sunset and fireworks! In Waikiki, there is a fireworks show every Friday! An epic way to start the weekend!
































This is the view from Diamond Head at night!

























First time attempting this hike, we walked up and down Diamond Head Road trying to find an access route up the ridge.



















A short forest section through the brush.



















And then it starts to open up.

























Somebody left their BBQ grill and chair for some good times I guess.



















The paved road continues on, but we didn't explore. Time to head up the ridge.



















Have a seat to relax if you need to, it only gets worse from here!



















This is the route up to the ridge. No ribbons.




















We passed by this fenced off area and continued onto the ridge line.























































It doesn't seem too far from the crater, but it is strenuous.




















Diamond Head Crater from the backside.

























Sun's going down. So beautiful!

























Looking back at the city, heading up the ridge.

























Lots of dead trees and brush that scratch up your legs if you're not careful.

























We still have time for selfies. The sun is still shining!



















That's what you have to climb!!



















The side of the crater is straight vertical!



















There's some ropes to help you, but they do no justice.

You just need some rock climbing skills here.



















Looking back down at the ridge.



















This is the view from the ridge at the top.



















Immediate view of the bunker after you are done crawling on your hands and knees up the side of the crater. You end up on the bunker a couple yards away from the main bunker for the Diamond Head hike.

























Olaf took some selfies too.

























Watching the sunset with Olaf.



















As the sun went down, we took out our camera gear to capture the sunset and the city lights as they started to turn on. Beautiful sight.



















Our return route was down through the crater trail in the dark. There was no security or anybody at the booth after they close the gate at 6pm. There was no way we would go back down the same ridge in the dark! Good thing we could fit through the gate or we would have been stuck there over night!




















Here's another view of the city at night from Diamond Head Crater!

UPDATE: March 22, 2017























This time we took a different route from the front side of the crater!




























The sun was already starting to set, but we made it up within 15 to 20 minutes!




























The trail is steep and there are some barbed wires that we had to cross on the way up.




























And we made it up just in time for the sunset!




























We continued along the rim for a bit and found a nice spot to chill.




























We stopped here right before that vertical wall. Beautiful sunset and we waited for the fireworks over Waikiki at 8:30pm!

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Diamond Head Hike (Backside)
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