In all the trips we’ve made to Hawai‘i, we’ve never hiked Diamond Head. With four days in Honolulu after our cruise, we decided to get adventurous and make the hike up Diamond Head. We’d heard stories about the climb and read up on what to expect. I would have liked to have done this hike earlier in the day, but we took the Hop on, Hop off bus to get here and were limited by their schedule and our own laziness (we missed the first run of the bus).
Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff cone with an elevation of 761 feet. For someone who is in good shape, this isn’t that much elevation but, as the saying goes, my biological clock is ticking and this hike was a stark reminder that I am not twenty, or even thirty or forty.
Our hike began at 200 feet elevation, which is where the trailhead is. We made it up past the first set of stairs, 74 in all, and through the 225 foot tunnel. When we came out the other end of the tunnel, we looked up to the right. Ninety-nine steep concrete steps seemed to stretch on to the sky. Those steps take you to the lowest level of the Fire Control Station. At this point, you might ask how many more levels are there? The answer is four. Which means there are more stairs—I think it’s another 136 altogether, more trails, more heat, and more sun.
When we turned around, we were hot, tired, and felt like our skin was baking. The line of people going up Diamond Head resembles a row of ants. Some of the people were in good enough shape to make it to the top. Others, like us, not so much. If you’re thinking of hiking Diamond Head, do a few things first. Prepare by climbing stairs—lots of them. Second, go early in the day. After ten, there are a lot of people who show up to make this climb. And third, have lots of patience. This is a long, slow climb and because of all the other people who are there and the narrow width of the trail, your pace may be determined by someone else, not you.
Want to follow along on our journey? Here’s a link where you can find all the entries in our travel journal.