Only 150,000 years old, Diamond Head is an extinct volcano and one of the most photographed attractions on Oahu. In fact, it is a worldwide symbol of Hawaii and Waikiki, made popular in numerous movies and on postcards and wall calendars. Because of its unique geological history, Diamond Head was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1968.
If you are feeling fit, a hike up to the summit of Diamond Head is a must-do while on Oahu. This moderate 1.5-mile (2.2 km) hike leads up along a steep narrow trail with many switchbacks, steep stairways and a dark tunnel. The trail was recently renovated and made easier. Going through the dark tunnel now is optional because there is a new easier paved path and stairs that lead to the top.
On your way up, you will get to several lookouts from where you can enjoy beautiful south shore and mountain views. Wait until you get to the summit where stunning 360-degree views of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and the blue Pacific await. On clear day you can even see the neighbor islands of Molokai and Lanai on the horizon.
It takes 35-45 minutes to reach the summit, and there isn’t much shade along the way. So bring a hat, sunscreen and water. To avoid the crowds and hot temperatures, it is best to come early in the morning. The park is open from 6 am to 6 pm. There is an admission fee of $1 per person (or $5 per car). There are also guided Diamond Head tours departing from Waikiki that include roundtrip transportation.