Its silhouette is as synonymous with Waikiki as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris and the mountains of Machu Picchu are to Peru.
Diamond Head, arguably the most photographed volcanic crater in the world, was once the site of an ancient Hawaiian heiau (temple) dedicated to the god of wind in order to receive protection against updrafts that would put out navigational fires.
Western explorers in the late 1700s mistook the calcite crystals in the rocks on the crater slope for diamonds, thus “Diamond Head,”?became popular.
In 1904 the site was purchased by the federal government for military use due to its prime location. Though prepared to defend Oahu from attack, it never once fired artillery during the war. Today approximately one million visitors hike to the summit of Diamond Head making it one of Oahu’s largest attractions.
The view from the summit is worth every drop of sweat. Allow 1.5-two hours for the hike. Bring water, shades, a hat, snacks and wear covered shoes—and don’t forget the camera. The latest entry to hike the trail is 4:30 p.m. Avoid crowds by going either early or later in the day.
The Diamond Head Visitor Center is open 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and sells logo merchandise; proceeds go toward the maintenance of the monument. Restrooms, vending machines, water and picnic area are available. The site is also accessible by TheBus. $5 per vehicle or $1 per person walking in; cash only.
Visitors and residents can now save up to $20 on three different experiences to O‘ahu attractions. Select from the Pearl Harbor Tour & Sea Life Park Admission; Diamond Head State Monument Tour & Sea Life Park Admission; and Diamond Head State Monument Tour, Pearl Harbor Tour and Sea Life Park Admission. For details: (808) 259-2500 or sealifeparkhawaii.com/pacifichistoricparks.
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