Guest post by Penny Rogers, Honolulu, Hawaii
Diamond Head may well be Hawaii’s most well-known landmark. No young hiker (or their parents) should miss the experience of climbing the Summit trail from the middle of dormant Diamond Head volcano crater, 560 feet to the top of the rim, for amazing views east from Koko Head to Waikiki to Barber’s Point out west. It is probably the most popular hike on Oahu.
The trail was built in the early 1900’s as part of an Oahu coastal defense system. World War II bunkers dot the top where artillery solders kept watch for Japanese invaders.
The trail itself is fairly steep but well-kept with side rails along switch-backs and two sets of stairs. A hat and sunscreen are necessary protection from the sun on the exposed trail. Take a small flashlight for the tunnel and bottles of water as you will be thirsty. Round trip is about one and a half miles and worth every step.
Go as early as you can to avoid crowds, walk or drive inside a tunnel from Monsarrat Avenue on the back side of Diamond Head, ($5 per vehicle or $1 per walk-in visitor), and check for a brochure at a kiosk near the paved path.
Once back outside the crater, you might consider a picnic at brand new tables. They are set in cool gardens off a newly built pathway that links to a sidewalk returning around Diamond Head to Waikiki – if you are up for more walking.