Sunday, 6 January 2013

Hiking Diamond Head

Although I am always full of good intentions to keep the blog up-to-date it never quite seems to work out.   Ah well that’s life I guess!
Back on our trip to Hawaii, we decided to hike, Lē’ahi or Diamond Head as it’s more commonly known.  One single volcanic explosion around 300,000 years ago is thought to have created the crater which is 350 acres across.
One legend has it that the sister of the fire goddess Pele, Hi’iaka,  gave the mountain its name because the summit resembles the forehead of a fish.   Another says that the name comes from navigational fires lit on the summit to aid canoes travelling along the shoreline.
In the 1700’s western explorers mistook calcite crystals for diamonds hence the name Diamond Head.
In 1908 as part of the US Army Coastal Artillery defence system a trail was created to the summit with mules hauling construction materials to build the fire control station.
It’s only a short 1½ mile round trip hike, but the advice is that it’s best done in the morning.   With that in mind we had breakfast and took the first trolley from the Galleria.
We didn’t realise but this was the express trolley, so there were only a couple of stops along the way.  We headed through the Kapahula tunnel
arriving at the entrance we paid our Dollar entrance fee and followed the trail on this very short hike.
This is where we were headed.
As we were starting up the trail lots of people were heading down and we soon realised why.   It was hot, not the dry heat we’ve got used to in the desert south-west but hot and humid.
The trail starts of gently, but becomes steep once it hits the switchbacks there are some great views from part way up.
Looking back along the trail
Looking back into the bowl 
At the top of 74 steps the first tunnel carries on climbing for 225ft as it curves around the mountain, it’s quite narrow and meeting people coming down is quite a tight squeeze in places.
At the top of this tunnel there is a choice, turn right up a set of very steep steps or turn left up a gentler slope.   As I always take the easy option if there is one, we turned left.   Afterwards we realised we should’ve taken the steps as that way takes you through the second tunnel and into the Fire Control Station itself.  Oh well.
We made it to the top anyway where the views over Waikiki and the mountains were spectacular.
One of the gun placements from WWII
This view makes you realise just how built up Waikiki is.
Houses even climb partway up the mountains.
The hike was fun, although I have to say, due to the unaccustomed humidity and despite drinking plenty of water as recommended, I was totally shattered by the time we reached the bottom.  If we ever do that hike again, I’ll be there just after the gates open!
Have fun, we are! 


  1. Replies
    1. It was beautiful, but it has to be the hardest short hike we've ever done. Thanks for reading