Known as the world’s most recognized volcanic crater – Diamond Head, or Le’ahi (translates to brow of the tuna in Hawaiian), is prominently located near the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline. Diamond Head is also known to be one of Hawaii’s most recognized landmarks. Book a Honolulu City tour with us and see this amazing wonder of nature.
Diamond Head Formation
About 300,000 years ago, a single volcanic eruption sent ash and fine particles in the air. When the materials fell down and settled, they cemented together into a tuff thus creating this saucer-shaped crater.
The name Diamond Head was given to this 760-foot tuff crater by 19th century British sailors who thought they discovered diamonds on Le’ahi’s slopes. Those “diamonds” turned out to be nothing more than shiny calcite crystals.
National Natural Landmark
In 1968, Diamond Head was declared a National Natural Landmark. The crater, also called Diamond Head Lookout was used as a strategic military lookout in the early 1900’s. Spanning over 475 acres (including the crater’s interior and outer slopes), it served as an effective defensive lookout because it provides panoramic views of Waikiki and the south shore of Oahu.
You will also find a huge navigational lighthouse built in 1917 as well as a few bunkers on Diamond Head’s summit.
Popular Hiking Destination
When vegetation and birds were introduced in the area in the later part of the 1800s, the trail going to Diamond Head soon became popular.
In 1908, the trail to the summit was built as part of the island’s coastal defense system. The 0.8 mile hike is considerably a moderate climb to seasoned hikers but could be a strenuous and steep climb to those who aren’t. It usually takes an hour to get to the summit where you will be rewarded with an amazing and humbling view of the entire Oahu leeward coast.
Today, thousands of visitors go up Diamond Head to enjoy a stunning view of the shoreline from Koko Head to Wai’anae. During winter months, if you’re lucky, you will also see migrating humpback whales.