If you or your child happens to be crazy about craters, then hiking the rim of Diamond Head crater should be at the top of your travel bucket list. While extremely challenging, the views from the top make for a fantastic reward. As a bonus, those who brave this trail can boast about experiencing the best view of the city of Honolulu.
View from the military observation tower.
The trail from the parking lot starts out innocently enough, but quickly steepens. You'll climb up the side of the crater, through a tunnel, into an old military observation tower, and then outside. Once on top, you can view the interior of the crater to one side and the ocean and city on the other. The view is amazing and provides ample photo opportunities.
View of the observation tower
City of Honolulu
Rim view of the inside of the crater
What you need to know
Arrive early. Even in the off-season, this was a popular attraction. If you don't mind extra walking and want to save money, you can park off-site. Otherwise you pay a small fee to park and then you'll have to queue up and wait until a spot opens up. Thankfully, parking lot attendants are available to make sure everything is done in an orderly fashion.
Water fountains and restrooms are available at the beginning of the trail, but there's nothing past that point so make sure to stop in on your way up.
Aside from the brief time spent in the tunnel and observatory, there's no shade to be found during the hike, so sun protection is a must!
The trail is rigorous and very steep in some places. Not stroller or wheelchair accessible. Climbers need to be in good health. There are only a very few stopping points over the course of the trail. The trail is narrow and there are a lot of handrails so you can't easily rest unless you simply stop in the middle of the trail, but then you'll be blocking other hikers.
Steep, uneven trail.
It's absolutely worth noting that there is a fairly long tunnel that hikers have to traverse if they want to get to the top. There's simply no way around it. There is some faint lighting and some handrails, but if you're claustrophobic, you may want to keep this in mind.
There's a refreshment stand near the parking lot so consider having some cash on hand. After your grueling hike you will probably be in the mood for something cold. They offered several types of tropical soft serve and smoothies. We rarely spring for things like that, but it sounded so, so good after we were done.