Planning a Diamond Head hike during your Hawaii vacation? You need to plan ahead a little more than usual, now.
As of May 12th, 2022, the state of Hawaii is turning away from its usual first-come, first-serve policy for Diamond Head park access and instead requires all non-Hawaii residents to book their spot in advance. The change is designed to help reduce overcrowding and improve safety conditions in the popular park.
If you’re planning to visit Diamond Head any time soon, make sure to add an extra step to your to-do list and reserve your spot in advance.
Diamond Head State Monument details
Diamond Head State Monument is one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist destinations. The Oahu park is home to the iconic Diamond Head crater, formed by a volcanic eruption more than 300,000 years ago.
The monument is a volcanic crater that rises more than 600 feet above the surrounding coastline. Visitors can hike to the crater’s summit for stunning views of the ocean and downtown Honolulu. The park is home to several hiking trails, beaches, lookouts and historical sites, including an old military fortification dating to the early 1900s.
Military Base at Diamond Head
Diamond Head is home to a military base that has been in operation for over 80 years. The base is responsible for the defense of Hawaii, and it is also home to several important military facilities. The base has a large airfield, and it is also home to a naval hospital and a Marine Corps base.
The base is surrounded by lush vegetation, and it offers stunning views of the ocean. Visitors to the park can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and even camping. However, the base is not open to the public, and visitors must obtain special permission to enter.
Diamond Head Hike Trails
The park features more than 3 miles of hiking trails, with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. The most popular trail is the Diamond Head Summit Trail, which leads to the summit of Diamond Head Crater.
This Diamond Head Crater hike is just over a mile long and takes about an hour to complete. Along the way, hikers will enjoy stunning views of the crater and downtown Honolulu. Other trails in the park include the Nature Trail, which winds through native Hawaiian plants, and the Coastal Trail, which offers sweeping ocean views.
Hawaii adds Diamond Head reservations system
Out-of-state visitors (anyone who is not a Hawaiian state resident) to Diamond Head State Monument must make a reservation in advance. When making a reservation, visitors will need to provide contact information and date of intended visit. Hawaii residents can visit the park on a first-come, first-served basis. This system helps to manage crowds and keep the park safe and clean.
Why does Diamond Head require reservations?
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Diamond Head was overwhelmed with around 6,000 visitors a day. With the new reservation system, the park plans on accommodating about 3,000 visitors a day. This ensures everyone has a pleasurable experience and allows park staff to better cater to each visitor. The change will also relieve parking strains on nearby neighborhoods.
The reservation system allows the state to track how many people are visiting each day and better manage crowds, and helps to support the park’s conservation efforts by reducing impact on the environment.
How to make Diamond Head reservations
To make reservations for Diamond Head, visit gostateparks.hawaii.gov/diamondhead.
Select the type of ticket you need — entry only or parking plus entry — as well as the date and number of passes you need, then select from the available timeslots.
Diamond Head will do away with cash transactions at the entrance gate. Instead, visitors will use QR codes to confirm their reservations. The change is expected to reduce the amount of time it takes to enter the park.
What types of reservations are available at Diamond Head?
When planning a visit to Diamond Head State Monument, visitors can select between entry-only reservations or parking and entry reservations. Entry-only reservations are perfect for those who can walk or take public transportation to the park.
Select “parking and entry” if you need to park a vehicle inside the gates.
How far in advance can you make Diamond Head reservations?
You can make reservations for Diamond Head up to 14 days in advance, and the state intends to increase that to 30 days at some point.
Reservations will fill up quickly, so it’s imperative that you make your reservations as quickly as possible to ensure your spot.
Reservation times for Diamond Head
For parking, you will need to arrive 30 minutes before your reservation time. Reservations can be made for the following time blocks:
- 6 a.m. – 8 a.m.
- 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
- 10 a.m. – Noon
- Noon – 2 p.m.
- 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Walk-in and drop-off visitors will be able to choose from 1-hour entry time slots but may leave whenever they choose. Visitors bringing a vehicle must be out of the park by the end of their 2-hour time slot reservation. Trolley or commercial reservations will need to be made by accessing a separate portal system.
How much do tickets cost at Diamond Head?
Visitors who walk up to the monument will now need to pay $5 per person. The parking fee is $10 per vehicle.
Hawaii residents will be able to access Diamond Head for free without reservations but must show a state-issued ID.
Why visit Diamond Head?
Diamond Head is one of Hawaii’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s no wonder why: the park offers stunning views of the city, the ocean, and the iconic Diamond Head crater. Visitors can enjoy hiking, picnicking, and a diverse array of plant and animal life.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day in nature or an exciting adventure, Diamond Head is sure to please. Just make sure you reserve your spot ahead of time.