Diamond Head Beyond the Summit

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Diamond Head State Park, located on the southeastern tip of the island of Oahu in Hawaii, is perhaps best known for its iconic summit hike.

This strenuous climb, which takes visitors up to the top of the 760-foot Diamond Head crater, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the park.

However, there is much more to see and do beyond the summit hike.

In this article, we will explore some of the other hidden gems within Diamond Head State Park.


One of the park’s most underrated features is its beautiful beaches. While they may not be as famous as Waikiki Beach or the North Shore’s big wave beaches, the beaches in Diamond Head State Park offer a more secluded and tranquil experience.

Diamond Head Beach Park, located just outside the park’s entrance, is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. The beach is framed by the stunning Diamond Head backdrop and offers stunning views of the coastline.

The beach is also a great place to watch the sunset, as the sky turns shades of pink, orange, and purple over the ocean.

Another beach within the park is Black Point Beach, a secluded stretch of sand located on the eastern side of the park. The beach can only be accessed by a steep trail that descends down a rocky cliff, but the effort is well worth it. The beach is usually quiet and peaceful, with crystal-clear water and soft sand. It is a great spot for snorkeling or just lounging on the beach.

Historic Sites

Diamond Head State Park is also home to several historic sites that offer a glimpse into Hawaii’s past.

The park’s main entrance is located near the Diamond Head Lighthouse, a beautiful and iconic structure that has been guiding ships into Honolulu Harbor since 1899. Visitors can tour the lighthouse and learn about its history and importance to the island.

Another historic site within the park is the Fort Ruger Military Reservation. Built in the early 1900s, the fort was an important defensive position during World War II and played a critical role in protecting Hawaii from potential attacks. Today, the fort is a National Historic Landmark and is home to several military memorials and monuments.

Hiking Trails

While the summit hike is the most famous trail within the park, there are several other hiking trails that offer stunning views and unique experiences.

One of these is the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail, a paved path that leads visitors up to the top of the Makapuu Point Lighthouse. The trail offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding coastline, and visitors may even spot humpback whales during the winter months.

Another hiking trail within the park is the Koko Crater Trail. This challenging hike takes visitors up a steep incline of over 1,000 steps to the top of the Koko Crater, where they will be rewarded with stunning views of the island.

The trail was originally built as a railway to transport military supplies during World War II and is a testament to Hawaii’s rich history.

Picnicking and Camping

For those who want to spend more time in the park, there are several picnic areas and camping sites available. The park’s picnic areas offer stunning views of Diamond Head and the ocean and are a great place to relax and enjoy a meal.

The park also has several campsites available for those who want to spend the night. The campsites are located in a secluded area of the park and offer a unique camping experience surrounded by Hawaii’s natural beauty.

Wildlife Viewing

Diamond Head State Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including several species of birds, sea turtles, and even humpback whales during the winter months.

Visitors can spot these animals while hiking on the park’s trails or while relaxing on the beach. The park’s rocky shoreline is also a great place to watch for Hawaiian monk seals, which are an endangered species that call the waters around the islands home.

Visitors should be sure to give these animals plenty of space and avoid disturbing them.

Educational Programs

For visitors who want to learn more about the park’s history and natural environment, Diamond Head State Park offers a variety of educational programs and guided tours.

The park’s rangers lead hikes and interpretive programs that explore the park’s geology, ecology, and cultural history.

Visitors can learn about the plants and animals that call the park home, as well as the unique geological formations that make up the Diamond Head crater.

The park also hosts cultural demonstrations and events that showcase Hawaii’s rich heritage and traditions.

Visiting Diamond Head State Park

If you’re planning a visit to Diamond Head State Park, there are a few things to keep in mind. The park is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm, and admission is $5 per vehicle or $1 per person for pedestrians.

Visitors should be prepared for the heat and sun, as the park can get quite hot during the day.

Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat or other protective clothing. Wear comfortable shoes, as the trails can be steep and rocky in places.

Visitors should also be aware that the park can get crowded, especially during peak season. If you’re planning to hike to the summit, be prepared for a strenuous climb and be sure to arrive early to avoid crowds. If you’re looking for a quieter experience, consider exploring some of the park’s other attractions, such as the beaches or historic sites.

Diamond Head State Park offers much more than just a hike to the summit of the iconic Diamond Head crater.

From beautiful beaches and historic sites to hiking trails and educational programs, there is something for everyone to enjoy within the park’s boundaries.

Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike, a peaceful picnic spot, or a chance to learn more about Hawaii’s history and natural environment, Diamond Head State Park has it all. So, next time you’re in Oahu, be sure to plan a visit to this amazing park and discover all of its hidden gems beyond the summit.