By Jonathan Howery
The Hawaii Turtle Tours takes you to a stop to view Diamond Head Beach and Crater. A majestic crater along the Honolulu skyline is the 760 foot tuff crater of Diamond Head State Monument. On the most south-eastern point of Oahu, this is one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. Diamond Head was once known as Leahi which means the brow of the tuna in Hawaiian. The crater was named Diamond Hill by nineteenth century British sailors who thought they had discovered diamonds on the crater. But they were disillusioned because these weren’t diamonds. Shiny calcite crystals of no value were what the sailors found. Eventually the name evolved into Diamond Head.
Formed more than 100,000 years ago, the crater was once used as a strategic military lookout in the early 1900s. Fort Ruger was the first United States military reservation on Hawaii. Now only a National Guard facility and the Hawaii State Civil Defense remain. Because it continues to serve as a platform for antennas used by the U.S. government, part of Diamond Head is closed to the public. The park opens at 6am and also closes at 6 p.m. so no one is allowed to head up the trail after 4:30 p.m.
Named a National Natural Landmark in 1968, the crater’s closeness to Honolulu’s resort hotels and beaches makes it a very popular tourist spot. Once there, the hike takes about 2 hours for a round-trip. Be prepared for steep steps used for a total elevation of 762 ft. The mostly unpaved trail winds over uneven rock, ascends 74 steps, then through a tunnel and up another steep 99 steps. A small lighted tunnel leads to a narrow spiral staircase of about 43 steps inside a coastal artillery observation platform that was built in 1908. From the summit above the observation platform both Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean can be seen in panoramic detail. The stunning views at the top of Diamond Head are well worth the effort.
Enjoy your vacation here in the lovely Hawaiian Islands and if you have any questions about Hawaii Turtle Tours or about this blog, feel free to email at [email protected].