Diamond Head State Monument
One of the most recognizable icons in Hawaii, this volcanic ash cone overlooks Waikiki's coastline—a tectonic memory from an explosion half a million years ago, measuring more than 3,497 feet across. British sailors named it Diamond Head in the 1800s, mistaking calcite crystals in the crater’s soil for jewels. Despite its volcanic grandeur, the ascent takes most hikers an hour, weighing in at 560 feet of elevation gain and 1.6 miles roundtrip. At the top, on a clear day, you can see forever... or at least all of Oahu's south shore, from Koko Head Crater and Waikiki to the Waianae Mountains.
By Amanda Castleman, AFAR Local Expert
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Waikīkī, HI 96815, USA