Exploring Diamond Head

by kenji SAITO on December 7, 2014

Exploring Diamond Head

Wishing to explore the iconic symbol of Hawaii but wanting to stay away from the high heeled hordes that flood Diamond Head daily, I decided to literally borrow a page from a published list that details the many other ridges of Diamond Head.

Full moon

Full moon

Met up with George and Glenn at the trailhead that was sandwiched in between expensive real estate. Parking is not free.

Abandoned reservoir

Abandoned reservoir

Grafitti, trash and shrubbery have taken over. Photo by Glenn Toyama.

Hello?

Hello?

Looking up, we saw the tourists gawking at the sights below them.

Follow the cable

Follow the cable

Cables are laid out on some of the ridges and the entire crater rim.

A ridge too far

A ridge too far

Another ridge to explore for another day.

Ratty ropes

Ratty ropes

Climbing up the rocky face, ropes are present but not needed. Photo by George Vuong.

Looking back

Looking back

The ridge we had just climbed up.

Good morning Waikiki

Good morning Waikiki

The sun was casting its reflection across the waters of Waikiki.

Crowded at the summit

Crowded at the summit

Lots of leg room here. Group photo left to right: Glenn, myself and George.

Down the stairs

Down the stairs

We went down the stairs to connect back to the rim.

Fire control station

Fire control station

Looking back at the four level command post that was completed in 1911.

On the rim

On the rim

George on the ocean side of the rim.

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Keeping the ships away since 1899.

Pillbox junction

Pillbox junction

The last exposed bunker on the ocean side of the rim.

Coming up

Coming up

Glenn checked out the lower level of the bunker. No homeless reported. But we did see what looked like several homeless camps in the gullies of the outside crater.

Another bunker

Another bunker

Looking down at one of the two bunkers that are emplaced below the rim on the ocean side.

Looking back at the rim

Looking back at the rim

The sun was slowly chasing the shade away.

Crumbly way down

Crumbly way down

George and Glenn making their way down the loose and crumbly trail.

Concrete way down

Concrete way down

A roughly poured concrete strip goes down from the bunker to Diamond Head road. Read that people use this to run up to the crater rim.

On the road again

On the road again

We popped out on the road and began walking to the next ridge that would take us back to the rim.

Going back up

Going back up

Figuring out which ridge to go up. A guy shouted to us that we were going up the wrong way and lots of people have been helicoptered out going this way. Really?

Contouring the concertina wire

Contouring the concertina wire

The two lower bunkers were heavily ringed with rolls of concertina wire which forced us to contour to the sides to avoid death by a thousand cuts.

Panoramic view

Panoramic view

Click here for the larger image.

Back on the rim

Back on the rim

It was getting hot on the exposed rim.

Search light bunker

Search light bunker

Looking into the last extant bunker that used to house one of six search lights.

Twin bunkers

Twin bunkers

Followed the trail down between two former anti-aircraft bunkers that led us to the Kahala tunnel entrance.

Road less traveled

Road less traveled

Took a side road that hugged the crater.

Storage tunnel

Storage tunnel

One of seven storage tunnels bored into the crater walls.

Back up

Back up

The road eventually terminated and we followed the closest ridge back up to the rim.

Ala Wai Canal

Ala Wai Canal

Looking at Ala Wai Canal, created in 1928 that drained the swamps and created the Waikiki that we know today.

Blown away

Blown away

It was a windy day on the rim. Claimed my boonie hat. Time to visit the surplus shop.

Scrambling up

Scrambling up

George going up a rock face on the rim.

Clear day

Clear day

The Ko’olau mountain range in the background.

Balancing

Balancing

George traversing a narrow section of the rim.

Urban sprawl and crawl

Urban sprawl and crawl

A sea of urbanization spilling from the mountains to the ocean.

Scooting the rim

Scooting the rim

George going across the last narrow rim section.

Scenic point

Scenic point

Views of Waikiki and the Waianae mountain range in the background.

Tourists

Tourists

We completed the rim loop at the lookout. More tourists.

Claustrophobic?

Claustrophobic?

Glenn felt a little claustrophobic going through the dimly lit tunnel. Lucky it was a short walk.

Traffic jam

Traffic jam

It was a chore navigating the crowd of high heels, slippers and dress shoes.

Abunai!

Abunai!

Going out the Kahala Tunnel.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

Hiking the crater rim covered 4.7 miles under hot, crumbly and fun conditions. So far, explored seven ridges and fourteen more left!

Leave a Comment

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandon May 18, 2015 at 4:56 pm

Did anyone give you any trouble doing this hike? I’d love to see more of Diamond Head.

Reply

kenji SAITO May 18, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Aloha Brandon,
Nobody gave us trouble, but I would not recommend hiking the rim as there are crumbly and narrow sections on the rim.
Mahalo

Reply

Mason February 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm

I had done the pit to the lookout hike and the concrete poured path and when we saw the bunker with the pictures on the wall, we went down the stairs and a bat came flying at our heads! Surely scared us! A little bummed that the pit is closed. New barbed wire, and a six foot tall as wide as you can see stack of dead thorn bushes. I guess you have to come down from the top now… One time we went from the concrete path all on the ridge to the lookout and then down to the pit, once we were down at the fence, we couldnt get passed the thorns so we had to get over the over hanged barbed wire, that was a pain! Loved seeing someone else doing the same things I do with my friends :)

Reply

kenji SAITO February 14, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Aloha Mason,
Thanks. Always good to hear from like minded folks. Yup, saw the stack of dead thorn bushes when we tried going up last year. Guess too much traffic, so they had to cut it off. Always fun exploring the island. Maybe we’ll bump into each other on the trails one day.
Mahalo

Reply

Chris October 24, 2017 at 3:28 am

Which trail leads to the abandoned water reservoir (graffiti pit)?

Reply

kenji SAITO October 24, 2017 at 10:51 am

Aloha Chris,
That trail is now closed off and virtually impassable due to the barrier of thorns and barbed wire.
Mahalo

Reply

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