One of Hawaii’s most recognized landmarks (Le’ahi) is known for its historic summit hiking trail, the panoramic and stunning coastal views, and its 20th century military history. The Diamond Head crater is 3,520 feet in diameter with a 760-foot summit. When the United States annexed Hawaii in 1898, harbor defense became a main responsibility. One of the major defense forts, Fort Ruger, occupied the Crater.
A battery of cannons was located within the crater providing complete concealment and protection from invading enemies. An observation deck was constructed at the summit in 1910 to provide target sighting, and a four level underground complex was built within the walls of the crater as a command post. A 580-foot tunnel was dug through the crater wall to provide easier access to the fort.
Tunnel to access Diamond Head Crater
This popular state park has an average of 2,100 visitors each day, or over 600,000 per year! All going through that Entrance Tunnel year after year. Right now, the trail is being resurfaced, and the horizontal and vertical sloping side sections made more durable and safe. Additional improvements are planned. Meanwhile,the parking lot and crater floor area is still open to visitors to the park.
For your convenience, I have linked the Hawaii State Park web site for the open and close dates, and additional information. From trail head to the summit, it is worth it, but rather steep and strenuous, so definitely come prepared! Ascending 560 ft. from the crater floor with switchbacks traversing the slope of the crater interior and continuing up steep stairs, and through a lighted tunnel. There are glimpses of the geological and military history of this wonderful volcanic site as finally the summit is achieved.
The Fire Control Station, built in 1911, was used for those manning it long ago as they directed artillery fire from batteries in Waikiki and Fort Ruger, outside of the Crater. Also, at the summit there are bunkers and a huge navigational lighthouse built in 1917.
There, you can take time to catch your breath and enjoy viewing the many sights below and beyond. The shorelines, ocean, southeast to the distant Koko Head craters, where the superb water oriented, and planned residential/commercial community of Hawaii Kai is located.
View facing East towards Koko Crater and Koko Head in Hawaii Kai
A unique experience for all and another reason for enjoying living here on this diverse island of Oahu. Nearby residences and condominiums are often just a walk, or short drive to this prime location. Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Kahala, Waialae, Waikiki, and up Mauka (toward the mountains) on the slopes and in the valleys with Diamond Head stalwartly there in view. Come and “Live Hawaii” and experience the “Aloha.”
Contact me for an up-to-date gallery and multiple listing breakdown on what is available near by this “Sphinx of the Pacific.”
Note: In Hawaii, there is often a gathering of family and friends, and in a casual way stories are told of that days happenings, or past events. We call it “talk story.” My continued series will be about different places around Oahu with a bit of their history, and the many opportunities for you today. I would love to hear about your personal Hawaii memories to share, perhaps during the territorial days, like I was, growing up out Koko Head way. Hawaii is a special place, and so are the people. Follow me as we discover a lifestyle best suited for YOU. Whether it is a new military move, a casual beach house, a downsized retirement home, a golf course fronted resort home-away-from-home, a grand residence with superb view, or a high rise condominium, the choices and Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, Inc. resources are many. Contact me today with your interest, needs, and desires or let’s just “Talk Story!”