The crater, known in Hawaiian as Leahi (brow of the tuna), was given the name Diamond Head by 19th-century British seamen who believed they had discovered diamonds on the crater’s slopes. These so-called “diamonds” were essentially worthless calcite crystals with a gleaming surface. The crater, which was formed more than 100,000 years ago, was used as a strategic military lookout in the early 1900s and was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1968. Diamond Head is now a popular hiking spot with panoramic views of Waikiki and the south shore of Oahu.
Taking a trip to Leahi
Diamond Head Crater is only a short car or bus ride away from Waikiki. This moderately difficult walk features two sets of stairs with a total of 175 steps, as well as dark underground tunnels and old military bunkers that necessitate the use of a flashlight. The breathtaking views from the summit of Diamond Head are definitely worth the effort.
If you want to walk on Saturday morning, don’t forget to stop by the Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market, which is located across the street from the monument entry on Monsarrat Avenue and features locally grown food and produce. In fact, Monsarrat is lined with noteworthy cafes and restaurants that provide for a superb pre- or post-Diamond Head lunch.