Diamond Head (Lighthouse, Military Remnants, Tunnels, Waikiki)
This is the quintessential Oahu hike located right in Waikiki, everyone does it and the trail is packed accordingly. There are many things that make this hike very interesting and unique, but it is really hard to look past the throngs of people crowding the trail, from my point of view. If you decide to drive here parking will cost you $5. I visited on a Saturday morning after the KCC farmers market (Kapiolani Community College 4303 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu), left my car there, and made it a short way to the trail by foot to save a few bucks. Entrance fee for walk ins is still $1 a person. There are bathrooms, a food truck, and a few gifts for sale. The trail starts off paved on a very light incline. It then increases a bit in steepness and you start heading up with a multitude of switchbacks on a dirt mildly rocky path. There are some views and also some descent birding here. You will encounter a number of tunnels and staircases which are very cool, but things can get backed up on account of the amount of people which is slightly frustrating, especially if you are a fast pace hiker. The tunnels are a little claustrophobic; if that bothers you it’s something to be aware of. After a short distance you reach the summit and there are a few viewing stations, which may be extremely crowded. We spent very little time here because there wasn’t any room to breath! The views were undeniably beautiful, and there is a cool little lighthouse to observe and abandoned military bunkers. This is a really great trail to be sure, but just be aware that it is extremely popular and crowded! A great nearby breakfast can be found at Diamond Head Cove Health Bar.
Back to the KCC farmers market: It runs Saturdays from 7:30am-11am and is very well known about. We decided to get there at 7:30 right as they were opening to avoid crowds, and there were still a lot of early birds! It isn’t a huge market; there are few rows with some unique vendors. My first stop was to try abalone for the first time. The guys were grilling it fresh right in front of us, two shells filled with meat for 6 or 7 bucks I can’t remember exactly. There is a station with condiments and we squirted a little butter on them. Even at 7am, an interesting breakfast choice, I really liked it! It had a naturally savory flavor and an interesting chewy texture. Once finished you have a gorgeous shell to clean and keep if you please. We got some great coffee and gifts to bring back home for our families.
After have taken this hike you might want to go on a journey to find Diamond Head soda, just because hey, you hiked it! I heard it was good so I checked for it throughout the trip anytime there was a soda machine, at the grocery store, and on every menu. The only place I found it was at Nico’s at Pier 38. We had lunch there one day which was pretty good (didn’t make it to the best of though!) and I finally got my diamond head soda!! I chose the red cream and it was a refreshing victory.