Posted Fri, November 27, 2009 - 10:45 PM
hawaii, photography, travel
Diamond Head, or Lē‘ahi, is one of the most well known natural features in Honolulu. It's the remains of an old cinder cone, with a central crater that's not obvious from the ground but shows up great from the air:
Diamond Head from above, looking approximately south. Taken out the window of our plane to Moloka‘i.
Most of the roads you see in the crater are not public - they're actually access roads for a military installation and an FAA installation, except for the bottom right one, which is the beginning of the hiking trail up to the high point visible on the right side. I took this trail the afternoon before we left for Moloka‘i. More photos below.
The trail up isn't the easiest, but it's short enough that most tourists can make it to the top. It switchbacks several times through dry scrubland, and near the top there are three flights of steps and a 250-foot tunnel that take you into the inside of an old concrete bunker. You have to climb up a 4-foot iron ladder and duck down to get through the slot in the pillbox.
Despite the busy trail, the views from the top are definitely worth it! To the south and steeply down is the Diamond Head lighthouse. The ocean colors are great - and look for the crowd of surfers in the upper left corner.
The entire city skyline is visible to the west, with Kapi‘olani Park and Waikīkī Beach in the foreground, Pearl Harbor in the background, and the western mountains on the horizon.
To the north, you can see how the city spills up into the valleys and ridges above town - anywhere it's flat enough to build.
This is one of the stairways we had to climb. I thought it made an interesting picture, so I hung over the railing and waited for a gap in the neverending stream of hikers.