Our most recognized State Monument, Diamond Head also named Le‘ahi -
(brow of the ‘ahi fish), is visited by over 3,000 visitors and
Kamaainas a day. Diamond Head was in dire need of improvements and
a relief from the existing summit trail. Together with the State of
Hawai‘i, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of
Parks and our team, under the leadership of Diane Y. Kodama and
Aecom, we prepared plans for the new Loop Trail and Ledge Trail.
The Loop Trail is located from the lower rest area to the bottom of
the summit steps and the Ledge Trail is located from the control
station to the bottom of the summit steps.
The design of the new Loop Trail and Ledge Trail improvements
focused on maintaining the natural look of the crater while
minimizing excavation, erosion and shadows created by the new
walkways. In addition, the trail and improvements were designed to
minimize maintenance and to stand the test of time to last at least
I sketched and colored plans to show where and what the Loop Trail
and Ledge Trail would look like on the slopes of Diamond Head.
Meetings took place with the State, and plans were presented to
supporters of Diamond Head. The new trail will not only provide a
new pathway, but will also provide access to additional sweeping
views and a safe passageway to the summit.
Diamond Head Crater occurred around 1.3 million years ago when the
volcano that made up the Ko‘olau Range erupted from beneath the
ocean floor. Around 300,000 years ago, the ash and fine particles
made by the water and steam as the magma met the ocean formed a rock
called tuff. This tuff cone, oval in shape and formed by the winds,
is named Le‘ahi. The crater encompasses 350 acres and it rises to
560 feet to the summit.
Diamond Head later got its well-known name because in the 1700's
Western explorers mistook the calcite crystals in the rocks for
diamonds. Diamond Head was designated a National Natural Landmark
The trail to the summit was built in 1908 as part of the U.S. Army
Coastal Artillery defense system. The existing hike is .8 miles to
The new Diamond Head Loop Trail and Ledge Trail Improvements will
allow visitors and Kamaainas to continue to enjoy a memorable hike
and to see the spectacular views from the summit of our treasured
and prominent Diamond Head State Monument.
Diamond Head Loop Trail and Ledge Trail Improvements project was
recognized by Scenic
Hawai‘i for a Betty Crocker Award of Appreciation in 2012.