Diamond Head Crater is just one of Oahu's many hikes!
Three craters located on Oahu make for great hiking for the adventurous members of your family. Koko Head Crater, Diamond Head, and Ka'au Crater offer unique perspectives. Consider an active family vacation in Hawaii and check out cheap flights to Honolulu.
Koko Head Crater
Older kids who are ready for a bit of a challenge will love hiking up Koko Head Crater in Honolulu. 1,050 old railroad tie stairs lead the way to the top of crater, where you'll find a great view of the Pacific Ocean, Makapu'u Lighthouse and Hanauma Bay. With no fees, plenty of nearby parking, and a challenge ahead of you, this Stairmaster to the top is worth the effort. Be prepared, though – the steep hike back down is quite difficult after the strain of walking up.
By far the most challenging crater on Oahu, the Ka'au Crater is for experienced hikers only. If you are bringing your older kids along, be sure that they have a substantial amount of hiking under their belt before venturing to the top of this crater; it is slippery and filled with steep edges. That being said, the hike is a beautiful one, taking its travelers along the river that leads to the top of the crater. Be sure to wear shoes that can get wet as you will cross the river numerous times. Very slippery, narrow trails lead the rest of the way up the crater, past three waterfalls, and even up the side of a mountain with the assistance of ropes. As mentioned, this is not for the faint of heart or novice hiker! Due to the demands of this hike, plan at least six hours to fully (and safely) traverse the couple of miles it covers.
Standing in stark contrast to Ka'au, Diamond Head is by far the easiest crater hike on the island. The roundtrip distance covers just over a mile and a half and is perfect for families with young children (although strollers are not recommended). The touristy feel to this park means it stays busy all day, so arrive early if you want to avoid the crowds. The trail consists of a mixture of relatively easy paved paths, a few switchbacks, and a pretty reasonable amount of stairs. The reward at the top offers you great views of Waikiki. Fees for entering Diamond Head are $5/car or $1/pedestrian. Open 6am-6pm daily.
Photo credit: Flickr, danramarch