A few days ago I posted about my first attempt to run up the Diamond Head Crater/Peak on Oahu, but I was confused about how to actually get up there. Today we figured it out.
For all the times I’ve been to Hawaii and dragged along super touristy destinations by my mom (we’re talking scuba trips, horseback riding, luaus, kayaking, cultural centers, the volcano spewing lava, a really nerdy bi-plane tour of the island), it’s surprising to me that I had never been to the top of Diamond Head.
On Sunday, I started running along the beach and then up Diamond Head Highway, but after learning it was just a loop with a great view, today we went the other way (i.e. away from the ocean). Basically, if you are running from Kapiolani Park along Monsarrat Rd, it will eventually turn into the backside of Diamond Head Highway and there will be big yellow signs and gates that say, “Diamond Head Crater” with big arrows. Of course we were doing a lot of stopping and starting and asking, “Is that the trail?” Once we paid our $1 admission, we were off.
While I realize my goal was to “run” Diamond Head, I now realize how lofty that goal was. First off, there were already a million people at 7am; I was dodging around people on a relatively narrow trail that was half-paved, half loose and uneven rocks. And let’s not forget the humidity and the elevation. I read some blog last night where a guy who said he was “38 and moderately out of shape” didn’t have much trouble, I was like, “Oh man this one’s in the bag!” I mean, come on, I run 3-4 days a week, in PORTLAND, OREGON – the city of hills and mountains!
Well let me tell you that as a 34 year-old female who is pretty in shape, it was hard. I’m proud to say I ran most of the way up, I finally allowed myself a brisk walk for fear of vomiting in front of 1000 Japanese tourists with their cameras handy. At the 500 foot level, we reached a set of 200 stairs…
…and then some scary, claustrophobic tunnels…
…that took us to the 773 ft elevation.
So here’s the breakdown if you ever plan on trying this:
It’s about 2 miles to the Diamond Head Crater entry gate from Kapiolani Park (my map below is a little off because I forgot to resume after a stop light). Then it’s a little over a mile to the peak. Don’t forget you have to make it home, which will add another 3+ miles (that are mostly downhill).
So there – I did it. BOOM.