One of Oahu’s top visitor destinations will be getting a few upgrades this year to better accommodate the 600,000 people who trek through its dusty slopes. Diamond Head, a saucer-shaped crater on the eastern edge of Waikiki, is known for its hiking trail, stunning coastal views and military history.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie (third from left) helped to break ground yesterday for the new linear park at Diamond Head.

Yesterday, the state began work on the 1.3-mile linear park, which will be added to Diamond Head’s exterior slopes and include an accessible multi-use pathway, as well as picnic and rest areas. It will be across of Kapiolani Community College on Diamond Head Road. The effort to beautify and preserve this prominent landmark, also a state monument, should be completed by November 2012.

The state has already been making improvements to the inside of the crater by renovating the parking lot, installing a visitor kiosk and completing a new comfort station. The usually-dim tunnel and spiral staircase in the second half of the hike now looks much brighter after some lighting improvements were made. The new loop trail section is perhaps the most noticeable change to the hike, which better directs the flow of hikers.

Bird’s eye view of the park-to-be, which will include lots of shady areas for picnics.

I always wondered when something would be done about the narrow and cracked sidewalks fronting the park. Not sure if you could even call them sidewalks, as they’re so decrepit that sections of it are actually missing. I usually have to hop onto the road and then back onto the sidewalk; something I’ve seen lots of joggers and tourists do as well. Many tourists choose to walk to Diamond Head because it’s fairly close to Waikiki, so having this additional access will not only beautify a historic site but increase the safety of it as well.

A cross section of the pathway that will run parallel to Diamond Head Road (left).

DIAMOND HEAD SUMMIT TRAIL • Honolulu, HI 96815 • Opens daily (including holidays) 6am-6pm • Entrance fee: $5 per car, $1 per pedestrian • Easy-medium, marked, partially-paved trail • 808-587-0825

Photo Credit: Clifford Inn (first); DLNR (maps)


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