In bid to ease crowds, state launches reservations system for Diamond Head

A spur-of-the moment hike up Diamond Head may soon not be an option for visitors.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 4:11 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 25, 2022 at 4:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A spur-of-the moment hike up Diamond Head may soon not be an option for visitors.

The state announced Monday it is launching a new online reservations system for non-residents aimed at regulating crowds on the popular trail.

From the crater floor to the summit, traffic has long been part of the Diamond Head experience and even first-time visitors are surprised by the congestion.

“Just even taking photos, you have to kind of wait for the nice picture behind you,” said Mary Anne Basco, who is visiting Hawaii from California.

“Just wait and it just got really crowded at some point.”

Starting May 12, out-of-state visitors must have booked a time in advance slot to enter the park and their time inside will be limited

If there are no available windows, then they’ll need to choose another day.

“Part of destination management is spreading the demand out a little bit more,” said Ilihia Gionson, Hawaii Tourism Authority public affairs officer.

“Maybe it can handle that many people in a day, but not all at the same time and so reservation systems like this are a way to balance that load out for a better experience for everybody.”

Thousands visit the park on a daily basis.

Before the pandemic, a record 6,000 people went hiking on a single day.

The state hopes to improve the experience and protect the trail ― with revenue from its $5 fee.

“Our pricing reflects that whole paradigm shift of for years we were an all you can eat buffet and we were giving our food away,” Department of Land and Natural Resources administrator Curt Cottrell.

“Now, sorry we’re more like a high-class restaurant, you gotta get advanced reservations for your table, but we can provide you better service.”

The online reservations system is scheduled to launch Thursday for bookings beginning May 12.

Kamaaina can still enjoy the hike for free and without a reservation.

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