Listed as a National Natural Landmark, the iconic Lē‘ahi – Diamond Head State Monument (DHSM), is the third park unit in the Hawai‘i State Park system to require advanced reservations for out-of-state visitors, beginning on May 12, 2022. Hawai‘i residents continue to enjoy free access without reservations, but entry may depend on parking availability.
On Kaua‘i, at Hā‘ena State Park, and on Maui at Waiʻānapanapa State Park, reservation systems are already in place.
Diamond Head is one of the most sought-after and visited attractions in Hawai‘i. Prior to the pandemic, during the 2019 winter holiday period, the park had a record visitation day of over 6,000 people. The new reservation system is intended to reduce hiker congestion along the narrow and winding trail to the summit, reduce the load on the comfort station and reduce vehicle congestion entering and exiting the sole access tunnel at Diamond Head. The DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) hopes to also reduce parking issues in urban neighborhoods outside of Diamond Head.
The DSP goal is to improve the quality of the experience by reducing access during the more popular and currently congested morning time period and have patrons select the less crowded afternoon slots if they must hike on a particular day. Otherwise, as with any capacity-based reservation system, they must select another day. Visitors will need to plan their hikes in advance.
In 2020, DSP increased fees from one dollar for walk-ins and five dollars for vehicles to ten dollars for parking and five dollars per person for entry.
The system will rely upon QR codes to confirm reservations and will eliminate the exchange of cash at the entrance, reducing the time it takes to enter Diamond Head. When activated on April 28, the system will allow for reservations beginning 14 days into the future. After May 12, out-of-state visitors will not be allowed to enter without an advanced reservation. In addition, commercial tour and trolley patrons will have to have reservations.