The State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced that advanced reservations will be required for out-of-state visitors at iconic Lē‘ahi – Diamond Head State Monument, effective May 12, 2022. The implementation of this system delivers on one of the top priorities of the community as articulated in the Oʻahu Destination Management Action Plan.
Diamond Head State Monument is one of Oʻahu’s most sought-after and visited attractions with stunning views along its hiking trail. The new reservation system will mitigate environmental impacts sustained by foot traffic, reduce vehicle congestion in the park and surrounding neighborhoods, improve the experience of kamaʻāina and visitors enjoying the monument, and help preserve this landmark for future generations.
When the system is activated on April 28, the system will allow for reservations beginning 14 days in the future. Beginning May 12, individuals without a Hawai‘i State Driver’s License or ID must have advance reservations to enter the park. Hawai‘i residents will continue to enjoy free access to the park without reservations, but entry may depend on parking availability.
Commercial tour and trolley patrons will also be required to have reservations. Registered PUC commercial carriers will have access to a separate reservation portal developed concurrently with the public reservation system.
Visitors parking vehicles in the crater will be required to book in two-hour time slots beginning at 6 a.m. (two consecutive slots can be booked). Walk-in and drop-off visitors will be subject to one-hour entry time slots. Arrival and exit times will be enforced to assure adequate turnover to allow for later arrivals. Park hours and visitor entrance fees are available at https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/diamond-head-state-monument/.
“This new reservation system will be instrumental in managing visitor capacity within Lēʻahi and protecting its natural environment and cultural sites, improving the experience for everyone and allowing us to be better stewards of this special place,” said John De Fries, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) president and CEO, who grew up in Waikīkī at the foot of Lēʻahi. “We thank the Department of Land and Natural Resources for their partnership, and we support our sister agency in its continued efforts at Lēʻahi and other sites across Hawaiʻi. Together with our industry partners, we are urging visitors to plan ahead when booking their trips and become familiarized with the new process.”
Action E of HTA’s Oʻahu Destination Management Action Plan (DMAP) calls for the development of reservation systems to monitor and manage users at natural resource and cultural sites. Published in August 2021, the DMAP is a collaborative, community-based tourism management plan to rebuild, redefine and reset the direction of tourism on O‘ahu. Developed by the residents of O‘ahu, and in partnership with the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau (OVB), DLNR and other state and county agencies, the visitor industry and community, the O‘ahu DMAP identifies areas of need as well as solutions for enhancing the residents’ quality of life and improving the visitor experience.
“We commend DLNR for bringing this reservation system to fruition, to support the efforts to manage the flow of visitors and residents into Diamond Head State Monument, and make the experience more enjoyable for all,” said Noelani Schilling-Wheeler, executive director of the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau. “As reservation systems have proven to be an effective tool for monitoring and managing capacity, this is an exciting and vital development for our community and industry. It directly contributes to our collective DMAP goal of ushering forth sustainable tourism management for our people and place.”
This is the third state park to require reservations. On Kaua‘i at Hā‘ena State Park and on Maui at Waiʻānapanapa State Park, reservation systems have improved the quality of experience and reduced impacts on surrounding communities and resources. Reservations are also required at the City’s Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on O‘ahu.
For travelers unable to obtain reservations for their desired day, visit GoHawaii.com/Oahu to learn about other experiences and activities.
For more information on the Diamond Head State Monument reservation system, visit https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/diamond-head-state-monument/.