The Diamond Head State Monument is slated to reopen to the public Thursday after a nine-month closure with significant changes that include occupancy limits on the popular hiking trail.
As the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks prepare to reopen the park, they remind people to wear masks in the park and practice physical distancing. Staff also ask park users to avoid lingering along the trail and at the summit.
Officials plan to release additional details Thursday on the occupancy limits.
In a news release, State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said, “Drivers will be informed at the park’s entrance when the parking lot is full and walk-in visitors may be asked to wait before starting their hikes if our staff determines the trail is at specific capacity and social distancing becomes an issue.”
Among the changes at the Diamond Head are modified park hours.
The park will open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, except Christmas and New Year’s Day. It will remain closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday every week due to limited staffing and to assess protocols due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In pre-COVID-19 days, the park was open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Approximately 3,000 people visited Diamond Head daily. Many residents and visitors alike hike to the top of the summit to get a sweeping view of Oahu’s southern coastline.
During the months-long shutdown, the parks division completed maintenance projects that include painting the fire control station and stairs along the trail and summit. Volunteers also assisted with cleanup projects.
At the Kahala Tunnel, the parks division converted the two-way traffic lane to one lane and widened the pedestrian access lane to improve safety. A new traffic control system will control vehicular traffic at both ends of the tunnel.
Officials said the parks division lost nearly $1 million in revenue due to the closure of the Diamond Head State Monument. Plans are underway to increase entrance fees for non-residents.
The current entrance fee is $10 for non-commercial vehicles and $5 for walk-in visitors. Parking and entry is free for Hawaii residents.