About 20 minutes outside of downtown Honolulu is an amazing panoramic view and lush rainforest hike. From the Tantalus Lookout you get a breathtaking view of the south shore of Oahu, including Waikiki and Diamond Head. The hike travels along the ‘Ualaka’a Trail and winds through banyan trees, bamboo, and even strawberry guava!
Location: Honolulu, HI
Distance: 2.4 Miles
Exposure: Mostly Shade
Bikes Allowed: No
Dog Friendly: Yes (On trail Only)
Parking: Free – (Limited)
Restrooms: Yes – Plumbing
Doggie Bags: No
Seating: Picnic Area
Trash: Yes – (At Trailhead Only)
Drinking Water: Yes
The trail starts at the ‘Ualaka’a trail head. There is a junction to the Kanealole Trail or the Makiki Valley Trail. This hike, we took the Kanealole direction. You could spend the whole day in this trail system as there are many interconnecting trails. This trail is categorized as medium difficulty. The elevation change isn’t too difficult, but the uneven terrain, rocks, and mud can be challenging.
From the H1 head north on Punahou and make a Left on Nehoa St. Take a right on Makiki St and a quick left onto Round Top Dr. Follow the signs up to Tantalus Lookout or The ‘Ualaka’a Trail Head.
Trail Conditions: Division of State Parks
About this Hike
Before starting the hike, take an opportunity to go up to the Tantalus Lookout. From here you’ll get a full view of the entire south shore. From Diamond Head to the Airport! Once you’re done, head back down the road and follow the sign for the trail head.
Lush Canopy and Flowers
There are so many plants and flowers along this trail, so much to see. The canopy covers and keeps most of the trail cooler. A wide variety of wild flowers and blooms can be found in the ground cover and trees!
Nearby Nutridge Estate
The trail head actually starts in the parking lot of Nutridge Estate, Hawaii’s first macadamia nut plantation. As a result, there are some oddly beautiful manmade tree formations.
All along the trail you will pass through natural arches made from banyan trees. These make for unforgettable photographs, so bring a tripod!
The trail has great signs helping you along the way. Some of the signs are informational and others make sure you know which way you’re going and how to return on the way back.
Don't Want to Bum You Out, But...
These are some things to consider when going on this hike. In no way should these things prevent you from going, I just wanted you let you know!
- The trail allows hunting on Wednesdays and Sundays. Most hunters will wander far off the trail into the hillsides. Wear bright clothing and leave the dog at home if hiking on these days.
- Mosquitos! Make sure to apply insect repellant before heading out on the trail. There are some big ones!
Overall this was an amazing hike! Great views, lush forest, and feels good to get out of the office chair!