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Tantalus Lookout On Oahu, Hawaii: Best Sunset Viewpoint


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Winifred Timm



Imagine standing atop a lush green mountain, with panoramic views of a picturesque landscape stretching out as far as the eye can see. The warm golden rays of the setting sun painting the sky in vibrant hues of orange and pink, creating a breathtaking spectacle that takes your breath away. Welcome to Tantalus Lookout on Oahu, Hawaii, one of the best sunset viewpoints on the island.


Tantalus Lookout, nestled in the Ko’olau Mountains, offers visitors an unrivaled vantage point to witness the extraordinary beauty of nature. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography enthusiast, or simply looking for a serene spot to soak in the ethereal beauty of Hawaii, Tantalus Lookout has something for everyone.


As you arrive at Tantalus Lookout, you will be greeted by a combination of cool mountain air and the sweet scent of tropical flowers. The lookout is surrounded by abundant foliage, including native trees and vibrant Hawaiian flora, giving it a magical ambiance that transports you to paradise.


One of the highlights of Tantalus Lookout is its unparalleled views of the cityscape of Honolulu and the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. The sight of the city lights at nightfall is a sight to behold, as the urban landscape merges seamlessly with the natural beauty of the island.


Whether you are a visitor or a local, Tantalus Lookout offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is a place where the stresses of everyday life melt away, and you can immerse yourself in the tranquility and serenity of nature.


In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey to Tantalus Lookout, exploring its location, how to get there, and what to expect once you arrive. We’ll also share some tips to make the most of your visit and ensure you have a memorable experience at this magnificent sunset viewpoint. So, get ready to embark on an adventure and discover the hidden gem that is Tantalus Lookout on Oahu, Hawaii.


Location of Tantalus Lookout

Tantalus Lookout is located in the Puu Ualakaa State Park, which is situated in the Ko’olau Mountains on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It is perched at an elevation of approximately 1,048 feet, providing visitors with breathtaking panoramic views of the island’s stunning natural beauty.


The lookout is conveniently located just a short drive from downtown Honolulu, making it easily accessible for both locals and tourists. As you ascend towards the mountain, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas of the city and the shimmering ocean, foreshadowing the awe-inspiring views that await you at the top.


One of the reasons why Tantalus Lookout is such a popular destination is its proximity to numerous attractions on the island. Just a short distance away, you’ll find the vibrant neighborhoods of Waikiki and Ala Moana, with their pristine beaches, shopping centers, and world-class restaurants.


Additionally, Tantalus Lookout is located near other popular landmarks, such as Diamond Head State Monument and Manoa Falls. These attractions can easily be combined into a day trip, allowing you to explore and experience the diverse natural wonders that Oahu has to offer.


As you venture to Tantalus Lookout, be prepared for a scenic drive through winding roads surrounded by lush vegetation. The journey itself is a feast for the eyes, with tropical flowers, towering trees, and occasional glimpses of the vibrant blue ocean dotting the landscape.


It’s important to note that Tantalus Lookout is situated within a state park, which means that it is maintained and protected by authorities to preserve its natural beauty. When visiting, it’s crucial to respect the environment and follow any rules or regulations that may be in place to ensure the continued preservation of this stunning location.


Now that you have a sense of where Tantalus Lookout is located, let’s delve into how to reach this captivating destination.


How to Get to Tantalus Lookout

Reaching Tantalus Lookout requires a short drive from downtown Honolulu. There are a few different routes you can take, depending on your starting point and personal preferences. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate your way:

  1. Start your journey by heading northwest on the H-1 freeway from downtown Honolulu.
  2. Take the exit for Punahou Street and continue onto Nehoa Street.
  3. Turn left onto Makiki Street, and then take another left onto Round Top Drive.
  4. Continue along Round Top Drive as it winds its way up the mountain, offering glimpses of the breathtaking scenery that awaits.
  5. Keep following Round Top Drive until you reach the entrance of Puu Ualakaa State Park, where Tantalus Lookout is located.
  6. Once inside the park, there are signs directing you to the lookout area. Simply follow the signs and park your vehicle in the designated parking area.

If you prefer to use GPS or a navigation app, simply enter “Tantalus Lookout” or “Puu Ualakaa State Park” as your destination, and the directions will guide you accordingly.


It’s worth mentioning that the roads leading up to Tantalus Lookout can be quite narrow and winding, so it’s important to drive with caution and be mindful of other vehicles and pedestrians. Take your time and enjoy the scenic journey as you make your way towards the lookout.


For those who prefer not to drive, another option is to take a taxi or rideshare service to Tantalus Lookout. Just input the address of the park into the app, and your driver will take care of the rest, allowing you to sit back and soak in the beauty of the surroundings without worrying about navigating the roads yourself.


Remember to plan your visit accordingly, taking into account the potential for traffic, especially during peak hours or on weekends. It’s best to arrive a bit earlier to secure a good parking spot and allow ample time to explore the area and enjoy the stunning sunset view from Tantalus Lookout.


With these directions in mind, you’re well on your way to experiencing the mesmerizing beauty of Tantalus Lookout. Now, let’s dive into the available parking facilities at the lookout.


Parking Facilities

When visiting Tantalus Lookout, you’ll be pleased to know that there are parking facilities available for visitors. As you enter Puu Ualakaa State Park, you’ll find a designated parking area near the lookout point where you can safely park your vehicle.


It’s important to note that parking at Tantalus Lookout is limited, especially during peak hours and weekends when the spot is most popular. Therefore, it’s advisable to arrive early to secure a parking spot, ensuring you have ample time to enjoy the breathtaking views without the worry of finding a suitable place to park.


If the parking area is full when you arrive, don’t worry. There are some additional parking spots along Round Top Drive, outside of the designated parking area. However, be cautious when parking along the road, and make sure you are not obstructing traffic or violating any parking regulations.


While visiting Tantalus Lookout, it’s important to respect the environment and keep the park clean. Be sure to dispose of any trash in the provided garbage bins and leave the area as pristine as you found it, allowing others to enjoy the beauty of the location for years to come.


Now that you know about the parking facilities, let’s explore the various hiking trails available to further immerse yourself in the natural wonder of Tantalus Lookout.


Hiking Trails in Tantalus

Tantalus Lookout not only offers magnificent views but also provides access to several captivating hiking trails that allow you to explore the natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail suited for every level of adventure. Here are a few popular hiking trails in Tantalus:

  1. Puu Ualakaa Trail: This trail is a leisurely 0.4-mile loop that takes you through lush forested areas and offers stunning views of the city and coastline. It’s perfect for those who want a shorter hike or are looking for an easy stroll while enjoying the scenic beauty of the surroundings.
  2. Judd Trail: For a slightly more challenging hike, the Judd Trail provides an exciting adventure through a dense rainforest. The trail features a beautiful stream, wooden bridges, and a peaceful ambiance. The length of the Judd Trail varies depending on your chosen route, ranging from 1 to 5 miles.
  3. Manoa Falls Trail: While not directly located in Tantalus, the Manoa Falls Trail is nearby and offers an incredible hiking experience. This 1.6-mile trail leads you through a tropical rainforest, navigating along a well-maintained path until you reach the stunning 150-foot waterfall. It’s a popular trail, so be prepared for crowds during peak times.
  4. Pali Notches Trail: For experienced hikers seeking a thrilling challenge, the Pali Notches Trail is a must-do. This strenuous trail involves scrambling and climbing along narrow ridge-lines to reach two iconic notches with breathtaking views. It’s important to note that this trail is not for the faint of heart or beginners and requires proper preparation and caution.

As you embark on the hiking trails, be sure to wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen. It’s also advisable to check the weather conditions and trail conditions beforehand to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.


Remember to stay on designated trails, observe any posted signs or warnings, and exercise Leave No Trace principles, leaving nature as untouched as possible. By following these guidelines, you can fully embrace the adventure and beauty of Tantalus Lookout.


Now that you’re acquainted with the hiking options, let’s move on to the best time to visit Tantalus Lookout for an unforgettable experience.


The Best Time to Visit Tantalus Lookout

The best time to visit Tantalus Lookout is during the late afternoon to catch the breathtaking view of the sunset. As the sun begins its descent towards the horizon, the sky fills with vibrant colors, casting a magical glow over the city and the surrounding landscape. This golden hour is a photographer’s dream, offering incredible opportunities to capture the beauty of the island.


Arriving at Tantalus Lookout a couple of hours before sunset allows you to explore the area, take a leisurely hike, and find the perfect spot to witness the sun’s descent. Remember to check the local sunset time, as it changes throughout the year. Aim to arrive at least 30 minutes before sunset to secure a prime viewing location.


Aside from the sunset, Tantalus Lookout also offers remarkable views during the day. The morning hours provide a tranquil atmosphere, with the sun illuminating the landscape in a gentle, warm light. It’s an ideal time for a peaceful walk, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the serenity of the surroundings.


Keep in mind that Tantalus Lookout is a popular spot, especially during weekends and holidays. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider visiting on weekdays or during less crowded times, such as early morning or late afternoon on weekdays.


Another factor to consider is the weather. Oahu enjoys beautiful tropical weather year-round, but it’s always beneficial to check the forecast before heading to Tantalus Lookout. Clear skies will provide optimal visibility and enhance the overall experience. However, even if the weather is partly cloudy, don’t be discouraged from visiting; the play of light and shadow can add a unique charm to the views.


Remember to bring appropriate clothing as temperatures can vary at higher elevation. Comfortable shoes for walking and hiking are also recommended, as well as sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.


Overall, any time of day at Tantalus Lookout provides a memorable experience, but witnessing the sunset is truly extraordinary. Now that you know the best time to visit, let’s explore what you can expect once you arrive at Tantalus Lookout.


What to Expect at Tantalus Lookout

When you arrive at Tantalus Lookout, prepare to be captivated by the stunning scenery and the serene atmosphere that envelops you. Here’s what you can expect during your visit:


Unparalleled Views: Tantalus Lookout offers unrivaled panoramic views of the cityscape of Honolulu, the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean, and the surrounding lush mountains. The sight is truly mesmerizing, providing a wonderful opportunity to take in the beauty of nature and the urban landscape harmoniously blending together.


Majestic Sunsets: One of the highlights of Tantalus Lookout is its reputation as one of the best sunset viewpoints on Oahu. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky is illuminated with a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors, creating a breathtaking spectacle that will leave you in awe. Prepare your camera to capture the extraordinary beauty of the sunset.


Abundant Nature: Tantalus Lookout is nestled within the Puu Ualakaa State Park, surrounded by lush greenery and native Hawaiian flora. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh mountain air and soak in the peaceful ambiance. Look out for beautiful tropical flowers, soaring trees, and the occasional chirping of birds.


Hiking Trails: Beyond the lookout point, Tantalus offers a network of hiking trails that allow you to explore the natural wonders of the area. Whether you choose a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek, you’ll be rewarded with picturesque landscapes and a closer connection to the diverse ecosystem.


Picnic Areas: Tantalus Lookout provides designated picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a relaxing meal amidst the picturesque surroundings. Pack a picnic basket and take advantage of these scenic spots to savor a delicious meal while taking in the breathtaking views.


Tranquil Environment: Tantalus Lookout provides a tranquil escape from the busyness of everyday life. Whether you visit during the day or witness the magical sunset, you’ll be enveloped by a sense of serenity and peace. It’s the perfect place to unwind, meditate, or simply bask in the beauty of nature.


Visiting Tantalus Lookout is an opportunity to connect with nature, witness spectacular vistas, and create lasting memories. Prepare to be amazed by the beauty that surrounds you and embrace the tranquility that Tantalus Lookout offers.


Now that you know what to expect at Tantalus Lookout, let’s explore some tips to ensure you have a fantastic experience during your visit.


Tips for a Great Experience at Tantalus Lookout

To make the most of your visit to Tantalus Lookout and ensure a memorable experience, here are a few helpful tips:

  1. Arrive Early: Tantalus Lookout can get crowded, especially during weekends and peak tourist seasons. Arriving early allows you to secure parking and find a prime viewing spot before sunset or enjoy a peaceful hike without the rush of other visitors.
  2. Dress Appropriately: The weather at Tantalus Lookout can be cooler and breezier than at lower elevations. Bring layers or a light jacket to stay comfortable during your visit, especially in the late afternoon and evening. Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking or hiking if you plan to explore the surrounding trails.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Bring a reusable water bottle and stay hydrated throughout your visit to Tantalus Lookout. The combination of walking, hiking, and the potential for warm weather requires keeping yourself refreshed.
  4. Bring Snacks: If you plan to spend an extended period at Tantalus Lookout, pack some snacks or a picnic to keep your energy levels up. Enjoying a light meal amidst the breathtaking views can enhance the overall experience.
  5. Capture the Moment: Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to capture the stunning views and unforgettable moments at Tantalus Lookout. The golden hours provide an opportunity for breathtaking photos, so make sure your batteries are fully charged and carry spare memory cards.
  6. Respect the Environment: Tantalus Lookout is a protected area, so be sure to follow any regulations and leave no trace behind. Dispose of your trash properly and be mindful of the natural surroundings. Respect wildlife and refrain from feeding or disturbing any animals you may encounter.
  7. Observe Safety Precautions: Stay on designated trails and follow any posted signs or warnings. Some trails may be more challenging and require proper footwear, caution, and experience. Always prioritize your safety and the safety of others during your visit.
  8. Be Mindful of the Sun: Hawaii’s sun can be intense, even during cooler months. Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Seek shade if needed and take breaks to prevent sunburn or heat-related issues.
  9. Embrace the Moment: Finally, take a moment to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of Tantalus Lookout. Put away distractions, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate the stunning views. Relax, meditate, or simply let the peaceful surroundings wash over you.

By following these tips, you can enhance your experience at Tantalus Lookout and truly embrace the natural beauty and serenity it offers. So, plan your visit, prepare accordingly, and get ready to create lasting memories in this marvelous destination.


As your visit to Tantalus Lookout comes to an end, take with you the amazing sights, peaceful moments, and the feeling of awe that only a place as spectacular as this can evoke. Cherish the memories, share your experiences, and perhaps even plan a return visit to this hidden gem on Oahu, Hawaii.


Now that you’re equipped with all the information and tips, it’s time to pack your bags and set off on an adventure to Tantalus Lookout. Enjoy the journey and treasure the moments that await you in this mesmerizing destination.



Tantalus Lookout on Oahu, Hawaii, is a true gem for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a serene escape. With its stunning panoramic views, captivating sunsets, and abundant hiking trails, Tantalus Lookout offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.


From the moment you arrive at Tantalus Lookout, you’ll be greeted by the lush greenery, fresh mountain air, and a sense of tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere. As you gaze upon the panoramic vistas of Honolulu’s cityscape and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, you’ll feel a profound connection to the natural beauty of Oahu.


Whether you choose to hike through the dense rainforest, witness the breathtaking sunset, or simply relax at one of the picnic areas, Tantalus Lookout has something for everyone. The hiking trails cater to a range of skill levels, allowing you to immerse yourself in the diverse ecosystem and discover the wonders of native flora and fauna.


To make the most of your visit, be sure to arrive early, dress appropriately, and stay hydrated. Respect the environment, observe safety precautions, and capture the awe-inspiring moments with your camera. Finally, take a moment to embrace the sheer beauty and serenity of Tantalus Lookout, allowing yourself to unwind and appreciate the wonders of nature.


Remember, Tantalus Lookout is more than just a viewpoint; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature, witness breathtaking vistas, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, this hidden gem in Oahu offers a retreat from the bustling city life and transports you to a world of awe-inspiring beauty.


So, plan your visit, venture up the winding roads, and prepare to be captivated by the natural wonders that await you at Tantalus Lookout. Whether you’re seeking an adventure or simply a serene moment away from it all, Tantalus Lookout promises to leave an impression that will stay in your heart long after you’ve bid farewell to its magnificent views.