Tantalus Lookout: Sunset View & Hike In Honolulu, Hawaii

by David & Intan

The Tantalus Lookout in Oahu, Hawaii is a relaxing hilltop near Honolulu with stunning views of the city and Diamond Head crater, plus you can see the sunset and frequent rainbows.

You can drive all the way to this viewpoint, so no hiking is needed, although there are some good family friendly trails near the viewpoint as well.

After watching the Tantalus Lookout sunset, there’s even an alternative viewpoint outside of the park that is open all day and night, so you can enjoy the city lights near the Tantalus Lookout at night.

This travel guide will explain how to get to the Tantalus Lookout from Honolulu, and everything you need to know before you go!


Tantalus Lookout Honolulu: What To Expect

The Tantalus Lookout is easily one of the best viewpoints in the Honolulu area.

There’s a big lawn with soft, short grass where you can spread a towel and enjoy panoramic views of Honolulu city, from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor.

Even the drive up is very scenic, and there are several nice pull-off spots and picnic areas on the way to the top of the hill. A light jacket is a good idea though, since it’s usually windy at the viewpoint and may get a little chilly near sunset time.

Rainbows are amazingly common at Tantalus Lookout, so it’s also one of the best places near Honolulu to see a rainbow. We’ve seen twin rainbows here, as well as giant semicircle rainbows (pictures below).

Tantalus is part of the Puu Ualakaa State Wayside Park, so it’s wheelchair accessible, and facilities include picnic tables, trash cans, restrooms, and a pavilion where you can hide if it starts raining.

There are some informational signs at the viewpoint that explain a bit of the history behind Tantalus. This place has been a popular scenic and recreational area since the 1800s.

The first commercial macadamia nut plantation in Hawaii was actually planted here at Puu Ualakaa in the 1920s, and it was harvested until 1967.

Tantalus Lookout Honolulu Sunset Oahu Hawaii Hike Rainbow

Tantalus Lookout Honolulu. You can’t beat the rainbows here!


Tantalus Lookout Sunset

The Tantalus Lookout sunset is pretty spectacular, and this spot is starting to become popular for that reason.

Since Diamond Head Crater closes before sunset, that leaves Tantalus as one of the best places to watch the sunset near Honolulu.

You’ll have nice views of the sun setting directly over the city, complemented by a pair of palm trees and a nice breeze.

Tantalus Lookout Honolulu Oahu Hawaii Relaxing Hilltop       Tantalus Lookout Honolulu Oahu Hawaii Sunset Palm Trees

Tantalus Lookout Hours

The Tantalus Lookout hours in the summer are 7 AM to 7:45 PM (from April 1 – Labor Day), and the winter hours are 7 AM to 6:45 PM.

In our experience, the authorities in Hawaii are pretty strict about enforcing these times and closing the gates, so try to be on your way out of the park at this time.

The viewpoint opens every day of the week.

Tantalus Lookout Entrance Fee

The Tantalus Lookout is FREE to visit.

There’s no entrance fee or parking fee since it’s part of the Puu Ualakaa State Wayside Park.

Honolulu City Waikiki

Honolulu city views from the Tantalus Lookout (with a zoom lens)


Tantalus Lookout Parking

There are two parking lots at Tantalus Lookout, and reservations aren’t required to visit. In total, there are parking spaces for about 60 cars.

However, this spot can be pretty busy and popular, so if you plan to visit for sunset, then I’d recommend arriving a bit early so you can find a good parking spot.

The first parking lot at Tantalus Lookout has space for about 45 cars, and it’s a 5 minute walk to the viewpoint. There’s also a second parking lot right by the lookout, but it’s much smaller, with only enough parking space for about a dozen vehicles.

Vehicle break-ins are very common in Hawaii, and it happens in this park too, so don’t leave any valuables in your car.

Tantalus Lookout At Night

If you go to the Tantalus Lookout at night, the main gate and viewpoint will be closed, but there’s an alternative viewpoint by the road that gives you similar views and it’s open 24/7.

This is a great spot to see the stars and city lights of Honolulu from above, and even though it’s a slightly different spot, the scenery at this viewpoint is basically like seeing the Tantalus Lookout at night.

Tantalus Lookout Hike

You can drive all the way to the Tantalus Lookout, so no hiking is needed.

However, you can turn this into a Tantalus Lookout hike if you want, by parking somewhere down the hill and hiking to the top. There’s a pull-off spot along the road with plenty of parking that would work for this. Just remember to bring some water.

There’s also a short, family friendly hike that starts from the Tantalus Lookout called Ualakaʻa Trail. This hike is mostly flat and you can find some macadamia nuts and photogenic banyan trees along the way. It’s a 1/2 mile hike that ends in a 4-way intersection with the Makiki Valley, Moleka, and Maunalaha trails.

The Ualakaʻa trailhead starts just up the road from the main Tantalus Lookout parking lot. Look for it at the hairpin turn (map here). Dogs are allowed on a leash, and mosquito spray is a good idea since the hike is in a forest.

As always, please remember to keep the trail clean, be considerate of other hikers, and leave no trace. Thanks and happy travels!

Tantalus Lookout Honolulu Sunset Oahu Hawaii Hike Rainbow

A giant rainbow at Tantalus Lookout Honolulu


How To Get To Tantalus Lookout

The Tantalus Lookout is located on a hill just north of Waikiki and Honolulu city, in Oahu, Hawaii. It’s easy to get there.

From Waikiki or Honolulu, it’s a 20-30 minute drive to Tantalus Lookout, and you can use the map below to route you there. The last part of the road winds up a hill with plenty of sharp curves, but it’s not too scary at all.

At the moment, you can’t go by bus to the Tantalus Lookout since there’s no bus stop anywhere near the viewpoint. However, you could hike there, drive a moped, or get a Lyft or Uber to take you to the top.


More Hawaii Travel Tips

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for the Tantalus Lookout hike and sunset viewpoint in Oahu, Hawaii.

Don’t forget to check out my other Oahu hiking guides and my complete list of the best things to do in Oahu Hawaii!

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