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Places In Hawaii: Pu’u Ualaka’a State Wayside, Oahu

Basic Information

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Narrative of Pu’u Ualaka’a State Wayside

A great place to go for anyone looking to get some scenic views of Honolulu is the Pu’u Ualaka’a State Wayside.  This park is located about half way up the 2,013 foot high Mt. Tantalus which is an extinct cinder cone volcano that towers over Honolulu.  My kids and I stopped here to take in the views after completing our hike on the Ualaka’a Trail.  Fortunately there is plenty of parking at the Pu’u Ualaka’a State Wayside because there was a constant stream of taxis flowing in and quickly escorting tourist to the viewpoint.  On the way to the viewpoint there are a number of historical signs that can be read:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

The signs explained how Mt. Tantalus has long been a cool mountain escape for the citizens of Honolulu since the 1800’s.  The various trails around Mt. Tantalus today were first constructed as horse trails before being used primarily for hikers.  In 1890 the government first allowed homes to built on Mt. Tantalus.  This led to many wealthy people from Honolulu to construct summer cottages on its slopes.  Today Tantalus has about 200 homes on its slopes and many of them are wealthy estates:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Interestingly the first macadamia nut plantation in Hawaii was installed on Mt. Tantalus back in 1921 by Mr. Ernest Van Tassel.  He leased 22 acres of land and his plantation grew to 700 trees.  All the plantation land has now been absorbed into the Pu’u Ualaka’a State Wayside park:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

There was another sign that explained the natural history of the beautiful Ko’olau Range that runs across the entire length of eastern Oahu:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

After reading the signs my kids and I walked over to the viewpoint.  The most obvious thing that jumps out at visitors is the view of Diamond Head Crater in the distance:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

You can read about my prior hike up Diamond Head at the below link:

Nearly all of Honolulu could be seen from the view point as well:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

I could also just make out the Wainae Range in western Oahu that was covered in clouds:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Here is a closer look at downtown Honolulu and the Honolulu International Airport in the distance:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Here is a view looking up the beautiful Manoa Valley which is home to many great hikes:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Here are a couple of Manoa Valley hikes I recommend people to check out:

Besides the views, the wayside park is also a nice place to take a picnic:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Here is a panorama picture of the view looking out over Honolulu:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Here is one final picture that is a panorama showing the Manoa Valley on the left and Diamond Head on the right:

Picture from the Ualakaa Trail

Conclusion

A drive up around Tantalus on Round Top Drive is one I highly recommend.  If doing this drive it is well worth stopping to complete the short Ualaka’a Trail and then taking in the views from the Pu’u Ualaka’a State Wayside park.

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