Tantalus - Round Top
Updated 9/25/98. Special mahalo to Ray Gandy for the corrections!
Seldom referred to by its Hawaiian name, Puu Ohia (Puu means "hill"), this area attracts not only
runners, but hikers, cyclists, and tourists as well. Tantalus (named after the mythical Greek king),
located in the hills above Waikiki reaches an elevation of 2,013' at its summit.
Running up Tantalus Drive and back down Round Top Drive takes the runner through tropical rainforests
fragrantly scented with eucalyptus and fruit trees. Each switchback in the road brings breathtaking
views that all but erase the burning sensation caused by the steepness of the hills. After about five
miles of climbing, Tantalus Drive becomes Round Top Drive, and the runner is rewarded with a pleasant
coast back down to the bottom.
10 mile loop. Some folks run this one twice or even three times for a great, long run.
Paved, hilly (5 miles uphill, 5 miles downhill). Shade is available almost all day due to the
forestation. Water and restrooms are available at the Nature Center about 0.5 mile up the road from
the pumping station. Water is available on the run, but it is sometimes hard to locate. If you don't
know where the water is, carry your own.
To Get There From Honolulu
From H1 East, take the Punahou exit. At the light at the end of the exit turn left and proceed mauka
on Punahou. Proceed through the first light, and turn left on Nehoa Street. Take your second right
onto Makiki Street, and follow the fork left onto Makiki Heights Drive. Park along the grassy area at
the pumping station or back on Makiki Street.
From the pumping station proceed mauka (up) Makiki Heights Drive. After approximately 1.3 miles you
will intersect with Tantalus Drive. Turn right on Tantalus. Just over eight switchbacks and three
miles of hill running later you will reach the peak. Congratulations, it's (almost) all downhill from
here. Continue straight. The road will become Round Top Drive, which will take you back down to Makiki
Street and to your car.
Be very careful of oncoming traffic. Some of the switchbacks are tight, and drivers may not see you.
Water is available at the Nature Center mauka of the pumping station. There is also a faucet along the
Round Top Drive side, just below the Manoa Valley overlook. This faucet protrudes from the rock wall
on the mauka of the road. It is hard to find, and doesn't always flow, so carry some reserves with you.
There are several road/trail races run here annually. The Hawaii Ultra Runners Team (HURT) hosts the
Tantalus Tropical Trek (10 Miles) and the Triple Tropical Trek (50K) trail races in September. MPRRC
hosts the Tantalus 10-Miler on the road in October.