Saturday, December 20, 2014

Oahu: Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside

We planned our two weeks in Hawaii for more than a year before going and, during that year, I watched all the episodes of Magnum, P.I., via NetFlix streaming to see if any sites popped out that I wanted to make sure to see while in Hawaii. Because much of that show was filmed on Oahu, I especially hoped to find some Oahu attractions in the show. It really paid off in the latter part of the series when Thomas Magnum went to Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside. Based on the view from this park as seen in the television episode, I decided to go see it and am glad that I did.

The Hawaii State Parks page on Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside describes the spectacular view from there like this: " Lookout provides sweeping view of southern O'ahu from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor, including Honolulu and Manoa Valley." That pretty much sums it up. We went to this point above Honolulu multiple times and had the good fortune to have clear days each time that did allow us to see all the way from Diamond Head crater (on the left when viewing the city) to Pearl Harbor on the far right with downtown Honolulu in between.

Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside, which is also referred to as Pu'u Ualaka'a State Park, includes a short hike/walk called Ualaka‘a Trail that is rated "Easy" and is about one-half mile long. We did not take this hike, but instead focused on the breathtaking views from the lookout point.

It is a very short distance from the small parking lot to the lookout point. The slope is gradual and heads down from the parking lot to the lookout point, but most people should have no issues returning up the short slight slope to the parking lot after they've finished looking at the views from the lookout.

Because Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside is above the city on Mount Tantalus, drivers must travel on a Round Top Drive that is a winding road through residential areas to get to the state park. There are some pretty impressive views of the city as this ascent is made.

Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside, at time of this writing, has 86% of reviewers on TripAdvisor rating it "thumb up" and it is currently #28 of 124 Oahu attractions. It has also been called "a must see scenic point for anyone visiting Oahu" and I agree!

The proximity of Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside to Honolulu, the easy accessibility of the stake park and its lookout point, and the ability to see so much of the Oahu coast from Diamond Head to Pearl Harbor make this an attractive destination for just about anyone of any age or fitness level to enjoy even when their time on Oahu is limited.

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