Tantalus Drive Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Tantalus Drive


A tropical rain forest bike climbing experience.

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary

Tantalus Drive bike climb - Diamond Head through trees

Cycling Tantalus Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii

Ride 4.6 miles to elevation 1,607’ gaining 1,480’ at 6.1%

View west to Diamond Head from mile 4.

This wonderful bike climb begins at the eastern edge of Honolulu and shares its start with its sister Climb, Round Top Drive. The Tantalus and Round Top Drive cycling climbs are the most scenic climbs by bike in the Honolulu area.  

The first 1.3 miles of the Tantalus Drive climb are on Makiki Heights Drive.  You will not have to guess about the start - prominent in the Arche Baker Mini Park tucked between the start of the Tantalus and Round Top bike climbs is a spectacular earpod tree (Enterolobium cyclocarpum) that is included on Hawaii’s Exceptional Tree Map[1]

Cycling Tantalus Drive - earpod tree at the start

Start - historically noted earpod tree.

Bicycle ride Tantalus Drive - earpod tree plaque at start of climb

We merge onto Tantalus from Makiki Heights Drive and ride past large estate homes for a quarter mile until we are out of the Honolulu suburbs and into a fairly rural setting featuring tree tunnels and banyan trees.

Bicycle climb Tantalus Drive - roadway and tree tunnel

Climbing Tantalus Drive by bike - banyan trees with vines over roadway 

The final 3 miles of the climb are through a winding roadway with many hairpin turns through a tropical Hawaiian rainforest setting.  

Climbing by bike Tantalus Drive - hairpin

~21 hairpins along the climb.

Biking up Tantalus Drive - full rainbow through lush trees

We were blessed with an exceptional full rainbow near the top of the climb.

The climb ends at Kalawahine Trail which is a 5.7 mile out-back hike through lush tropical trees and foliage.

Biking up Tantalus Drive -  Kalawahine Trail sign at the end

Caution if you hike here - reportedly very muddy.

Roadway surface and traffic:  There is light traffic along the climb, but all cars we encountered were respectful and moving at the speed limit - 25-30 mph.  The road is generally in good condition with just a couple rough spots to be wary of on the descent.

[1] “For the past two years, The Outdoor Circle has traveled across the State collecting information about the Exceptional Trees of Hawai‘i. By obtaining a tree's: GPS coordinates, diameter, height, condition and photo, we have been able to compile an extensive database for these important specimens. In using this data, we have been able to generate the estimated environmental and economic benefits of these trees, in the hopes of educating the public of the immense benefits that all trees have not only on the environment, but also our daily lives.”  Exceptional Tree Map Home Page.