Nu'uanu Pali Lookout
Elevation Gain: Approx 420ft
Trail: Pali Puka Trail
Distance: 0.8 Roundtrip
Duration: 1.5 hours (includes time spent at the Puka)
Difficulty: Strenuous in some parts
Danger: High (cliffs, exposed/narrow ridges with sheer drop-offs, loose dirt, steep sections along trail)
When planning hikes to do while on vacation and visiting with my ohana, I had no intentions of doing this hike, but my cousin wanted to do this hike so we headed out to the Pali Lookout. My cousin and I arrived at the Pali Lookout parking lot and there were just a few tourists that had arrived. The trailhead, marked with a broken stone wall, can be found in the bus parking lot area. We were the first ones up the Pali Puka trail. I expected mud and sure enough, there were some spots that were slightly muddy and slippery. I was glad I wore my spikes.
On our ascent we had taken the graded trail that was just below the ridge trail. After traversing a short, rocky section, the Puka came into view just slightly above us. (I rock/ice climbing so this section was a piece of cake). The hike took us about 30 minutes to the Puka and we spent 30 minutes at the Puka taking photos and taking in the views. It was nice to have the Puka all to ourselves for a bit, we were in awe at the views all around us.
On our descent we took the trail along ridge and it was every bit exciting as I thought it would be. As we started to leave, folks started coming up the trail. There a few that didn't make it to the top, turning back after only reaching the first ridge. When we got back to the parking lot, it was packed full of tourists.
**Although short, this is not an easy hiking trail. This trail is considered as one of the most dangerous trails on the island. This trail contains many steep sections which aren't roped, except for one section. This trail contains narrow ridge sections with vertical drops. If you aren't comfortable with heights or have never hiked, this is not the hike for you.
Pali is Hawaiian for steep slope or cliff. Puka is Hawaiian for hole.
Traction needed on this hike!
Narrow ridges with vertical drops
Here at the base of this spire is the end of the
Pali Puka Trail - which is just above the Puka.
On our descent
The Windward Spire from the Pali Lookout