Pali Puka and Pali Notches - Honolulu, Hawaii

March 29, 2018 .

The Pali Puka is a natural opening in the rocks overlooking the windward coast of Hawaii. Legend has it that early Hawaiians would sit in this opening and watch for enemies in canoes approaching the island from the east. Approaching Pali Puka - On the left hand side of the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout parking lot you will find a small trail that leads up a steep dirt incline. This is the start of the Pali Puka, about a fifteen minute robust climb. (Puka is the Hawaiian word for hole.)

The Pali Notches hike begins on the right hand side of the parking lookout. The trailhead for this hike starts by heading straight up an unmarked trailhead to the right side of the Pali Lookout platform, a popular spot for tourists. You can see the faint trail as soon as you step over the yellow chain fence that encircles the platform. You climb your way through a grove of Hau trees that quickly opens up into an incredible view of the Pali Highway to your left and Kaneohe to your right.

Walking along the dangerously steep ridge hike known as Pali Notches, gusts of wind threaten to knock you off either side of the cliff as you skitter up and down intimidating rock faces. This narrow ridge hike requires you to rock climb over the man made notches, which were supposedly created in the 1700’s by King Kamehameha’s warriors to harbor cannons and warriors on lookout while they kept Nu’uanu Valley secure. Pali Notches is known as being one of the most dangerous hikes on Oahu and many people have fallen or ended up in life threatening trouble while attempting this hike.

There are plenty of roots and trees to grab onto and this path will lead you to the first view. The hike isn’t necessarily dangerous but much of the path is on the edge of a huge drop-off. The path is wide enough that there is no real risk if you watch your footing and play it safe. If you want to look out at the amazing view it’s best to stop walking and enjoy it while you have a steady position.