Pali Lookout, Honolulu
The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout at 1,186 feet (361 meters) is a great place to get a view of windward Oahu. It isn’t really what I would consider “off the beaten path” however. That is where it has been put though. At only 8 miles from downtown Honolulu it has become a very popular destination to take in a beautiful view.
Many tour busses arrive here every day and most of the visitors simply walk out to the lookout and peek over the tall cliffs, marvel at the view, and the high winds that frequent the area then leave. There is however several very nice hikes that begin from this location. Likeke Falls (next tip) and several hikes lead to nearby peaks and can be great ways to become more familiar to Nu’uanu Pali lookout.
The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is accessed by Nu’uanu Pali Drive just 8 miles north of Honolulu via the Pali Highway. The Nu'uanu Pali Drive is locked in the evening, likely to protect the area from vandalism. The hours that the gates stay open are between 8:00AM and 4:pm daily.
Likeke Falls is about 30 feet (9 meters) tall and is in a very secluded location. I was amazed to find that despite the limited rain that had fell recently and its high elevation their was actually a lot of water flowing.
The hike is around 2 miles one way and can be a little confusing. Even with the minor confusion this hike remains fairly popular I believe some eco-tour company may lead hikes here since I passed what I assumed was a tour guide along the way back.
From the Pali Lookout follow the old Pali Highway until it is completely overgrown. At that point make your way down a short path to the current Pali Highway. A set of stairs drops beneath the highway and follows a short path which again connects to an abandoned road. At a sharp hairpin corner (turning right) another abandoned road branches off. Take that road and immediately after a bridge a faint path leads uphill to the left. Follow that path over a ridge and back into the forest. After reaching what appears to be a wash or a primitive road there is another turnoff to your left. From there it is just a short distance to the falls.
Combine this 10-minute stop with a trip over the Pali to the windward side.
Gale-force winds sometimes howl through the mountain pass at this 1,186-foot-high perch guarded by 3,000-foot peaks, so hold on to your hat -- and small children. But if you walk up from the parking lot to the precipice, you'll be rewarded with a view that'll blow you away. At the edge, the dizzying panorama of Oahu's windward side is breathtaking: Clouds low enough to pinch, scoot by on trade winds; pinnacles of the pali (cliffs), green with ferns, often disappear in the mist, the vertical slopes of the Koolaus end in lush green valleys that become the town of Kaneohe; and the Pacific, a magnificent blue, dotted with whitecaps, beckons in the distance. Definitely take a jacket with you; it can be quite misty at the lookout. On very windy days, you'll notice that the waterfalls look as though they are flowing up rather than down.
Nuuanu Pali Drive-While traveling up the Pali Hwy.toward the lookout, take the Nuuanu Pali Drive turn-off.Enter the tropical rain forest of the island.
Most people miss this beautiful 2 mile drive,through
dense jungle,with cooler temperatures and beautiful scenery.All this is just a 5 minute drive from busy downtown Honolulu.This is the old road people use to travel in order to get to the other side of the island.
That was before they built the new freeway and tunneled through the mountain.
Nuuanu Pali Drive-Scenic spot along the 2 mile road. The road eventually comes back out to the main Pali Highway.