Nu’uanu Pali Lookout (amazing views, a serious battle & hiking)

IF you are planning a visit to the east side of Oahu Island, then take a detour at the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. This spectacular lookout point overlooks an expansive view of East Hawaii but also holds a historic past to the unification of the islands under one ruler.

Located 1200 feet up in the pali cliffs of the Ko’olau mountains, the winds here up at the observation areas are strong and intense.

As you look out to the views of the eastern coastlines of Kaneohe, Kaneohe Bay and Kailua town.  It is a gorgeous setting to enjoy the views and even a nice hike in the area and the intense winds that gather up the Pali makes it a one-of-a-kind experience.

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout (amazing views, a serious battle & hiking)

Historic battle at the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

This overlook area to the windward side of Oahu was where a historic battle occurred called the Nu’uanu Battle. In 1795 Kamehameha the great’s force of over 10,000 men battled Oahu’s men and driving them up to the Pali Lookout point where they were forced to jump to their eventual death. During the construction of the Pali Highway, over 800 skulls have been found at the base of the lookout point and the area of Nu’uanu Pali.

From this historic battle, Kamehameha the great was able to unit the Hawaiian Islands as the first true king of Hawaii.

The Pali Lookout point became accessible with the construction of the Nu’uanu Pali Road in 1845. The road was eventually developed into a major highway that connected to the eastern side of the island.

Historic battle at the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

Nu’uanu Pali FAQ

Can you drive up to the Pali Lookout?

Yes, it is an easy drive from Honolulu up the mountain on Highway 61 and exit at the Pali Lookout

Is there a cost to visit the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout?

Yes, for residents the visit is free. For non-residents the fee is $7 per car visiting the site

Is there a sunrise view from the Pali lookout?

Yes, from high above the lookout, you’ll get expansive views to the coastline and the Mokulua islands and the sunrises up here are spectacular

Can you hike around the Nu’uanu Pali area?

Yes, there are some trails that you can do here but the most popular is the Ko’olau summit trail which is .7 miles out and back with an elevation gain of 485 feet.

Nu’uanu Pali FAQ

Hiking the challenging Pali Notches trail

Probably one of the most scary and risky hikes to do in Oahu, the Pali Notches trail is less than a mile long round trip. For adventure seekers and strong hikers, the trail is steep, muddy and cliff inspiring. There are a lot of challenges with strong winds, loose rocks and some scary vertical drop offs. The notches were created for cannons to be placed to defend Oahu during the battle of Nu’uanu.

Once on the top, visitors are awarded with amazing panoramic views of the windward side of Oahu

Check out more details to doing this hike here for more information and images.

There are 8 other trails you can do around the Pali Lookout point area and nearby, check out the details to these hikes here for reference.

Hiking the challenging Pali Notches trail

Details to visiting Pali lookout


Residents – no charge to visiting

Non-Residence – $7 per vehicle

Visiting Hours 6am to 6pm

Driving directions

By Car

From Waikiki take the H -1 freeway and then take the Pali Hwy 61

Take the Pali Lookout exit right before the Pali Tunnels

Park in the parking lot and pay fee

Walk up to the lookout point area.

Details to visiting Pali lookout

Things to see in the area

After you visit the Pali Lookout point, check out all these other cool places to explore around the windward side of the island.

Lanikai Beach in east Oahu

Lanikai Beach

One of the most popular neighborhood beach areas on the east side of the island, Lanikai is everyone’s favorite beach to enjoy a beach day here on the windward side. You can reach Lanikai from Kailua and just park along the streets and walk through the alleyways to get to the beach. With super soft sand, gorgeous aqua colored waters and the Mokes a short kayak ride away, you can do as much or just relax on this beautiful beach area.

Check out more to visiting Lanikai beach here for more information and images

Valley of the Temples

Valley of the Temples

The Valley of the Temples is one of those serene, green and lush areas of the windward side that calls out to those looking for peace, meditation and a beautiful place to visit. The main attraction here is the Byodo In Temple, a replica of a Unesco temple from Kyoto, but this one is located at the base of the Ko’olau mountains and has such a strong and beautiful presence in the area.

Check out more to visiting the Valley of the Temples here for more information and images

Kailua town

Kailua town

The fun and trendy side of the windward Kailua town is the place to enjoy the many shops, galleries, eateries and hang out spots in town. You can also enjoy a lot of fun outdoor activities, visit Kailua Beach area and do more exploring in this cool area with a variety of attractions to explore in Kailua town.

Check out more to visiting the Kailua town here for more information and images

Conclusion on visiting the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

Conclusion on visiting the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

Enjoyed your visit here or any other tips to share? Please share on the comments below.

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