Ko'olau Summit Trail (Pali Puka) is a 0.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Length0.7 miElevation gain485 ftRoute typeOut & back
HikingForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeMuddyRockyScrambleNo dogs
Description
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Getting There

Note: This trail has lots of steep areas and cliff faces, so please be careful. The Puka is below the narrow bridge. Its a great short hike, but do not let the length fool you- it is challenging! Though the route is short, the conditions can be windy, extreme, and muddy. The trail that follows a cliff (pali) face up to two notches that supposedly were utilized by King Kamehameha to hold cannons, and to serve as a lookout post. Wear shoes that are sturdy and grip well and look out for falling rocks and loose dirt. remember to test and shake that rock or branch before using it to pull yourself through. Many rocks are cracking and branches are loosening after long use. Not a good hike for kids or pets! This is a risky hike with rock scrambling and people have fallen and been seriously injured in the past. Use good judgement.

You will have to pay for parking if you are not military or Kama'aina.

Turn off of the Pali Highway onto the Pali Lookout road. Park and pay and then the trail head will be off on the right hand side of the Pali Lookout.

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Reviews (329)
Photos (345)
Recordings (233)
Completed (1,069)
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Erin Schmiedt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 21, 2021
Rock climbing

It’s an incredibly beautiful but precarious trail if you’re either not prepared for it and/or have a fear of heights. Short but potentially dangerous if one goes into it thinking the distance makes it easy and fails to plan. It was slippery today so I recommend spikes. There are two paths close together through most of it—one walking the edge and the other a few feet from it. Keep to the left if you struggle with height anxiety. To me, the hardest part was the narrow path right before making it to the puka.

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Emily Lauren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 18, 2021
Hiking

Went yesterday. It was amazing. Just go slow. There are some rope parts, but nothing too crazy. Super fun quick hike. This is a perfect test hike for the back way to stairway. It is a super mini version of the challenging parts.

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Andrea Ste
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 16, 2021
HikingGreat!

Beautiful view. Some areas are on the edge, so if you’re afraid of heights, have a friend who is brave. Pretty quick.

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Evan Rhodes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2021
HikingGreat!Muddy

Epic short hike close to town. we went after a heavy rain and it wasn't hard at all for people with decent coordination and fitness level. Amazing cliff drop-offs and exposure with views. Definitely one of my favorite hikes on the island.

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Jon Cato
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HikingClosedGreat!Rocky

The following notes are from a friend who did this illegal hike. This hike is very dangerous and is not for kids, animals, or those terrified of heights. The entrance is near the Pali Lookout; off to the left of the parking lot there is a bus lot and a small white sign that says not to enter…again, this hike is illegal. It is recommended to wear hiking shoes. Do not do this hike when it is windy or wet. This hike begins with a steep climb which continues until you become exposed on a ledge for the remainder of the hike. There is one spot where you have the option of going behind the trees and brush, but you eventually emerge back onto the ledge. If you decide not to go behind the trees and brush, there are parts of this hike where you are walking about one foot from your death, in an area known for soft ground and falling rocks. It is technically challenging in many spots, however, prior adventurers have placed numerous ropes for assistance (very helpful). The hike culminates in the Puka (hole). The Puka is not apparent. You know you have reached the Puka when you come to a large rock wall which goes 90 degrees straight up, which obviously you will not climb. You then must descend on the left to get to the Puka. There is not a lot of room and the footing is sketchy next to the Puka. If there are multiple people, get your photos and leave to make room for others. Again, I want to emphasize that this hike is illegal and it is dangerous. Recommend not doing when it is windy and/or wet. Don’t carry bottles of water or overweight back packs…it’s a short hike and you will need every bit of footing and hands you have to offer.

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Alyssa Mueller
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HikingClosed

Closed :/

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Janelle Kosaki
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Hiking

Amazing!

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Travis Stratman
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Hiking
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Sharlene Lowry
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Hiking

Very very hard, but all the views are worth it!! We did not get to the top because you def need rock climbing equipment. Great fun challenging hike. Loved it!

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Erika Storlie
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 28, 2020
Hiking

Trail closed

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Travis Stratman
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Hiking

little rainy and windy but not too concerning. rain cleared on the way back.

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Dakota Ritz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 24, 2020
Hiking

amazing short hike! there are some steep drop offs with narrow trails, but nothing too crazy. if they are too steep for you, there are trails carved out along the other side through the trees that are more manageable. it can be a bit windy so be careful depending on conditions. I did it when it was pretty windy and raining and in the dark, which made it tough, but still not really bad at all. very short so the views are definitely worth the short journey! ig: @hi.above

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Saul Goode
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HikingGreat!

Awesome views on a gorgeous day. Can’t imagine the trail when it’s wet and muddy.

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Marinela Banica
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HikingGreat!

Beautiful views!

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susan katz
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Hiking
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Bristy Mason
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Hiking
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Janelle Kosaki
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Hiking

I underestimated this trail and wore casual sneakers, which I would not recommend. Parts of the trail are steep and due to the rain, slippery. I had a difficult time finding my footing. I took the contour trail (rather than the one on the ledge) which felt pretty safe. Not kid-friendly safe, but safe enough. It would feel even safer in hiking boots with grip. Even though it was raining and the clouds were closing in on the view at the Puka, it was lovely in a moody kind of way. I will be back on a clear day to see it in all it’s glory. Worth every cautious step.

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Jan-Willem Staman
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Hiking
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Amy Eileen
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Hiking

Favorite short hike on island so far!!

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SUZANNE TIMMER
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 5, 2020
Hiking

Intense exposed ridge- be aware of wind and potential weather. Great experience

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Paul Lawrence
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Hiking

Can be sketch hiking the ridge, but there are trails cut out of the forest side for those afraid of heights. As with anything, thinking and paying attention to where you put your hands and feet and your surroundings will prevent most mishaps.

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Chip Cocks
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Hiking

Great! Some sheer drops. Not for kids

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Matt Janisz
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Hiking
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QIJUN Wang
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HikingGreat!MuddyRockyScramble

It’s not as scary or dangerous as people make it out to be because people have carved out alternative trails farther away from the cliff side. Just go through the trails through the trees and you’ll be fine

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