Pali Puka Trail

HARD 87 reviews

Pali Puka Trail is a 0.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kailua, Hawaii that features a great forest setting and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
0.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
331 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

forest

views

muddy

rocky

scramble

no dogs

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.

hiking
1 month ago

I’m a beginner hiker and this was a great and amazing hike. It is short which is good because I would suggest to everyone to take your time. One mistake can be devastating. In terms of the difficulty, I think anyone can do it as long as they have the right shoes. We were lucky when we went because the path wasn’t that muddy and there was barely any wind. I wore Nike Free 4.0 shoes and they were the right amount of flex and grip. As a beginner, I would always suggest to stay low and since I’m always grabbing onto things with my arms to help myself up, 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. There are many back way alternatives the way going up, I would suggest using that if you’re scared of heights or you want to get around people. Lastly, keep light equip. No walking stick, just maybe a water camel pack.

hiking
2 months ago

This was a very cool hike with awesome views, but it was very sketchy at times. It’s really muddy and very steep. It’s not marked and you can get sidetracked at times, this happened to me a few times. I was definitely worried a few times. Wear shoes with great traction, and leave the kiddos, dogs, and grandparents at home. If you want to see more you can check out my video: https://youtu.be/qNHLLNOEshY

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome views, short hike and challenging !! Very narrow in some parts. Walk carefully along the cliffs but totally worth it !! Beware on windy days.

2 months ago

Do not let the 1/2 mile distance fool you. This trail is difficult, but it has a very rewarding finish! Definitely make sure you have appropriate shoe wear.

hiking
2 months ago

Super fast and easy!

hiking
2 months ago

Wasn't difficult but a little bit challenging because it was very windy. We were the first ones there as we started the hike at 5:30am so we could catch the sunrise. We were greeted by cats at the start of the trail. Just be very careful when walking along the cliff and try to hold on to whatever you can to keep your balance. Once up there, you will be amazed!

3 months ago

great short hike, be careful on rainy days though.

hiking
3 months ago

Adrenaline rush! Have had my eye on this hike for a couple of years and finally did it! Lots of climbing, expect to get dirty, shoe spikes are helpful, maybe even gloves because you are gripping so much! Sketchy parts but you can go through the trees a couple times to avoid the cliffs. The most difficult piece was the actual Puka part..we went behind the wall gripping it and up - scary! Then we crawled down to the right and through the trees holding on to whatever we could to get back to the rocks..very intense! Stoked I did it, but probably won't do it again! Don't let "short" distance fool you, this hike is a workout. Not kid/pet friendly!!

hiking
3 months ago

Not going to lie. This trail is difficult.. My friend fell down the side (not the cliffside, but into the trees) 40ft. She dislocated her shoulder, and we were amazed that's all that happened to her. If you do it, please wear proper shoes. And at the end of it (right next to the puka,) don't go along the "back trail" because it is very narrow and slippery. That is where she fell.

4 months ago

Beautiful views, however I would only recommend this to experienced hikers. This is not a hike you should do in flip flops or if you are uncomfortable with heights. The trail is quite windy and involved walking along a very steep cliff face. The view at the puka is beautiful, but word to the wise, make sure at the end you go over the rocks and climb down to the puka if you can, going behind the rocks proved to be very slick and narrow.

4 months ago

Definitely not easy, but the view is worth it! We got there around 7AM and ran into the supervisor of the park. He stopped us at the entrance, but just wanted to make sure we knew of the risks. I'm assuming since this was an illegal trail and people have gotten severely hurt in the past it was his duty to inform tourists.

rock climbing
4 months ago

Definitely not as easy as it seems. The hike has a very steep uphill in the beginning which leads to the ridge where you have a cliff drop off to your right and a steep forest hill to your left. Once you're on the ridge it is straight rock climbing. When it isn't raining the dirt is very dry when I went. It is the grey dirt which is fine like sand unlike the red dirt you normally see on hikes.
Not pet/kid friendly.

4 months ago

Short but fun hike. Recommended only for experienced hikers only due to a few nerve racking parts of the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Went today. I was alone but found a group to tag along with. Unfortunately they turned around about half way. I saw another lady climbing up ahead so I continued on. I caught up to her near the Puka and we hiked back together. Pretty scary in some parts. I definitely wouldn't recommend bringing kids or pets. Very narrow in some spots and quite muddy and slick. I had to use the ropes and do some scrambling through some parts. Thankfully there was no wind today, otherwise I probably would have turned around. Amazing views but sketchy if you're not comfortable living on the literal edge.

hiking
5 months ago

Did this one yesterday. It can be super sketchy at times but as others have mentioned, there are trails through the woods that will avoid the shear cliffs if you choose. A must-do if you're chasing an adrenaline filled hike.

5 months ago

Really cool short hike with some steep climbing but very doable. Don't stop short as getting to the end is totally worth it. Some of the paths can be a bit nerve racking but there are trails to the left of the edge in the trees if you are worried about falling or scared of heights.

FYI, the actual lookout with the hole is at the very end of the trail. You will most likely find that you've walked right over top of it if you've never been there before. You actually need to climb down to see it!

hiking
5 months ago

This hike was fun but difficult. I am also very afraid of heights and it was a challenge at some of the areas with a cliff next to it. The views were awesome. Wear good shoes with traction and pack water!

6 months ago

short and windy hike

hiking
6 months ago

With Steven, Dom, and Todd

6 months ago

Very pretty. Can be slippery though, and is usually windy! Be careful

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