Pali Puka Trail

HARD 168 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 rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
0.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
301 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
2 days ago

I loved this hike. After doing the Notches, right across the parking lot. I decided I still needed a little more.
This hike entrance is right were all of the busses park. Just look for a break in the walk and a white sign.
When you first start, you can go left up through some bamboo or right and head straight up. The first bit is through the trees. If it is dry, the roots are great to walk on. If it is wet, be extra careful, they are slippery.
Once you get past the tree section, you follow a good amount ridge walking. Straight drop off on one side and bushes on the other. If you are truly afraid of heights, you might want to think twice about this hike.
There is one section with a good stretch of rope use. On a dry day, you can easily do it without using them. Keep following the trail until you get to the sheer cliff face and that is where you will find the puka. Actually, you will have already walked on top of it. Climb down a little and you can then explore the opening.
Here is also where you get an amazing view of the waterfall off in the distance towards Honolulu. Look to the left if you are facing Honolulu.

hiking
2 days ago

some of the photos and hike descriptions in here reflect pali notches and not the puka. The cover photo is the notches.

5 days ago

I do this hike regurlarly and constantly see people who shouldn't be on this trail. give aways:

1.) Wrong shoes: you really need something with grip. If you want to hike in Hawaii, invest in a good pair of hiking shows. the situation can quickly become hazardous if you are wearing flip flops, running shoes with worn grip, etc.

2.) This shouldn't be your first Hawaii hike. I've seen people on this trail, nearly each time, who are clearly terrified yet soldier on. There is no point in being a superstar on Hawaii trails. If you can't handle it, turn around. Dont put yourself or others at risk.

3.) Don't put all of your weight on the ropes.

And lastly:

4.) Know something about this area before you go. It was the site of the final stages of the Nuuanu Pali battle. 800 people perished on these cliffs. This is a sacred place. Take your trash home with you.

7 days ago

So much fun and a great view! Be careful not to go right after a rainstorm, the trail definitely gets muddy.

hiking
9 days ago

Did this hike on September 13, it is very beautiful hike but little muddy and you have to use the ropes which are placed by some hikers there. At some parts There is trail which goes below and much safer then the walking close to the edge. Took us 25 minutes to get there and 20 min too get down and we are regular hikers. Views are very pretty from the top. If you are scared of Hights don’t do this. It can be really dangerous. Beautiful view along the way.
Love Hawaii...
Happy hiking and stay safe

hiking
16 days ago

Hiked Sep 2018 So this hike isn’t very difficult, but it is dangerous. It’s definitely not for the faint of hearts. The trail is off to the left of the Pali lookout just across from the buss parking lot. You’ll know where it starts because the first thing you will encounter on the route is a sign telling you that it’s prohibited beyond that point. We obviously ignored that sign just as those thrill seekers before us and went along for the ride. It’s a bit windy on the way up, and during those moments when it’s not windy, you’ll find that the tree roots and rocks are just slippery enough to keep you on your toes and increase “the pucker factor”. I wouldn’t recommend this hike if you are afraid of heights, super clumsy or after there has been a heavy rain on island.

hiking
17 days ago

The trail start is to the LEFT when you're looking at the lookout sign where the bus parking lot is. We started hiking at 6 am and it was very cloudy/foggy, started raining on/off. The trail is muddy but there wasn't much wind so I think you get one or the other (sometimes both). It's treacherous here or there but not bad, just go slow and stay low the ground.

The mud made it hard to go back down so I got super dirty and half the time was crouching or sliding down. I'm only 4'10 though. Wear shoes with good tread for the mud. The puka was disappointing because it was all foggy but we stopped along the way for nice photos too.

22 days ago

Such a fun hike with great views! Does get questionable at some point with the wind and being close to the edge. Highly recommend though!

hiking
26 days ago

Hiked in June 2017. Great hike! Steep, windy, drop offs, my wife froze up at one point. Do yourself a favor and skip the Pali Lookout and take on this hike!

hiking
1 month ago

Boy... not sure where to begin with this hike. I should start out by saying we did this hike at 04:30 to make it to the top by blue hour. The path is extremely slick and steep in some areas. You NEED to pay attention to where you step and what you hold onto. The ropes are a godsend but make sure they’re sturdy before using them. The area behind the puka is incredibly dangerous as it’s very, very narrow and slick. However, the views are more than worth it. Watching the sky turn golden from the puka was great but the real views were on the ridge walking back. Definitely worth it.

rock climbing
1 month ago

did this home on a very windy day. very fun and awesome views. a little slick but I think as long as you've done a few hikes before you won't have any trouble

hiking
1 month ago

Be careful! All Trails does not lead to the correct trailhead. I ended up on the Notches trail and it was intense and dangerous due to wind and slippery slopes.

You will know you’re at Pali Puka trail if you see the “Trail Closed” sign. Facing the Pali lookout, the trail is to the left NOT RIGHT. It was a great hike, definitely recommend.

I would not attempt notches trail in wind, rain, or alone.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a fantastic hike! The trail generally ends where the lookout "hole" is. For more experienced hikers/climbers, keep going. When you're standing at the lookout, behind you there is a trail that goes into the woods and leads to a muddy climb with ropes to the top of the mountain. You can explore a little further even. The entire ridge is able to be hiked, so you could continue on to Lanihuli (completely different peak). If you do plan on doing that start early and again, its only for experienced hikers.

hiking
2 months ago

The views are simply amazing. If you don’t like wind or ridges it’s not the trail for you. But if you live insane 360 views that will take your breath away then you are good to go. I went for sunrise and it was one of my favorites ever.

2 months ago

Sign at the entrance says closed

2 months ago

lower forest section, ridge section, and final forest/rock climbing section to summit. amazing views! do not bring kids.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice views and a fun climb

2 months ago

let me just say the Pali puku is worth the heart ache of constantly looking down a 2000ft cliffside dive to death lol once you climb to the Puka the view and photos are breathtaking and worth the climb. Now if you go past the Puka you are faced with sheer rock face with trees and branches as well as ropwbto help you assend to the top of Pali. Worth everything minute

hiking
2 months ago

This hike is NOT a joke. Everyone’s comments are accurate. Keep going past the Puka to get to a much higher view. Extremely steep climb up with the assist of ropes that are there. Use extreme caution. Views are stunning.

3 months ago

Wonderful views from the top. Hiked along ridge- steep drop off. Don’t do when muddy. Kept going past it and found some ropes to get up to a higher view. Wind through puka was the best. Not super busy, but ran into a few people.

3 months ago

Great views from the top.

Beautiful, fun hike! It was very muddy when we went. Prepare to get covered in mud. Take your time and enjoy the views! This hike is def only recommended for the more adventurous hiker.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail was a blast. Easy and convenient parking at the Pali lookout. Entrance is fairly easy to spot by the bus parking lot. Without much effort, you have an immediate view. Ridge trail is a little precarious but very enjoyable. On a windy day, it’s quite exhilarating.

Follow the trail along and before long you reach a cliff face. Follow that to the left, and after a few more minutes of trekking, you’re faced with a difficult and fun climb up a series of ropes and tree roots. This leads you to a very spectacular view! We explored a bit beyond the top of the climb, as the ridge continues. However, time did not allow us to go much further for the day.

Overall it’s a very fun and exciting trip. If you’re looking for views, excitement, and climbing, this is a great choice. If you’re looking for a simpler experience, look elsewhere. This hike would be far more dangerous when wet and muddy.

hiking
5 months ago

Absolutely amazing views make for some pretty impressive photos! My husband and I completed the hike on a sunny, dry, yet windy day (I would NOT recommend this hike after a day of rain)! I would consider the trail a scramble, with use of hands and provided ropes. Not for the faint of heart or those who are scared of heights! I’m 6 months pregnant and did not have a problem conquering this trail, just make sure to wear good shoes! Go for it, the views are worth it!!

Trail entrance in near bus parking area, through the bamboo!

5 months ago

Absolutely amazing...can be dangerous if not careful but the view at the top was worth it!

5 months ago

the final scramble/tech climb to top of the peak is worth it...keep going past the window!

hiking
6 months ago

Great short hike with incredible views!

hiking
6 months ago

This hike has been on my list for quite a while and we finally did it today! It was a bit overcast with significant wind but the trail was dry. We got there at 9am on a Thursday and we were the only ones up there until we started to head down. Trail head is easy to find, look for the danger sign in the bamboo tree line behind the bus parking at the lookout. Pass the sign and start heading up. There are many options along the trail to cut into the trees if you don’t want to walk the ridge. We walked a bit of the ridge and a bit in the trees on the way to the Puka and completely along the ridge on our way back down. It’s amazing views and as long as you watch where you are walking it’s safe. The Puka could be missed if you don’t know what to look for, we seen 1 woman up there that was lost an went right passed the Puka. When you come up to a large rock face, go down it and that is the Puka. The trail actually goes up over it and you can’t see it. Parking is $3.00 for tourists and free for residents and military. Nice, quick and slightly technical hike. We did the Puka and crouching lion in 1 day.

6 months ago

Awesome hike with amazing views ❤️

hiking
6 months ago

Probably posting in the wrong spot, but does anyone want to do this hike or the Pali Notches hike Thursday March 8, 2017 ?

Carter1372@gmail.com

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