Pali Puka Trail

HARD 142 reviews

Pali Puka Trail is a 0.7 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
0.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
508 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.

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

hiking
10 days ago

Nice views and a fun climb

18 days 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
24 days 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.

28 days 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.

1 month 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
2 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
2 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!

2 months ago

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

3 months ago

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

hiking
4 months ago

Great short hike with incredible views!

hiking
4 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.

4 months ago

Awesome hike with amazing views ❤️

hiking
4 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

4 months ago

Great quick hike, not for anyone afraid of heights

hiking
5 months ago

Nice short trail. Almost nobody continues to the top of it - everyone just ends at the little window in the rock (arch), so ignore them and continue to the left of the needle, from that point the real rope steep fun begins (after short traverse)! Trekking poles were handy only in the starting section, then you will use trees, rocks and ropes.

5 months ago

Short, Intense hike that gains elevation very quickly...not physically hard at all but please be prepared to climb around a bit near a sheer drop off the Koolau mountain ridges.

hiking
5 months ago

very steep in areas, not insurmountable though. my wife did it with a pretty banged up knee, it just took a little extra time. view is excellent, Cliffside a few segments. worth it!

6 months ago

Hard yes. But totally doable! Don’t go on a windy or super wet day.

6 months ago

Loved this hike! Incredible views!

hiking
6 months ago

The trailhead is to the left of the Pali Lookout. It’s a steep incline, but nothing too difficult considering the roots and trees that can be used for climbing. The wind is crazy! Be careful with your footing, and watch your hats and sunglasses!
Once you get across the first ridge line, it gets easier on your nerves! The hardest part, honestly, is the rock wall leading to the top lookout spot.
I’d suggest using a fanny pack instead of a backpack because my hiking partner’s kept getting stuck on branches and fallen trees.

6 months ago

Great quick hike

hiking
8 months 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
9 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
9 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.

9 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
9 months ago

Super fast and easy!

hiking
9 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!

10 months ago

great short hike, be careful on rainy days though.

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