The Pali Puka hike on Oahu is a great trail for sunset as the sun rays sneak through a gap in the mountains casting light across the valley! It’s short and sweet with some of the best views on the island.
WHERE IS THE PALI PUKA HIKE ON OAHU, HAWAII
Driving up the Pali Highway you will turn off at the Pali Lookout, which is clearly marked by signs. The Pali Lookout itself is a popular tourist spot but 99% of visitors to the lookout don’t hike, they just look out over the valley. The Pali Notches hike begins on the right-hand side of the parking lookout.
On the left-hand side of the parking lot at the Pali Lookout, you will find a small trail that leads up a steep dirt incline. This is the start of the Pali Puka. There are plenty of roots and trees to grab onto and this path will lead you to the first view. The hike isn’t necessarily dangerous but much of the path is on the edge of a huge drop-off. Does that make it dangerous? You decide.
The path is wide enough that there is no real risk if you watch your footing and play it safe. If you want to look out at the amazing view it’s best to stop walking and enjoy it while you have a steady position.
MY EXPERIENCE ON THE PALI PUKA HIKE
The trail heads straight up the hill in the undergrowth and then spits you out on the edge of the cliff with a huge drop-off. You then walk along the cliff edge, watching your step carefully. From the first viewpoint, you can see Kaneohe, the Pali tunnels, and even China Man’s Hat on a clear day. If you are as classy as my friends you might find this a great place to enjoy a drink and relax and one of my favorite sunset hikes on Oahu.
You now continue on in search of the Puka. Keep following the trail and another 5 or so minutes will bring you to the hole in the rock! This is why you did the Pali Puka Hike so hopefully, a rainbow appears for you too! If you love Pukas as much as we do you gotta also check out the Tom Tom Trail for another great puka.
Keep climbing Pali Puka for the sunset spot!
If you continue on now the path will lead into the trees. You can keep going but it gets quite steep and you will need to use the ropes already there. It’s nothing crazy in my opinion but some may find it a bit challenging. It is important to note if you do go past the Puka point for sunset it will be dark coming down so bring a light for safety.
After 10-15 minutes of climbing up the rocks and trees with the ropes, you might be a bit breathless but the view will make up for it. The mountains look just freaking amazing. Here is the best part. If you are hiking at the right time of year the sun will creep through the gap in the mountain range and give you a great photo. I went in May for this photo. Unfortunately, I was taking a time-lapse and only got this photo but I am sure you can get some nice sun stars and rays if you have the right settings. We saw it with our own eyes, which was more than enough as a memory of the Pali Puka hike.
Be safe going down and take it slow as it can be slippery and the drop looks very unforgiving. Stay safe and enjoy the Pali Puka hike.
HAWAII HIKING PACKING LIST
Many people come unprepared for hiking on Oahu and that’s why there are so many rescues. Make sure you at least have the basics and you will be prepared for bad weather or any mishaps on the trail. A headlamp, rain jacket, and good hiking boots or shoes are the three main pieces of gear you need. Below are my four Hawaii hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off) and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!