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!
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.
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 to 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.
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.
If you want to see what the time lapse looked like here it is below just skip to 45 seconds in:
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.
What to pack for a trip to Hawaii
What to pack for Hawaii?: After multiple trips to Hawaii, there are some items you NEED to pack. I wrote a blog post with all of my suggestions about things you might not think about packing: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY
Where to stay on Oahu
Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island.
Why I recommend this hotel: It has its own private lagoon. While lots of people love the beach it is perfect for families. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach so don’t worry the beach is right there also.
Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.
Why I recommend this hotel: The Sheraton is always exceptional no matter the location but imagine you are leaning over the edge of an infinity pool, the ocean is below you and you turn to your left and watch Diamond Head crater in the distance. That’s where you will be at the end of each day, having a Mai Tai cocktail in your infinity pool. Later on, in the evening Rumfire is a great bar venue, which is actually part of the Sheraton. It is open to the public and is one of the best high-end venues on Oahu. It has a small dance floor but is mostly standing and seating areas for drinks, chats and good times.
Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.
Why do I recommend this hostel/hotel: This is the perfect hotel if you want location but are willing to sacrifice a pool and some luxury items to save up to $200 per night. All of the hotels in this area are minimum $300 per night and often much more. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. If you are like me, I never swim in the hotel pool anyway. Didn’t you come halfway across the world to swim in the beach!
Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.
Why I recommend this hostel: Unfortunately Waikiki and Honolulu, in general, are not cheap. You can grab a dorm room for under $35 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach. This location really is great. You are near a lot of attractions and can take public transport to a lot of great east coast beaches and hikes. It is the number one hostel in Waikiki and I’m sure you will meet other adventurers to go on hikes with!
Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.
Why I recommend this hotel: Disney Aulani Resort combines luxury accommodation with family fun. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind. The kids club and massage center are just among a few of the many activities included in your stay. Attend ukelele lessons, free fire-pit story-telling at night and more and more! Your kids will never be bored and the quality of entertainment and facilities is just beyond amazing.
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!
What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY
A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?
Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018
The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII
The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII
My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII
The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST