Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout on Oahu, Hawaii – Panoramic Views

Nu‘uanu Pali - SignWe have been traveling a lot for the last few years and it can be quite expensive depending on where you are visiting. However, no matter where we go, we have learned to do a lot of online searching and find free or cheaper activities in the area.  We also will use things like Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. There are a lot of these types of online services out there today, not to mention all the blog posts!  This is how I found one of the first places we visited in December of 2016, Nu‘uanu Pali and Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout.

Nu‘uanu Pali - 1This section of the windward cliff (aka Pali) of the Koʻolau Mountain, located at the head of Nuʻuanu Valley, has a panoramic view of the windward (northeast) coast of Oahu. According to some past articles, and a few blog posts, people say that as you are driving up the Pali Highway through tall trees and dense forests to get to the lookout, you’ll see that the city disappears and the tranquil beauty of Hawaii’s natural landscape emerges. I completely agree that their statements are accurate. It is truly amazing, and you feel like you are lost in the rainforest.

Nu‘uanu Pali - 2Nuʻuanu Pali was very important in the history of Hawaii. It was the site of the Battle of Nuʻuanu, one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, in which Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oʻahu, bringing it under his rule. In 1795 Kamehameha I sailed from his home island of Hawaiʻi with an army of 10,000 warriors, including a handful of non-Hawaiian foreigners. After conquering the islands of Maui and Molokaʻi, he moved on to Oʻahu. The pivotal battle for the island occurred in Nuʻuanu Valley. Defenders of Oʻahu, led by Kalanikūpule, were driven back up into the valley where they were trapped above the cliff. More than 400 of Kalanikūpule’s soldiers were driven off the edge of the 1,000-foot cliff to their deaths.

Nu‘uanu Pali - 3In 1845 the first road was built over the Nuʻuanu Pali, to connect Windward Oʻahu with Honolulu. In 1898, as this road was developed into a highway, workers found 800 human skulls—believed to be the remains of the warriors who fell to their deaths from the cliff above. This road was later replaced by the Pali Highway and the Nu‘uanu Pali Tunnels in 1959, which is the route used today.

Nu‘uanu Pali - UsLike I said, it was an amazing drive up to Nu‘uanu Pali, but very very windy. I was a little surprised at how windy it was and almost lost Eugene’s hat, lol. However, the views were amazing even though it was an overcast day. You could see for miles up there. We spent a while at the top checking out several little platforms they have set up for visitors. I also enjoyed taking a lot of pictures.  Definitely add Nu‘uanu Pali to your to-do list while on Oahu. Here is a link to their website if you need more information.

Nu‘uanu Pali Visitor Information


Nu’uanu Pali Dr Honolulu, HI 96817


Daily 9-4 weather permitting




To get to the Lookout from Honolulu, take the H-1 freeway to the Pali Highway off-ramp. Once on the Pali, you can take a scenic detour off the highway on your way to the Lookout. Turn right onto Nu’uanu Pali Drive, which winds through lush rainforest, then return to the Pali and watch for the signs to the Lookout.




No  Animals
No Smoking
No Alcoholic Beverages
No Commercial Activities
No Drones


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