Nu’uanu Pali Lookout – Hawaii’s Violent Past & Pretty Views

The Pali Lookout, a scenic viewing spot along the cliffs of the Nu’uanu Pali, has been a staple in my family’s guide to Oahu for many years. Whenever visitors from out of town would come to our home, I’d find myself back up here again, gazing down upon the Kaneohe Bay and fighting back the incredible gusts of wind that come with such amazing, elevated views.

I wouldn’t learn about the Pali Lookout’s violent history until later, when public schooling would have us study Hawaiiana. It was here that King Kamehameha I (or King Kamehameha the Great, as some called him) drove Kalanikupule, chief of Oahu, and his men off these cliffs in an effort to unite the Hawaiian Islands. It was kind of like that scene in 300, except with fewer chiseled abs and a lot more dead bodies.

Several ghost stories live within these mountains, as they do with many of the holy and historic sites throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Superstitions often involve Pele, the volcano goddess who always seems riled up about something or another. Anyone carrying pork through the Nu’uanu Pali would find themselves deterred until said pork was removed, an effect rendered by Pele’s dispute with a hog-human demigod…

It occurs.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Photo

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Photo

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout - Danger Sign Photo

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Photo

For the complete collection, visit my Nu’uanu Pali Lookout photoset on Flickr or view them in the slideshow here:

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  • Breathtaking view and slightly creepy story.. On the last trip, we almost brought a rock back.. 

    • I’d be a little too superstitious to take rocks from sacred Hawaiian places. I don’t exactly believe them, but you hear them enough growing up and you can’t help but wonder…

  •  Thanks for this interesting story. I also like the view and will store it for future trips to Oahu.

    • Thanks for your comment! I hope you do check it out. It’s not too far from town and it’s one of the grander natural attractions in Hawaii.

  • Theron

    So funny that we were there a couple of weeks apart.  I ended up walking down the old pali highway.  It’s crazy how quickly nature is reclaiming the road.