To kick off the 2011 Labor Day Weekend, Joel, Marvin and I tackled the Pali Puka Trail. It was along this ridge trail that the Battle of Nu’uanu took place and where Kamehameha I defeated King Kalanikupule of Oahu and unified the Hawaiian Islands. This short trail took us about 30 minutes to reach the top, however, don’t let this short hike time fool you because the Pali Puka trail is considered one of the most dangerous trails on the island. Within a few minutes of hiking, you will reach open ridge area and you will be exposed to exhilarating views of the Windward side of Oahu. The views are spectacular, but be mindful of the intense winds – they are strong enough to blow you right off of the exposed ridge.
The trail to the Pali Puka is fairly well defined, so once you are on the exposed ridge simply follow the trail (it will weave in and out of the ridge) until you reach a large rock face (see below). The Pali Puka is located just below this rock face. Carefully navigate your way down and you will be greeted by the Pali Puka. If you made it to the puka be sure to pat yourself on the back and then soak in the views of the Windward side. Since the hike was so short, we decided to spend a considerable time at the Puka just enjoying the view and taking a ton of photos. Once you’ve had your share of the Puka, you just work your way down the trail by taking the same path that you used to come up.