PALI HIGHWAY, one of O‘ahu’s four eye-popping rides out of town, is crowned by a place called the Nu‘uanu PALI LOOKOUT. From this windswept vantage point, the communities of Windward O‘ahu, the sweep of Kane‘ohe Bay and the restless surface of the Pacific spread for miles below. Here, too, the ghosts of ancient battles murmur through the emerald-forested cliffs, their wails muffled by the hum of traffic and the winds of time.
More than two centuries ago in the spring of 1795, the king of O‘ahu, who also ruled Maui, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i, sought to defeat Kamehameha, ruler of the island of Hawai‘i. This standoff climaxed at the Pali in the Battle of Nu‘uanu, where King Kamehameha’s warriors drove more than 400 of King Kalanikupule’s soldiers off the cliff.
To get to the lookout from Honolulu, take NU‘UANU PALI DRIVE THROUGH LUSH RAINFOREST, watching for signs to the lookout. Non-Hawai‘i residents will pay a $7 fee to park at the lookout; hours are 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.