A quick trip off the Pali Highway between Honolulu and Kailua allows visitors to take in some breathtaking views of the windward side of O'ahu without having to take much time out of their day. Nestled in what could be the lushest town in America, Nu'uanu is literally covered in vegetation on top of vegetation thanks to its rich volcanic soil and daily tropical showers. The lookout sits 1,000 feet up a vertical curtain made of stone called the Ko'olau Mountains. Looking east, it is a great place to catch a sunrise coming up over the Mokulua Islands. The towns of Kailua and Kāneʻohe sit below with the endless blue Pacific Ocean stretching in the distance. Along with the views down the length of the Ko'olau Mountains, it is really a great viewing area.
To many people the Pali Lookout is nothing more than a great place to catch stunning views, but to the native Hawaiians the spot is of great historical significance. It was the site of the pivotal battle for unification of the Hawaiian Islands by the greatest leader in their history, King Kamehameha. In a battle made famous by countless singers, storytellers, and artists, the great king defeated his O'ahu adversaries by driving them off these very cliffs. In May of 1795 between 400 and 700 warriors are rumored to have been driven off these cliffs after they were cornered by the invading army from the Big Island of Hawaii. This was the crucial and final battle in Kamehameha's quest to unite the island chain under one ruler for the first time. Hundreds of skulls were found while building the old Pali road, corroborating the legend.