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Top 5 Favorite Hawaii Scenic Lookouts: HAWAII Magazine reader poll results


Nuuanu Pali lookout

(Nuuanu Valley, Oahu)

Historic, windswept, obscene with greenery and blessed with magnificent views of Oahu’s windward coast and majestic Koolau mountain range, the Nuuanu Pali lookout was all but predestined for the no. 1 spot on our Top 5.

Some might argue that there sure is a lot of Oahu urbanity visible from the lookout—the towns of Kaneohe and Kailua, the H-3 Freeway, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and the Pali tunnels, among these. Not us. We’re fans of all of it, especially the lookout’s unparalleled views of the Koolau and valleys stretching north for miles up the windward Oahu coast.

Bonus? At the top of the 1,200-foot-high pali (Hawaiian for “cliff”), nature still pretty much rules. Sure, the lookout attracts more than 900,000 visitors annually. But strong and steady gusts of wind tend to whip away much of their noise, leaving behind the creak and rustle of foliage clinging to the Koolaus. There’s also no other spot on the island with a more easily accessible close-up view of the sheer cliffs of the mist-shrouded Koolau.

The lookout has some important history, too. The perilous 1,200-foot drop from the top of Nuuanu Pali was a key component of King Kamehameha the Great’s battle plans for uniting the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. In the May 1795 Battle of Nuuanu, Kamehameha’s army forced more than 400 of rival chief Kalanikupule’s soldiers to retreat from Oahu’s south shore, up the forests of Nuuanu Valley and, with no other escape, off of Nuuanu Pali.

Arrive in the early morning or late afternoon, and avoid much of the crowds.

Click on the links below for the Top 5 results of our previous HAWAII Magazine Facebook Ohana poll questions:

• Top 5 favorite Hawaii valleys

• Top 5 favorite Hawaii waterfalls

• Top 5 favorite Hawaii snacks

• Top 5 favorite scenic spots on Kauai

• Top 5 favorite Big Island scenic hiking trails

• Top 5 favorite Maui beaches for swimming

Photos: David Croxford for HAWAII Magazine (pg. 1, top); Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson (pg. 1, bottom; pg. 3, 5); Wikipedia Commons (pg. 1, bottom; pg. 4)

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
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Top 5 favorite scenic spots on Kauai: HAWAII Magazine facebook poll results
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