The Nu’uanu Pali Trail, also known as the Judd Trail, is a hiking trail off of Nu’uanu Pali Lookout in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is a short hike, only 2.2 kilometers (1.36 miles) one way heading down to the waterfall from the lookout. Even though it is a short trail, you will have to go through some narrow spaces and slippery grounds, so you definitely want to come prepared.
Always windy at the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is a popular lookout location for locals and tourists where you can view the panoramic view of Windward Oahu. Many people drive to this lookout location and enjoy taking pictures, often battling to get the perfect shot because of how crazy the wind blows at this location. The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is located in the middle of the land from Waikiki to Kailua where there is a lot of rain and wind movement happening constantly. When going to this location, do not forget to bring an extra layer of clothes to put on, because it is usually quite colder than the rest of the island. Many people just go to the lookout, but if you are going to the hiking trail off of the lookout, it is not a bad idea to wear long pants and long sleeves, especially if you get cold easily.
A little adventure on the way to the waterfall
On the way to the waterfall from the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, which is only 2.2 kilometers, making it a fairly a short hike, you’ll notice there are quite a few adventures on your way. Hopefully you come prepared with good hiking shoes because this part of the island gets more rain than the rest of the island, tending to sometimes make the ground muddy and slippery. For this reason, you want to make sure you can move comfortably. At some locations, you need to go under the trees so be ready to bend down and move in small areas. Especially once you pass a highway, it gets wilder with more trees, thus you’ll want to be prepared to move comfortably up and down.
Follow the red ribbon
Compared to other hiking trails around Oahu, the Nu’uanu Pali Trail is not well known. It is a short hike considering the distance, but it can be a little challenging. It is a little hard to follow which way to go, especially when it gets closer to the waterfall, so if you do get confused just make sure to follow the signs! All around Oahu on the hiking trail, you’ll see red/pink ribbons on branches along the trail so you know if you are on the right track or not. Some areas of the Nu’uanu Pali Trail are definitely quite confusing since the trail suddenly opens into three routes here and there, so if you spot locals, don’t be afraid to ask for the trail and they will be happy to guide you.
Make new colorful friends on the trail!
Going down on the Nu’uanu Pali Trail, you might be able to spot some of the colorful wildlife living in the woods. On the day I hiked this trail, I ran into two guys who were coming back from the trail with branches in their hands. There you saw three chameleons, one male with horns along with two females. Chameleons are not indigenous to Hawaii, but were introduced to the island, and live in the wild. On this trail, you might be lucky enough to run into them if you look carefully through the woods and spot them when they are camouflaging in with nature.
Refresh and receive minus ion at the waterfall
At the end of this hiking trail you’ll find a small waterfall. Compared to other hiking trails with waterfalls, this is a small one, but it gives nice refreshment after hiking down from the lookout spot. The distance is not long, but there is quite a bit of ups-and-downs coming down to the waterfall, so you will most likely be sweating by the time you reach this point. As well as the locals, you might also see dogs accompanying people coming to the trail, so everyone gets to have a peaceful moment when arriving at the waterfall.
Beautiful hike into the mountain of Hawaii
Compared to hiking trails by the ocean, this is in the middle of the land, thus you will be going through the woods of Oahu, seeing many different sides of the island. Since it is in the middle of the land, you want to dress more in layers coming to this trail, and it might be a good idea to be prepared in case of rain. On this trail, you could be lucky enough to spot wildlife like chameleons as well. On the day I hiked, it was very windy and rather cold in Hawaii, so I had to wear long sleeves and long pants. You could get hot after sweating, but this area can attract mosquitoes so you might want to wear layers.
Like many hiking trails around Oahu, this hiking trail does not have toilets, even at the lookout, so you want to be aware where you are going before you head to the hiking trail. Parking is free at the lookout, but there are cases of people breaking into cars so please do not leave your valuables in the car when you go to this location.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.