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Pali Lookout & Haunted Highway in Hawaii

a train traveling through a lush green hillside with Nu‘uanu Pali in the background

Pali Lookout is a MUST STOP during your Hawaii vacation on Oahu. Pali Highway on Oahu is one of the most beautiful drives through the mountains of the island. Some people say the Highway is haunted – We can’t say anything about it, but Pali Highway and the Pali definitely have a lot of history.

Driving Haunted Pali Highway

Pali Highway History

There were two Highways built earlier than the current used Pali Highway. The original “Pali Highway” or “Old Pali Road” as many call it, went along much of the same route and portions of the old road still exist. The Old Pali Road is closed for vehicular traffic, but some hikers find their way over the road along the mountain site.

People in Hawaii started asking for a tunnel through the mountains as early as 1850. It took more than 100 years for it to be finished. Construction for the Pali Highway as we know today, began in the mid-1950’s. The first tunnel opened for one-way traffic in 1957. The second tunnel was completed in 1961. The Pali Highway itself was officially dedicated in December of 1962.

When the current Pali Highway and its tunnels opened, the original roadway was closed and is now used by hikers. The “Old Pali Highway”, as it is now called, is also noted in the popular culture of Hawaii for being a place with strong spiritual connections.

Ghost Stories of Pali Highway in Hawaii

In 1845 the first road was built over the Nuʻuanu Pali, to connect Windward Oʻahu with Honolulu. In 1898, as this road was developed into a highway, workers found 800 human skulls, believed to be the remains of the warriors who fell to their deaths from the cliff above.

Pali Lookout on Oahu

Many ghost stories have settings along this old highway. A large portion of the old highway was built over the ancient Hawaiian foot paths that traversed the famous Pali pass, which was the most easily accessible route to take from the Windward to Honolulu side. This was because much of the Ko’olau Mountain range on the Windward side has steep cliffs that make it nearly impossible to traverse over safely. “Pali” is the Hawaiian word for precipice.

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

A MUST – the certainly beautiful Pali Lookout. If you want to have a beautiful view of the East Side all the way to the North Shore of the Island, you have to stop at the Pali Lookout. Pali Lookout is about a 20 minute drive from Waikiki.

IMPORTANT! Take your time and also enjoy the view. Make sure to bring your credit card or some spare change to pay for parking. There is always a person on site to check the tickets. The parking lot is not too big. You will most likely get a ticket, even if you only leave the car for a few minutes.