Pali Noches is located on the direct opposite side from the Pali Puka trail. If you are at the Pali Lookout facing the valley and ocean, Pali Puka is the ridgeline to your left and Pali Noches is to your right. The hike up to the notches is considered a more advanced, .8 mile hike. It is very steep and the dirt is loose on a dry day and very slippery on a wet day. Once you reach the “notches” the climb into and out of the notches are assisted by ropes.
Like the Pali Puka Hike, this trail climbs along the narrow ridgeline of the Ko’olau Mountains. High winds and sheer vertical drops make this hike an exciting trip. The panoramic vistas provided by this exposed trail are incredible, offering breathtaking views of O’ahu’s windward coast, from Kailua and Kane’ohe all the way to Kualoa.
The story of the Pali Notches goes all the way back to 1795 during Kamehameha's conquest of the islands. Kaʻiana, one of Kamehameha's leaders, defected to Kalanikūpule of Oʻahu shortly before the battle of Nuʻuanu. Legend has it that the notches were carved out by Oʻahu warriors with the help of Kaʻiana's men as a place to station two canons in preparation for the defense against Kamehameha and his invading forces. However, Kamehameha was alerted of this beforehand; he ordered some of his soldiers to march up Kōnāhuanui and then down to the notches, capturing the canons and using them against Kalanikūpule's forces.
The Nuʻuanu Pali lookout was the site of the Battle of Nu'uanu, one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history, in which Kamehameha I conquered the island of Oahu, bringing it under his rule in 1795. The pivotal battle for the island occurred in Nuʻuanu Valley, where the defenders of Oahu, led by Kalanikupule, were driven back up into the valley where they were trapped above the cliff. More than 400 of Kalanikūpule's soldiers were driven off the edge of the cliff to their deaths 1,000 feet below.