It’s not the same as a peaceful nature walk, but if time is short and hiking isn’t your thing, Honolulu has a rainforest you can drive through. It’s only a few minutes from downtown Honolulu in verdant Nuuanu Valley, where it rains nearly 300 inches a year. And it’s easy to reach: As the Pali Highway leaves residential Nuuanu and begins its climb through the forest, the last stoplight is the Nuuanu Pali Road turnoff; turn right for a jungley detour of about 2 miles under a thick canopy strung with liana vines, past giant bamboo that creaks in the wind, Norfolk pines, and wild shell ginger. The road rises and the vegetation clears as you drive, blinking in the bright light of day, past a small mountain reservoir. Soon the road rejoins the Pali Highway. Kailua is to the right and Honolulu to the left—but it can be a hair-raising turn. Instead, turn right, go a half-mile to the Nuuanu Pali Lookout, stop for a panoramic view of Oahu’s windward side, and return to the town-bound highway on the other side.
Nuuanu Valley Rainforest
Take the Old Nuuanu Pali Rd exit off Pali Hwy. (Hwy. 61)