Hiking the Lanikai Pillboxes
Update: As of June 21, 2018, the Lanikai pillbox hike will be closed for two months for repairs to the bunkers and some erosion of the trial.
After two weeks in Hawaii, I was on a hiking kick and wanted to go on more despite not being an avid hiker at all and tend to want to die while on a trail – especially steep ones.
Will (check out his other adventures on Instagram) decided to take me hiking The Lanikai Pillboxes Hike at sunrise (a.k.a, Ka’iwa Ridge Trail), which is well known for being one of the easiest hikes on the island and one of the most scenic. That’s a rare combination so you can imagine my delight when he said, “it was one of the “easiest” hikes we could do,” until he told me we had to do it at…sunrise.
Before dawn, we rolled out of bed in a groggy daze. Will drove as I sat silently in the car, trying my best to wake up.
How to get there
You can easily google the directions but the hike is located in a residential neighborhood. Be sure to lock your car and take all your belongings. Please keep your voices down since it IS a residential neighborhood and people don’t like being awakened too early, especially on weekends.
You’ll see the beginning of the trail by following the many other hikers along thew ay.
About Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Hiking the Lanikai Pillboxes starts off with a “short” incline although it didn’t seem all that short at the time. After you get past the hard part, the rest is just a gradual incline with a well-beaten trail that even had steps in the dirt from so much use! Be sure to pause and take photos from behind you as well. 🙂
The Lanikai Pillbox hike is kid-friendly as well as dog-friendly. Just be sure to leash your dogs if they get distracted or run into other dogs.
We got to the top sooner that I expected, especially since I was having flashbacks of the never-ending torturous hike through the Moanlua Middle Ridge and (closed) Stairway to Heaven that I hiked with Carlo a few weeks prior. It didn’t help that I had a few glasses of red wine the night before and felt a raging headache creep on. Nevertheless, the hike was short and sweet and the view was worth it!
There are two pillboxes (from WWII) to enjoy the awesome view but we opted to sit at the edge of the cliff on some rocks since there was already a small crowd around the boxes. I easily got lost staring off into the distance at the red, orange, and yellow rays filling the horizon, the glistening dark water, and the Mokulua Islands. Moku Nui on the left and Moku Iki on the right.
One of the regrets is not taking more pictures along the hike rather than just at the end. In my defense, it’s usually because I’m doing a horrible job pretending I’m Frodo Baggins hiking Mount Doom. At least, I always finish….! So if you are hiking the Lanikai Pillboxes at sunrise, here’s some essential information below.
Essential Info to hiking the Lanikai Pillboxes:
265 Kaelepulu Dr, Kailua, HI 96734, United States
+ Go at dawn or dusk for the best views
+ Parking is not available on the street in the neighborhood so park a few streets away and walk to the entrance.
+ Please watch your noise level as you walk to the entrance since it’s in a residential area.