Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Kaiwa Ridge)

Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Kaiwa Ridge)

Suitable for:
Active vacationer, Nature lover, Families, Couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Well known, but not overcrowded
Insider Tip
Allow time:
2.5 Hours
Optimal arrival time:
06:30 Clock
Suitable for:
Active vacationer, Nature lover, Families, Couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Well known, but not overcrowded
Insider Tip
Allow time:
2.5 Hours
Optimal arrival time:
06:30 Clock

Profile of the hike

Distance total
1,4 Kilometer
Distance uphill
0,69 Kilometer
Distance downhill
0,69 Kilometer
Altitude meters uphill
113 Meter
Altitude meters downhill
- 112 Meter

Lanikai Pillbox Hike (Kaiwa Ridge) - Description

The Pillbox Hike (also called the Kaiwa Ridge Trail) is a 2.9-kilometer, heavily trafficked hiking trail near Kailua, Oahu. It passes beautiful viewpoints and there are wildflowers and often wildlife to see. Due to the incline and distance, the trail is considered moderate. The route is accessible year-round. Dogs are allowed, but must be kept on a leash.

The trail starts in the middle of the residential area of Lanikai and is a bit difficult to find. With the address below in the navi but no problem. You should not be confused by the many signs and simply take the small path between the road and the private property in the woods.

Even in dry weather, the paths through the forest are extremely slippery, despite the attached ropes. On rainy days, this part of the hike becomes a pure slippery slope.

As soon as the grove ends, there is a beautiful view of the coast of Lanikai. The bright sandy beach lined with palm trees meets turquoise shining ocean here. Off the coast lies a well-known photo motif in the water: the two islands of Moku Nui and Moku Iki (in short: "The Mokes" or "The Twin Islands").

The rest of the hike goes directly over Ka'iwa Ridge, so you have great views on both sides. At the top you reach the decommissioned pillbox bunkers from World War II. Like everywhere else on the island, the high mountains were converted into gun emplacements to defend Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor. From there you have the best view to the south and north. The green slopes of the Ka'iwa mountain range stretch down to Waimanalo Bay.

What we say

Perfect also with children from +6 years! The kids can climb (must of course be careful!), have fun and arrived on one of the pillboxes, you have a great viewing platform. And after the descent down to Lanikai Beach and marvel at where you've just been ;-)
This short hike is suitable for an early and great start to the day. The hiking trail itself is not particularly spectacular, but the view is. Since this trip only takes about 2-3 hours, you'll be back by late morning and have already experienced a great sunrise view. During the day, the lights are not as beautiful (and the Pacific not as turquoise) as at sunrise. In addition, then mostly crowded by hikers. A short meditation or round of yoga on the bunker with the rising sun and few people is worth getting up early. You can combine this hike with the beach visits of Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach.
The Pillbox Hike is always in and can be due to the small time requirement bspw. also perfectly in a self-driven Circle Island tour as a stopover. Then, however, you are usually a little later (consider stops in advance!) and it will be a little busier (parking lot search could then be more difficult, but does not have to).
Our checklist & tips:
  • Finding a parking space is difficult because it is in the middle of a residential area.
  • Do not use the parking lot at Mid Pacific Country Club. There is trouble ;)
  • Parking at Kailua Beach Park is further away, but often there is still a parking space available here.
  • Hike is recommended at sunrise (sunrise page).
  • Enjoy the time especially in the morning, gladly with a meditation / yoga on the bunker before it gets more crowded.
  • Can be combined with beach visits Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach.

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Map and contact data

265 Kaelepulu Dr, Kailua, HI 96734
Longitude: -157.7188823268674
Latitude: 21.39031649481243

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