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Lanikai Pillboxes (Kaiwa Ridge) Trail

Kailua, Hawaii

4.9/5
based on 15 reviews

Details

Distance

1.76 miles

Elevation Gain

686 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Brooke Willson

Lanikai Pillboxes (Kaiwa Ridge) Trail is a relatively short, but steep trail that offers amazing views of Mokulua Islands and Lanikai Beach. This dog-friendly hike is located on Oahu near Kailua, Hawaii.

The hike
The Lanikai Pillbox Trail, also known as the Kaiwa Ridge Trail, is a well-maintained, dog-friendly hike. The pathway is relatively accessible to hikers of varying skill levels, and it takes many people between 30 and 45 minutes to complete the walk.

The beginning of the trail is steep with loose gravel, but gets more manageable as you continue. The out-and-back hike is 1.76 miles long, and gains around 686 feet of elevation.

The views
Expect to see the beautiful turquoise water of Lanikai Beach, the Mokulua Islands, and the Koolau Mountains. 

History
The trail's unique name is derived from the old military pillboxes that were once used as lookout points during World War II, adding historical significance to the hiking experience.

Best time to hike Lanikai Pillbox Trail aka Kaiwa Ridge Trail
If you’re an early-riser, this is a great hike to do just before the sun rises. The pillboxes offer panoramic views of the Mokulua Islands. 

This trail does not have lights and can be very tricky after dark, so most people hike it during daylight hours. Bring a headlamp in case of an emergency that keeps you out after dark.

What to bring
-The 10 essentials for hiking
-Drinking water
-Hat, sunscreen, layers in case it gets chilly
-Raincoat
-Camera or phone to capture those incredible views

Are dogs allowed?
This trail allows leashed dogs. Make sure to bring plenty of water - they'll be thirsty too!

Post adventure
After the hike, you can hang out at Lanikai Beach and rent paddleboards, kayaks, or just go for a swim. 

Head to Kono's Northshore for their famous Kalua pig nachos or sandwich and an incredible milkshake.

Directions and parking
Drive to Lanikai Beach in Kailua. You can reach teh trailhead along Kaelepulu Drive. Parking options are slim and this hike is very popular, so get there early for your best chance at a parking spot when hiking Lanikai Pillbox Trail. 

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Features

Photography
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Romantic
Scenic

Lanikai Pillboxes (Kaiwa Ridge) Trail Reviews

Steep but short! Amazing views on a clear day just breathtakingly gorgeous. There are some rope section on the way up but most of them you can make it without.

Great hike for beginners as my self

Probably my favorite hike I did on Oahu! Woke up early and did it for sunrise; bring a headlamp/light if you do this. Insane views. Parking was a bit of a pain, go early and on a week day if you can! Lots of people, but so worth it!

Best View of the Beaches Below

Thanks for posting this hike. This was my “backyard” as a 10 yr old in the late 50s. Hiked here frequently with playmates or alone. We sometimes encountered Marines from the nearby base who would share their canned rations with us when taking a lunch break at the pillboxes. Love of outdoors spawned here on these humble hills.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Paddle to Moku Nui

Lanikai Beach

Kayak to Flat (Popoia) Island

Kailua Beach Park

Kick Back at Bellows Field Beach Park

Maunawili Falls (Temporarily Closed)