Lanikai Pillbox Hike and Beach Day!


265 Kaelepulu Drive, Kailua, HI 96734

Note: Parking is pretty hard to find, especially during peak hours so you might have to park along the street, or even closer to the beach and walk up!

I’ve been wanting to do the Lanikai pillbox hike for a while and having my sister, Emily on the Island to visit it was the perfect excuse to explore the East side of Oahu! I’m still amazed by the beauty of this island everyday: the dazzling blue waters, the warm sun,  the people, and I can’t forget about the amazing food! This hike is named the Kaiwa Ridge Trail – but is known as the Lanikai Pillbox hike due to its location and its multiple pillboxes. The trail is a 1.6 mile, out and back trail, rated as moderate due to its steep gradient at points. We originally drove up to the start of the trail because we didn’t know the parking situation (which doesn’t exist) and had to turn around and find a parking spot along the road. We ended up parking down on Mokulua Drive closer to the ocean. Just be sure not to block anyone’s driveway or mailbox because the area has been known to give out tickets randomly. We made the trek up to the top of the hill to the start of the trail which was so nicely marked by a hand painted sign. It’s a pretty official sign if you ask me…and definitely do not try and bring a bike, you won’t make it very far.


We started the hike and made it up rather quickly. It hadn’t rained in a while, so the trail was very dusty and slippery at points. I definitely recommend wearing good walking/ running shoes with decent traction; however, like any hike in Hawaii apparently, people make it up and down in their flimsy flip-flops. It isn’t the easiest hike though, there were portions of the hike where Emily and I had to use our hands to climb up. Once we were at the top, we enjoyed the incredible views of Na Mokukua, the two islands off the windward cost of Oahu. They are commonly known as “The Mokes” and are part of the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary.


Unfortunately, we didn’t stay up there too long because 1. it was pretty crowded, 2. we were sweaty, and 3. we couldn’t wait to explore the white sand beaches we could see in the distance. But, from our short time up there we did get a few great pictures!



Be sure to watch your footing on the way down! It was slippery and Emily fell a few times, so be careful!

We made our way back to the Jeep, grabbed our bathing suits, made a quick change in the car and walked down the Lanikai Beach. We took the public beach access walkway that’s approximately at the intersection of Mokulua Drive and Kaelepulu Drive. The beach was beautiful and Emily and I couldn’t help but soak up the sun for a few hours! Remember to bring water and lather up with plenty of sunscreen!


I had so much fun exploring these sites with my sister!


A few days later, I did the hike again for PT and it was just as beautiful! Unfortunately, it was a little bit cloudy, but it was awesome to get to watch the sunrise and enjoy the natural beauty.



Kailua is my new favorite spot on this Island and I hope to explore more of it in the near future!

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Hawaii Heart - North Carolina Living

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