Short Stroll on Kaiwa Ridge To The Lanikai Pillboxes

It’s Flashback Friday! This is another one of those hikes that our crew did a while ago, but never found its way to the Exploration: Hawaii blog. This Flashback Friday post brings us way back to August 2012. Located in the beautiful and affluent town of Lanikai, the “pillbox” hike, as it is known by the locals, is a short but scenic climb up Kaiwi Ridge. Once you reach the ridge line, in less than 10 minutes, you’ll begin to understand why this is such a popular hike amongst locals. The views are breathtaking. Directly in front of you is Lanikai Beach, and in the distance are two distinct islands affectionately know as “Moke’s,” which is short for Mokulua Islands.

On this day, Joel and I hiked Kaiwa Ridge with two good friends from Seattle, Washington. I met Bopha and Lang nearly nine years ago, when I was visiting Joel at the University of Washington. Back then, I was just a year into graduate school, and Joel, Bopha, and Lang were undergraduates trying to finish up their degrees. Last year, Bopha visited, along with Lang, to help celebrate Waialua High School’s Class of 2002 10-year reunion. The reunion, which, ahem, Joel was planning.

Of course, Bopha and Lang had some down time after the reunion festivities wrapped up, and so we checked out one of my favorite short hikes. Lanikai Pillboxes is one of my favorite hikes to bring visitors to the island on. It’s a quick hike with a killer view the entire way up. Quick. Killer views. How can you beat that? You can’t.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha and Lang hiking up. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha and Lang hiking up. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Hey, hey! Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Hey, hey! Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Hey, hey! Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Hey, hey! Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha and Lang. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha and Lang. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Looking back at Pillbox 1. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Looking back at Pillbox 1. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Killer views served up for the tourists! Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Killer views served up for the tourists! Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha waving high. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha waving high. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha waving high. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Bopha waving high. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Kickin' it. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Kickin’ it. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sunny day. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sunny day. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sunny day. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Sunny day. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Payoffs begin very early on. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Total Time: ~2 hours roundtrip.

Total Distance: ~2 miles.

Lanikai Pillboxes Trail Trips:

  • Sunscreen is a must for this hike! You might even want to bring a hat. There is no shade.
  • The second pillbox makes for a nice turnaround point. The adventurous can venture beyond the second pillbox.

Directions: You will take the H1 freeway and then take the Pali Highway (HI-61 N) exit. Continue on HI-61 N until you reach Kailua Road. Continue on Kailua Road and then continue on Kuulei Road. Turn right on Kalaheo Avenue. Continue on Kawailoa Road. You will drive past Kailua Beach Park and eventually you will pass a little statue on the left hand side that looks like a little stone lighthouse. At your first right on Alapapa Road you will turn right onto Kaelepulu Drive. You can park anywhere along that road. You should see the MidPacific Golf Course to your right. The trailhead is located directly across from the entrance to the Mid-Pacific Country Club parking lot. You will see a sign indicating that you are at the Lanikai Pillbox Trail.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.