In the tranquil community of Lanikai lies a hiking trail hidden among a private golf course and the beautiful multi-million dollar homes called Ka’iwa Ridge, or otherwise known as the Lanikai Pillboxes. Although a little steep on the way up, even the most novice of hikers can make the approximately 0.7 mile hike to what are called the Pillboxes.
The so-called pillboxes were built during World War I and II as part of the island’s defense system and used to alert the military of any approaching enemy ships. There are others located along mountain ridges throughout the island, but have since been abandoned by the military more than likely due to the use of radar detectors and much improved high-tech defense systems and satellites. Boy, how times have changed!
On a brisk Monday morning, after a failed attempt to enter the Haiku Stairs, we decided to find another place to catch the sunrise. The Lanikai Pillboxes was the perfect suggestion. After a 20 minute ascent along a clearly laid out trail, we reached the first pillbox. Less than 5 minutes away lies the second one in which we opted to take in the scenery from. If you continue on past the pillboxes, the trail continues along the Ka’iwa Ridge. I have personally never gone past the pillboxes, but would like to try it someday.
Either pillbox will offer you an expansive view of the windward side of the island from Kaneohe Marine Corp Base to Waimanalo. Directly in front are two islands known as the Mokuluas sitting in the middle of the bluest of bluest oceans. Throw in a backdrop of the Ko’olau mountain range and you’ve got yourself a 360-degree view of one of the most beautiful places on ‘Oahu.
Along the way you may encounter a friendly face or exchange a happy greeting with their owner. ☺ Yes, this trail is dog friendly. And as a courteous reminder (from this dog lover who treats her own like children), please pick up after them as it is a privilege to allow dogs on the trail not a right.
If you ever get the opportunity or want to check out an amazing sunrise, I highly suggest paying the pillboxes a visit. Whether you’re driving in from Waianae or flying in from the east coast of the mainland, you will not regret the beauty the windward side has to offer. On your way out, don’t forget to check out some of the amazing restaurants this sleepy town has to offer. Two of my favorite pancake houses are within minutes of each other – Boots and Kimo’s and Cinnamon’s. The debate on the better of the two is to be continued…