Hiking Hawaii: Lanikai Pillbox Hike | Oahu, Hawaii

A few weeks ago, Dane and I ventured out early on a Sunday morning to check out the famed Lanikai Pillbox Hike. It had been YEARS since we did it and the views are second to none, so I had been wanting to go back and check it out. Life happens, so I think it had honestly been 4 years since our last venture up there, but man – it did not disappoint.
Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait

The hike is an easy one, located on the eastern side of Oahu, with parking in an open neighborhood near Lanikai Beach. The trail is well marked and people of all ages can be seen going up and down. It’s one of the shortest hikes (about 1.6 miles round trip), but offers some of the best views, which is a pretty freaking awesome combination. The only downside is it’s a pretty gnarly incline initially with crumbly dirt and rock. If you can look past that (and not be afraid to fall on your ass if you aren’t careful) – it’s a total MUST.

Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait

Your phone’s GPS will recognize Lanikai Pillboxes and bring you right to the trailhead. You will be parking in a residential neighborhood, so be mindful of that and respect the homeowners who live there by not blocking driveways, creating a mess or otherwise interrupting their lives!

The “pillboxes” are two old military bunkers erected during World War II that have remained (and have been painted). You are able to hop inside, explore, or sit and relax for a moment before continuing on.Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait

It got hot really quickly so in addition to wearing good sneakers, bring lots of water and wear a hat and/or sunglasses. Don’t forget your sunscreen either!Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait

It only took us an hour to accomplish this hike up and back, including about 20 minutes of chill time at the top where we snapped photos and Face-Timed our parents to show them the view 😉Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait

No shirts, no problem 😉Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait Hiking Hawaii - Lanikai Pillbox Hike - CommuniKait

If you’re visiting Oahu, I recommend hitting this hike first thing in the morning (would be AWESOME for sunrise) and following it up with brunch at Over Easy. Order a lilikoi mimosa + cheers to a beautiful day in Hawaii!

If you’ve already conquered Lanikai, check out my other must-do hikes on Oahu or if brunch piqued your interest, here are the best brunch spots on Oahu 😉

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  • Jen

    It’s just stunning!!! We really need to come to Hawaii.

    • Kait

      Yes you do! I agree to be your personal tour guide 😉

  • This hike was one of my favorites! Definitely my favorite views!

    • Kait

      I agree! It has the best views and I like that it doesn’t take me all day. See also: I can still make it to brunch on time, LOL!

  • Lorin Bridge

    Love the pictures and the views. Not sure about Dane’s back in the pic. We need to take a trip to Hawaii.

  • These pictures are breathtaking!

    • Kait

      Thank you so much, Corie! I agree! It’s definitely one of my favorite spots to take in the views 🙂

  • Maghin

    We are coming to Oahu (for the 2nd time) In May 2018 and this time bringing our kids 7&3.5 – is this a hike they could do?
    We are looking for fun things to do in the mornings and then back to our hotel in Ko Olina for the afternoons! I was so excited to see our resort listed as one of your favorite sunset spots!

    • Kait

      Oh how awesome! KoOlina is fantastic! Be sure to get to Monkeypod for happy hour (KoOlina plaza) and Longboard’s for breakfast (3rd lagoon) – both are amazing! I would say your 3.5 may struggle a little bit (unless you are able to put him/her in a carrier of some sort?) or if they are decently good at climbing it may be okay. I’ve seen all sorts of kids on the trail. It’s just tricky at the very beginning, after that it’s very easy.