A breath-taking sunrise hike from the peaceful heights of the abandoned military pillboxes in the mountains.
IMAGES & TEXT BY JACKSON GROVES
Lanikai is by far one of the prettiest areas on Oahu, laden with spectacular homes, crystal clear water and the famous Mokoluas also known as “mokes” (Mountains) out in the ocean. Only a few blocks back from Lanikai Beach is the beginning of the Lanikai Pillbox Trail (Kaiwa Ridge), known for being one of the easier trails on the island of Oahu. There is no better way to start your day than with a short sunrise hike overlooking the ocean and amazing scenery.
WHAT MAKES THE LANIKAI PILLBOX TRAIL THE BEST SUNRISE HIKE?
The sun rises over the Mokuluas, lighting up the ocean and beachside suburb of Lanikai with intense colors. Sitting on a pillbox, a piece of military history, 600 feet above all of this magic is a great way to take a moment to slow down on your holiday and appreciate where you are or to take a deep breath and be thankful you get to call Oahu home. Every time I do this hike, as the sun creeps over the horizon, I have a sense of renewed gratitude sweep through my body.
The hike itself is quite steep but very short. There is no defined trail but because it is so popular, there is an unofficial trail that is very easy to follow. To catch the sunrise from start to finish it would be best to begin hiking 30-40 minutes it emerges.That gives you enough time to catch your breath, set up a tripod or choose which pillbox is going to be your lookout. The time of the sunrise changes throughout the year so be sure to check before you plan your morning accordingly because although this hike is still great to day during the day, walking the trail for a sunrise hike is worth the early wake up.
HOW TO FIND THE LANIKAI PILLBOXES TRAIL
The trail isn’t hard to find. It is directly across from the Mid-Pacific Country Club parking lot. Unlike many hikes on the island, there is a Lanikai Pillbox Trail sign. Normally there is ample parking in the neighborhood for the handful of people who are doing the hike each morning.
HOW TO GET THERE
The Lanikai Pillbox Trail is a 30 minute scenic drive from Waikiki. If you are driving a moped don’t worry, you can drive along the east coast of Oahu but it will take closer to an hour. We always take the moped up the east coast and love driving just above the crashing waves along the coastline.
Duration: 1 hour roundtrip
Altitude: 603 feet