EHUKAI PILLBOX HIKE ON THE NORTH SHORE OF OAHU, HAWAII

things to do in oahu, oahu things to do, things to do on oahu, best things to do in oahu, oahu, hawaii, things to do oahu, things to do on oahu, activites on oahu, best activities oahu, activities honolulu, things to do hawaii, things to do honolulu

The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is one of the best short trails for a sunset view of the beaches on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The four-kilometer round-trip makes for an easy ascent to reach the pillbox for sunset, where you can watch sets of waves forming before barreling at Pipeline Beach, Sunset Beach, and Keiki’s. I love this hike during the winter when the swell is up on the north shore of Oahu and you can see unlimited sets rolling in. In this blog post, I will show you all of the details for this short hike as well as share my photos, directions, and how to get to the trailhead.

surf photos, surf photography, surf pics

BLOG POST: If you are interested in my experience (many years ago) hiking the Stairway to Heaven the regular way you can check out my blog post here: STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN HIKE ON OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2021

OAHU HIKING GUIDE: I’ve written a guide for the top hikes on Oahu that I am sure you will find useful: TOP 10 HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

EHUKAI PILLBOX HIKE DETAILS

Hike Distance: The total distance of the hike is 4km for the out and back.

Hike Duration: The hike up to the summit and back down should take just over one hour but if you hang out at the several viewpoints and pillboxes along the way you should bargain for a two-hour adventure.

Hike Difficulty: This hike is pretty straightforward although you will have a few steep sections and some uneven ground due to the tree roots. Overall it is suitable for dogs, children, and families who are looking for a short, manageable hike without any big drop-offs or dangers.

Hike Incline: 225 meters incline up to the pillboxes and back.

HOW TO GET TO THE EHUKAI PILLBOX HIKE

The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is located on the North Shore of Oahu Island. You can find the trailhead located in the parking lot of the Sunset Beach Elementary School on the northern side of the school. There is a small sign pointing towards the forest where the trail begins and from that point, it is quite easy to find the path. The only confusion some people have on this trail is that when they reach the first pillbox, they aren’t sure where to continue. Basically, always stay left. The second pillbox continues along the ridge and not higher up the mountain so always stay along the edge of the ridge and continue north to reach the second pillbox. The trail is well-worn. I’ve added the trailhead pin location below and several photos showing how the trailhead appears when you reach the parking lot.

MY EXPERIENCE ON THE EHUKAI PILLBOX HIKE

The Ehukai Pillbox Hike begins at the parking lot of the Sunset Beach Elementary School and veers off to the left into the trees. You will see a big sign (pictured above) indicating the entrance to the trail. For the first few hundred meters, the trail winds through some very tall grass and thick bushes before you reach the climb up through the twisted roots and trees. The ground here can be very slippery on a rainy day but a few ropes and tree branches give great support on your climb up.

About halfway up the climb to the pillboxes, there is a small bench and some viewpoints, which offer the first great views of the beaches below. I have positioned here before to take some shots of Pipeline with the palm trees framing the surfers beautifully.

Pipeline Beach Hawaii
Up The Cliff

The first sunset pillbox is an old military bunker, which you can explore inside or on top while enjoying the views of the neighborhoods and beaches below. Many people think this is the end of the Ehukai Pillbox Hike but it is the first of two pillboxes.

The trail continues in the same direction parallel to the coastline as you go in search of the ‘Peace’ pillbox, which is the second pillbox. The path is well defined due to the popularity of the trail and you will head downhill for a bit before clambering over a few rocks to reveal the final sunset pillbox. Here you can take a seat, bring along your dinner and enjoy the sun setting over the ocean as you enjoy spectacular views of the North Shore. I’ve added some photos below I shot of the swell at Pipeline from this exact hike at the Ehukai Pillboxes.

Shakas at Sunset

I hope you enjoyed this guide for the Ehukai Pillbox Hike and have a great hiking experience on Oahu, Hawaii.

MY FOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES ON OAHU

Looking for some idea for activities on your rest day from hiking? These are my favorite activities on the island… especially the doors-off helicopter flight.

  • Oahu scenic helicopter flight: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off). You will be absolutely blown away when you see Oahu from the sky! Click to book your tour: Doors-Off Helicopter Flight Tour
  • North Shore Shark Cage Adventure: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks! Click to book your tour: North Shore Shark Cage Experience
  • Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins. A once in a lifetime experience. Click to book your tour: Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour
  • Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: One of my favorite memories of Hawaii is floating in the water with a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. On this tour that is exactly what you will do! Click to book your tour: Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran

HAWAII HIKING PACKING LIST

Many people come unprepared for hiking on Oahu and that’s why there are so many rescues. Make sure you atleast have the basics and you will be prepared for bad weather or any mishaps on the trail. A headlamp, rainjacket and good hiking boots or shoes are the three main pieces of gear you need.

Hiking shoes – It’s best to use hiking boots with good grip and that can handle mud, rain, and tough terrain. Hiking shoes I use: Salomon Mid GTX

Rain Jacket – Never hike in Hawaii without a rain jacket, no matter how sunny it is in Honolulu. Rain Jacket I use: Arcteryx Lightweight Rain Jacket

Spare T-shirt – To change into at the top of a summit to be dry and warm as you will sweat through your original shirt while hiking: Dry fit hiking shirt I use: IceBreaker Merino Lite

Micro-spikes – You might not have used them much before but they basically slip over the top of your normal shoes giving you incredible grip, which is perfect for the slippery trails of Oahu. They will be the best purchase you make if you plan to hike a lot on Oahu. Microspikes I use: Kahtoola MICROspikes

Headlamp – So you can keep your hands free instead of holding a torch. Head Torch I use: Petzl Head Lamp 450 Lumens

My Camera Backpack: You simply won’t find a better camera backpack for hiking that my Atlas Athlete Backpack, which I’ve been using on all of my hikes all over the world for years now: Atlas Athlete Camera Backpack

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MOANALUA-VALLEY-TRAIL-HAIKU-STAIRS-MIDDLE-RIDGE-LEGAL-WAY-01888-683x1024.jpg

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU

Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island.

Why I recommend this hotel: It has its own private lagoon. While lots of people love the beach it is perfect for families. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach so don’t worry the beach is right there also.

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Why I recommend this hotel: The Sheraton is always exceptional no matter the location but imagine you are leaning over the edge of an infinity pool, the ocean is below you and you turn to your left and watch Diamond Head crater in the distance. That’s where you will be at the end of each day, having a Mai Tai cocktail in your infinity pool. Later on, in the evening Rumfire is a great bar venue, which is actually part of the Sheraton. It is open to the public and is one of the best high-end venues on Oahu. It has a small dance floor but is mostly standing and seating areas for drinks, chats and good times.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Why do I recommend this hostel/hotel: This is the perfect hotel if you want location but are willing to sacrifice a pool and some luxury items to save up to $200 per night. All of the hotels in this area are minimum $300 per night and often much more. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. If you are like me, I never swim in the hotel pool anyway. Didn’t you come halfway across the world to swim in the beach!

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Why I recommend this hostel: Unfortunately Waikiki and Honolulu, in general, are not cheap.  You can grab a dorm room for under $35 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach. This location really is great. You are near a lot of attractions and can take public transport to a lot of great east coast beaches and hikes. It is the number one hostel in Waikiki and I’m sure you will meet other adventurers to go on hikes with!

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

Why I recommend this hotel: Disney Aulani Resort combines luxury accommodation with family fun. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind. The kids club and massage center are just among a few of the many activities included in your stay. Attend ukelele lessons, free fire-pit story-telling at night and more and more! Your kids will never be bored and the quality of entertainment and facilities is just beyond amazing.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is outrigger-waikiki-beach-resort-hololulu-home1-top1.jpg

MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY

A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?

Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is best-tours-on-oahu-803-1024x685.jpg

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.