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.
EHUKAI PILLBOX HIKE
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.
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.
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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.
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.
I hope you enjoyed this guide for the Ehukai Pillbox Hike and have a great hiking experience on Oahu, Hawaii.
HAWAII HIKING PACKING LIST
Many people come unprepared for hiking on Oahu and that’s why there are so many rescues. Make sure you at least have the basics and you will be prepared for bad weather or any mishaps on the trail. A headlamp, rain jacket, and good hiking boots or shoes are the three main pieces of gear you need. Below are my four Hawaii hiking essentials.
- Arcteryx BETA AR Rain Jacket: This is my go-to rain jacket. It’s super light, folds down into a tiny ball, and protects brilliantly in a storm. This one never leaves my backpack.
- Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Hiking Boots: For the best ankle support, waterproofing, and durable exterior I’m a fan of tough but light hiking boots like these Salomons for my adventures.
- Black Diamond Head Torch: I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve arrived back from a hike unexpectedly late. I always keep this lightweight but strong headtorch in my bag for the unexpected.
- Darn Tough Socks: These are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever worn and last for years. They also have a lifetime warranty and you just send them in with a hole and they replace it no questions asked.
THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off) and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!
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 with a private lagoon.
- Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach.
- Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
- Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location.
- Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like you are living in a theme park.
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
- A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII
- The best Waterfalls: AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
- Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU
- Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU
- The best Waterfall Hikes: TOP WATERFALL HIKES ON OAHU
- Best Tours: 20 BEST TOURS ON OAHU
- The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON OAHU