A breath-taking sunrise hike from the peaceful heights of the Lanikai Pillbox Hike in the mountains.

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 Hike (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.

Lanikai Pillboxes trail during our 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.


This is a short 20 minute hike

A short 20 minute hike

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 do during the day, walking the trail for a sunrise hike is worth the early wake-up.

Lanikai Pillbox Sunrise View




The hike 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 Hike sign. Normally there is ample parking in the neighborhood for the handful of people who are doing the hike each morning.


Lanikai Pillboxes and the Lanikai Neighborhood sunrise hike



The Lanikai Pillbox Hike 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

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7 Discussion to this post

  1. Doug says:

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures.
    They make me thing it is about time for me to visit the island again.
    Do you have any tips on how you capture and post such beautiful photos?

    • Jackson & Jessie says:

      Hey Doug you are more than welcome! I shoot using a Sony A7II, 16-35mm lens for my landscape shots. I also sometimes use an ND filter and something that is permanently on my camera is Polarizer, we are in the sun 99% of the time in Hawaii so that is definitely been important to improve my shots. I definitely watch a lot of youtube videos about techniques. I use lightroom to edit all of my photos. I think something I have focused on lately is surveying my surroundings and figuring out the best possible position to shoot before I begin snapping. Once I find the spot I try and really work on the composition of the shot and use the grid on my screen to play with rule of thirds. Usually the more time I spend on the set up of a shot the more likely I end up using it in a blog post, Instagram, website, printing it etc. The shots I take quickly are often the ones I delete straight away. Let me know if you have any specific questions.. although I am a beginner myself I only started shooting in June 2015

  2. Doug says:

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures.
    They make me think it is about time for me to visit the island again.
    Do you have any tips on how you capture and post such beautiful photos?

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