Many freelancers and self employed folk suffer from working too much and never taking enough breaks. As my fall trip to Hawaii draws to a close, I decided to give myself a half day off to unplug and enjoy the great outdoors. My last trip to Oahu in May included a long hike up the infamous Koko Head, and this time, I decided to do another ascension in the form of the Lanikai Pillboxes (aka Ka’iwa Ridge Trail). Honestly, I don’t have many memories of visiting the Windward side of Oahu other than the occasional trek out there to visit a friend in high school. As a result, Lanikai and Kailua were pretty much foreign areas to me, despite not being far from my stomping grounds as a teenager. I wasn’t even aware of Lanikai beach’s pristine white sand and crystal clear blue waters, or the amazing birds of view of the beach that could be captured from the Pillboxes. I have Facebook and social media to thank for all of the Lanikai Pillbox photos that have been popping up in my feed, thus whetting my appetite for getting some shots of my own.
The pillboxes are former military bunkers that were once used for defensive attacks during World War II. Given the awesome views from the Pillboxes, it isn’t hard to see why they were placed up on these ridges. Kaneohe Marine Corps Base isn’t far from the Pillboxes, and during my hike, I could actually hear some military artillery being fired in the distance.
The hike itself is rather short and not difficult per say, although the hike is pretty much all upward hills on dry dirt trails that get slippery and muddy in the rain. Luckily, the sky was blue without a cloud in site, so slippery mud wasn’t an issue. In terms of finding the Lanikai Pillbox trail marker, use the Mid Pacific Country Club on Kaelepulu Drive as a marker. Right across the street from the main gates of the Country Club is a trail marker pointing up the trail. Note that most of the surrounding area is private property, so be careful where you park and take any trash you bring out with you. Sorry, no public restrooms, water fountains, or trash cans, so come prepared!
In a matter of minutes after beginning the hike, the sweeping views of Lanikai beach and Kailua, as well as the majestic Ko’olau Mountain Range. You needn’t hike all the way to the pillboxes (there are 3 in total) to enjoy a grand postcard view, but if you’re going you might as well. So next time you’re on Oahu, forgo Diamond Head and head over to Lanikai Pillboxes!