The pillboxes in Lanikai are really easy to hike with friends. It’s a pretty popular hike and almost every local has done this at least once, if not multiple times. The pillboxes offer really great photo-ops with Lanikai Beach in the background.
Trailhead & Parking
The hike is located in Kailua. The trailhead is along Kaelepulu Dr. It’s very apparent because there’s a sign and you’ll see a lot of other people going up and down. Parking is not allowed in front of the Mid Pacific Country Club and you’ll have to find parking in Lanikai. The Lanikai area is known for being very packed on the weekends and so finding a spot can be difficult. Also on the weekends (during the summer months especially,) police are very adamant with assigning parking tickets so make sure you’re not parked in a bike lane or facing the wrong direction. Parking tickets are a bothersome. If you have a friend that lives in the Kailua or Lanikai area, it would definitely be helpful if you could park at their house and walk to the trailhead.
The hike begins with a steep ascent, this only takes 15-20 minutes if you maintain a steady pace. Once you’re up on the ridge the trail is very apparent and you can just follow it all the way along. You’ll There is a steady incline for the rest of the hike as you head towards the pillboxes. I think there are 2 or 3 pillboxes along the trail. The hike ends at the last pillbox but you really don’t have to go all the way down to the last pillbox to see views. The views and photo-ops start at the 1st pillbox. This is where everyone takes those Instagram pictures with Lanikai Beach in the background. The ocean is so blue here it’s absolutely gorgeous. If you choose to do a jumping shot you’ll have the perfect landscaping for it because the bright blue ocean is in the back. It really is beautiful. A gopro might also come in hand (a gopro is handy for doing anything in Hawaii,) for taking some cool pictures here. The hike doesn’t have any severe rock climbing involved, so this is a very easy hike. If anything it just gets a little hot if you choose to do the hike around high noon because the ridge is fully exposed. There’s little to no shade along the trail.
This hike is most definitely dog and kid-friendly. A lot of my friends enjoy doing this hike in the morning because of the incredible view of the sunrise you’ll get, especially since the hike is on the East side. My favorite part of this hike is its proximity to Lanikai Beach. My favorite combo is hiking + beaching and in this case the hike is so close to the beach you can just walk there in 15 minutes! This hike is also very easy so it’s perfect for newbie hikers who aren’t that skilled in doing long treks.