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3. Lanikai Pillbox Trail

Sunset on the Lanikai Pillbox Hike on Oahu
One of my favorite sights–the sun peeking over the horizon as I stand on top of a Lanikai pillbox. Photo by Nandor Szotak

The Lanikai Pillbox Hike has earned its reputation as one of the most popular and impressive hikes on Oahu for good reason. Stretching up the mountains and ridges of the island’s windward side, this short and steep trail rewards hikers with expansive views of wandering beaches and broad bays.

The hike starts at the end of a residential street. About a quarter mile in, along a relatively steep trail, you get to the first pillbox—a block-shaped fort used as a military guard post. There are a handful around Oahu and I love the bird’s-eye views they offer. Once you head along the Ka’iwa Ridge, you’ll find gorgeous views of the Hawaiian waters. I’m always enchanted by the music of the crashing waves and whistling winds.

You can easily go up, enjoy the scenery, then head back to the beach or into Kailua for a nice dinner or swim. Kailua used to be a quiet town on the edge of Hawaii, but in recent years it’s transformed into a bustling beach town whose beaches appear on the front pages of travel magazines. There’s also a vibrant restaurant scene to fill the bellies of avid adventurers.

About the author
Nandor Szotak
Hawaii hiking guide and founder of Hungaro Explorer

Nandor is an avid hiker on Oahu and owner of Hungaro Explorer. Hawaii has been home for many years and in that time he has volunteered in a Hawaiian trail and mountain club, volunteered as search and rescue, and has helped with local trail maintenance. Whenever he is in nature, Nandor's first priority is respecting the land he is on and the people who lived there long before him.

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