Kaiwa Ridge (Lanikai Pillbox) Trail

HARD 926 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Kaiwa Ridge (Lanikai Pillbox) Trail is a 2.9 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
2.9 km
ELEVATION GAIN
198 m
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

Great short rocky steep hike along the Ka'iwa Ridge offers great views of Lanikai and Kailua. Near Waimanalo Beach - wonderful white sand and calm water, Lanikai and Kailua Beaches The Kaiwa Ridge Hike is great to go either sunrise or late afternoon short 0.6 mile each way but gains 500 ft so is steep in places with great views along the way - It takes about 30 minutes or less to hike from the trailhead to the top (second) pillbox (elev. 565-ft). Its another 10 minutes to reach the ridge's highest point (elev. 603-ft) marked by a geodetic marker (the small concrete platform with broken surveyor's pole). The "official" trailhead, unmarked, is about 40 feet uphill on a paved, private driveway along Kaelepulu Drive. The driveway is opposite of the Mid Pacific Country Club & Golf Course just before you reach an exclusive, gated community. The first part of the trail is very steep, slippery, and can be confusing. This trail is undeveloped. The trail is rocky, windy and rewards you with a great view on top of the pillboxes. No guardrails so can be dangerous for young children. Also the trail is very poplular and can be crowded.

hiking
6 hours ago

Awesome views

Awesome views from the top. Incredible view of the Lanikai beach which is probably the most beautiful beach in the world. Be careful on your way back because there are spots that are slippery.

hiking
no shade
5 days ago

I love this trail! I have done it a few times now. It’s quick, but steep in some areas. There is usually a lot of people on the trail. Always really pretty to catch sunrise. Definitely try to get there earlier than later as parking can be a pain in the area. As for any trails on the island, make sure you bring plenty of water!

hiking
no shade
10 days ago

Easy hike but NO SHADE and SUPER HOT, and all up hill! Dogs DIE on this trail so often that there are warning signs posted on the local vet bulletin boards. Even with plenty of water, dogs die of dehydration. Beautiful views at the top of the pillboxes, and a very popular trail simply because it is so physically easy and so short, but really a waste of time if you ask me. The hike itself is not much fun, only the views at the end; but with so many awesome hikes with comparable views all over the island, this one is simply not worth it.

hiking
no shade
rocky
19 days ago

Short but beautiful! Don’t go after rain as it’s really muddy/ wear good shoes, it’s a little tricky descending-Great photo ops!!!

Fun hike up to the second pill box. Could’ve gone longer but wanted to use up the rest of the day on more exploring. Great views of the bay and the little islands.

hiking
no shade
20 days ago

26 days ago

Loved this hike ! would rate it moderate. saw many people doing it with babys strapped to them and some young children and a few dogs. Very steep climb at the start for the first few minutes. We went to the 2nd Pillbox, definitely worth the view. it was amazing ! We went at 9am and it wasnt super busy. As we were leaving there were so many people trying to take pictures all close together of the view. so I would say go before 10am. I would imagine this hike to be fairly rough on bad knees. We were fine without any water. Nice place to sit up at the top and eat a snack while enjoying the views . I would do this hike again and will reccomend it to any of my friends and family heading to Hawaii.

hiking
rocky
27 days ago

Short, sweet and steep. Went up this morning to catch the sunrise. Amazing experience. If you’re in Oahu, this needs to be on your list at some point. Any time of day will do, but sunrise can’t be beat.

Quite steep. Wear proper shoes with grip. Absolutely astonishing views!

hiking
no shade
rocky
29 days ago

Breathtaking view of the sunrise! Go early! After sunrise, on the way down, trail was super crowded. About 30 minutes up!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

1 month ago

I don't know if I'd do it again. I might from a different trailhead. We started in a neighborhood by a private gated community. The climb up was okay, but down was rough. I would not classify that as moderate. Once on the ridge, the views were spectacular. The wildlife was a little obnoxious (aka people and families). There were a lot of folks on the ridge, the weird side we scrambled up was chill with very few people running.

hiking
muddy
no shade
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Went to the 4-5 pillbox. So awesome although getting back was rough.

1 month ago

We started this hike before sunrise. there were already swarms of people who had the same idea. This hike is steep and hard (1st trimester could have played a part in my struggle). it's definitely a good but quick workout. the views from the top are stunning. unfortunately the large groups of people, people playing loud music and wannabe Instagram models posing kind of took away from the beauty at the top. it's hard to ignore when there are so many people. I just personally prefer hikes were you feel like you're the only one there. If you do this hike, just pack your patience.

no shade
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hot, crowded, and a bit of a scramble but short and great views at the top

hiking
1 month ago

Went up for sunrise, spectacular

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

We really loved this hike. It is a very popular hike, so arrive early. It is steep, lots of rocks to navigate. Loose ground and rocks can make it slippery, so wear good shoes. I wore hiking shoes and had no problem. The views are beautiful.

1 month ago

beautiful majestic views not obtainable anywhere else but not an easy hike! Very steep, climbing rocks most of the way. there are ropes near the bottom you can use to pull yourself up. I'm fit but not an experienced hiker and felt like you need to be part Billy goat to be comfortable on this trail. don't go when it is wet as it was hard enough in dry conditions.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Great views!

hiking
no shade
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

It's a pretty decent hike. There are plenty rocky and steep spots. Our 5-year old faired pretty well, with help from us. The view from the top is worth the climb.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

Today was perfect, dry and cool ocean breeze. Watched the rain on the south and west. Initial trail can be muddy if wet the rest of trail is mostly rocky to the 2 pillboxes. Ropes are there to pull yourself if too slippery when wet. Good foot ware is recommended for grip and balance. 360 view at the pillboxes. Kailua bay on the north and Waimanalo bay on the south, aquamarine colour waters of Lanakai. A short little effort for the magnificient western shoreline view.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

The views at the top are incredible. I would recommend hiking shoes or something that has good traction. It’s pretty slippery. The ropes along the way are super helpful as you travel along the path to help you keep your balance. I think the best part of the hike is that you have gorgeous views of the water almost the whole time.

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