Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lanikai Bunkers/Pillboxes Hike

The short hike up to the pillboxes (also known as Lanikai bunkers) on Ka'iwa Ridge offers one of the most breathtaking views of the windward coast of Oahu. The first part of the hike is steep and very slippery due to the dry dusty ground. There is nothing to hold onto other than tall grass and a few bushes, so wear hiking shoes or be prepared to end up on your bum a couple of times on your way down. There is no shade on this hike - that is, until you reach the pillboxes, of course. Go early or wear lots of sunscreen and a hat (but hold on to it once you get to the ridge).

The two pillboxes were built by the military during World War II. Even before you get to the first pillbox, the view of Kailua Bay and the Mokulua Islands off Lanikai, is amazing. Once you reach the second pillbox, you can see all the way to Chinaman's Hat. We hiked up on an overcast day, but even then the view was stunning.

The trailhead is opposite Mid-Pacific Country Club on Kaelepulu Drive (off of Mokulua Drive in Lanikai). About 65 yards beyond the MPCC entrance is Blue Stone, a gated townhouse complex. On the left of Kaelepulu, just before the turnaround circle fronting the Blue Stone, a private driveway ascends the hillside. At the point where the driveway veers left, a trail that initially follows a fence leads to the top of Ka'iwa ridge. The trailhead is located in a residential area, so please be respectful of the residents.

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