Closing of Popular Lanikai Pillbox Hike Delayed Until Further Notice

The state asks for public input as it works to repair the old concrete observation stations on the trail, commonly known as “pillboxes.”

[Editor’s Note: As of Mar. 30, 2018, the state has postponed the closing of the popular Lanikai Ka‘iwa Ridge hiking trail for repairs until further notice, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Spokeswoman Deborah Ward says the trail remains open at this time but there will be limited parking in the Lanikai area due to the three-day holiday weekend. She says the delay was caused by logistical issues for the contractor, which has been working with the Federal Aviation Administration on a flight plan to airlift equipment and materials to the ridge-top project site. The contractor hopes to obtain FAA approval for the helicopter airlift within the next few weeks, Ward said, and then announce the new closing dates.]


Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Photo: Lennie Omalza


Kailua’s Ka‘iwa Ridge will close to hikers for at least two months beginning March 28 as a contractor hired by the state works to repair the old concrete observation stations on the trail, commonly known as “pillboxes.”


The ridge above Lanikai offers stunning views of O‘ahu’s Windward Coast, from Waimānalo to Mokoli‘i Island as well as the Mokulua islands. The moderate hike has become increasingly popular, partly because of the breathtaking views shared on social media as well as former President Barack Obama making it a favorite family vacation stop.


“But now with widespread advertising on travel websites and social media the trail is experiencing the same problems as many other O‘ahu hiking trails; it is being loved to death,” according to the statement from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.


Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Photo: Enjy El-Kadi


State officials says the project, by Tokunaga Masonry Inc. will cost $248,228. The project includes concrete repair, removal and replacement of rusted steel roof supports and roof sealant to slow weathering of the structures.


The state hired planning consultant PBR to develop a master plan for the popular trail. The firm is in the information gathering phase, and seeking input from the public in a survey to give the Na Ala Hele program insight to develop the best possible plan of action for trail improvements. To tell the state what you think, click here


Military historians say the concrete structures were built in 1943, armed with high-powered telescopes to survey possible enemy ships.


For alternate hikes, check out:

  • O‘ahu Hike We Like: Maunawili Trail

  • O‘ahu Hike We Like: Ehukai Pillbox