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The Stunning Ehukai Pillbox Hike on Oahu

ehukai pillbox hike

Oahu, Hawaii has got tons of gorgeous hikes – some with waterfalls, some with a little bit of history, some that are a straight up work out, and some with stunning views.  Oahu’s Ehukai pillbox hike definitely falls under the “stunning views” category, and it should not missed.

What Exactly Is a Pillbox?

So I suppose the Ehukai pillbox hike could also fall under the “little bit of history” hike category as well.  Oahu’s pillboxes were built for the U.S. military during World War II (you know, we had to step up our defenses after the Pearl Harbor bombing on December 7, 1941).  The military used these little concrete rooms keep an eye out for approaching enemies. (In other locations, pillboxes are used as a line of defense, but the ones on Oahu were never used for that purpose.)

Now, onto the hike.

Where is the Ehukai Pillbox Hike?

Ehukai Pillbox is quite the hidden hike, tucked away behind Sunset Beach Elementary School on the North Shore of Oahu. (You can add this hike as a stop to the Ultimate North Shore Day Trip!) As for parking, there are a few stalls near the entrance of the trailhead for a park right next to Sunset Beach Elementary School. The entrance of the hike is right behind those parked cars. 

What’s the Experience Like?

Considering how few hikers we came across on our journey, the path was pretty clearly marked.  When in doubt though, choose the path closer to the ocean. It was a bit muddy, but there are some hiker-made steps to help you along the relatively steep incline.

About halfway up, you’ll reach a single picnic bench with small painted handprints all over it (probably from some of the children from the nearby elementary school).  Overall, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as other hikes on the island, particularly the Kokohead Hike.

And the Result…

You can make it to the first graffiti-covered pillbox in 45 minutes (roundtrip, the journey is a little over an hour).  From there, you can see a stunning view of Sunset Beach on the North Shore (as pictured at the top of the post).

Plus, There’s a Secret Bonus!

There is a second pillbox further down the trail, which, rumor has it, has a better view.  However, you do have to trespass on private property for that and the trail is much more unclear.

 

Have you ever done the Ehukai Pillbox Hike before?  Tell me about your experience in the comments!

 

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The Stunning Ehukai Pillbox Hike on Oahu #hawaii #oahu #hawaiihike #hike #ehukaipillbox

86 Comments The Stunning Ehukai Pillbox Hike on Oahu

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Of course! And I’m all about hikes with a rewarding view! I’m thinking about posting a few more of those soon, so keep an eye out!

  1. Nerissa

    Ohhhhhh this hike sounds amazing! And not a long one either, which is ideal for me, because I love to pack a lot into my days when I travel, exploring areas as much as I can. I’d be hesitant to trespass onto private property for the second pillbox but that’s just me, I’m sure others out there would be game!

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Me too!! I like my hikes to be less than two hours lol (any longer, and I’m so tired). Lucky for me, most Hawaii hikes are nice and short.

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      You could definitely do this in tennis shoes! As a matter of fact, you can pretty much do any Hawaii hike in tennis shoes (I’ve never owned a pair of real hiking boots, if that helps put it in perspective.)

  2. josypheen

    Oooh I didn’t know there were pillboxes all over the world!!

    Last year we did a long distance hike through Kent in the UK, there are thousands of these historical pill boxes lining the hills in England too We explored quite a few of them (they are mostly full of graffiti and smell like wee)

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      LOL all of ours are full of graffiti too, but if you know where to look, you can find ones that don’t smell bad.

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      I actually got so distracted by the view that I forgot to take any more pictures lol! I do plan on hiking this again sometime in the future, so perhaps I’ll remember to take more pictures then :).

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      I lived here for 21 years before I had even heard of it!! But then I did it like two weeks later lol. I’m all about finding new hikes :).

  3. Angie

    Since I LOVE Hawaii 🌺 I loved reading about it- I did hear about the pillboxes before. Most of my time in Hawaii was spent with dolphins in the water though 🙂

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Wow I’m so surprised that you’ve heard about this pillboxes! Most people have heard of Lanikai Pillbox, but not Ehukai Pillbox. But yeah, I definitely see the appeal of the ocean too :).

  4. adventureswithnienie

    I love short hikes like this! I don’t like to do long hikes while traveling because there is so much to explore. But a hike like this is the best, it’s short and has a beautiful view. I will definitely be adding this to my bucket list.

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Yay! So glad I could add something to your bucket list! And that’s exactly the kind of hike I like too!

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      If you ever do make it over, take a snoop around my blog. I’ve added a lot of local tips over the past couple of years.

  5. Marya

    Everytime I stumbled upon some post on Oahu, they always look so fascinating… That kinda makes me really want to visit it someday. The best thing is that they look so serene and it doesn’t seem so crowded. I think it’s suitable for someone like me who tends to enjoy more quiet place. Thank you for sharing! 😀

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Oahu does have a ton of things to see! As for the people, you do have to know how to avoid them, because certain areas like Waikiki Beach, Hanauma Bay, and basically every well-known tourist attraction has a lot of people. But this hike is definitely not crowded at all :).

  6. Bailey Mills

    This hike looks amazing! There is a hike I have been looking to try on Honolulu (I can’t recall the name right now for the life of me) but this one might be worth also checking out while I am there! Thanks for the read!

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Ooh perhaps Kokohead, Lanikai Pillbox, or Stairway to Heaven? Those tend to be quite popular for visitors. And yes, this one is also definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re already on the North Shore.

  7. travelingpari

    Sounds like a good hike. I would love to visit Oahu one day. The view looks amazing. I wish there were more pictures of the hiking trail itself.

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      I actually got so excited about the view that I forgot to take pictures!! But I plan on doing this hike again one day, so I’ll definitely add more pictures once I do.

  8. Marilyn

    I love hiking and knowing all the secret places to do so in gorgeous places, so this post was perfect for me! Whenever I do make it to Oahu, I will definitely go here!

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Yay! So glad you felt inspired! If you’re all about the secrets of Oahu, snoop around the Hawaii section of blog a bit more to find a couple ;).

  9. alison netzer

    We loved doing the pillbox hike when my husband and I went about a year ago. The views are so stunning. I love Hawaii, can’t wait to get back

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Ooh did you do Lanikai Pillbox (closer to Waikiki) or Ehukai Pillbox (on the North Shore)? If you did do Ehukai Pillbox, I would be super curious to know how you found out about it.

  10. Ada

    Oh man I remember my hike to Pillbox! I am definetly not in shape and after 5 min I was like what the hell am I doing here 😀 but then after first viewpoint I knew i have to make it till end! It was one of the best views I’ve ever seen in my life! So worth the exercise 🙂 lovely post !

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Hehe that sounds more like Lanikai Pillbox, but I relate!! My first time doing that hike I was like aw man, I want to see the top, but I need a break, but the rest of my group is still going so I gotta go too lol.

  11. Louise

    Perfect timing for me to read this post! We are headed to Oahu in a week and I’ve been trying to figure out which hike(s) to do! This one has been recommended to me already and looks so cool! Thanks for sharing your tips 🙂 I’ve read a few of your other posts too! 🙂

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      So glad my tips are helping!! It’s good to know that they are helping people make the most of their Hawaii adventures :).

  12. Rashmi and Chalukya

    Nature and History are two major draws for us to add any destination to our bucket list. We have heard a lot about Oahu and its stunning landscapes. Ehukai pillbox will definitely be on our list whenever we plan a visit.

  13. Alexander Popkov

    It opens a lovely view! would like to get to this hike with my camera. Interesting to know that it has some military history.

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      I didn’t know about it for the longest time either! I guess you’ll just have to make another trip back one day to do it :).

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Definitely not! They might need a tad bit of help, but it’s totally doable (they have so much energy to use anyways).

  14. Tiffany Petersen

    HIking ot new places is one of my favorite things to do!! I will have to makethis hike someday when I get there!

    1. Borders & Bucket Lists

      Until reading these comments, I didn’t know that there were visitable pillboxes anywhere else besides Hawaii!

  15. FS Page

    I love trekking and hiking especially to peaks that give spectacular view of the landscape below. Ehukai seems to be like one of them. Thanks for sharing. Great pics.

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