Hike of the Week: Ka'iwa Ridge, HI

Beat the crowds by getting to this Oahu favorite extra early.

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Trail Facts

  • Distance: 1.6 miles (out and back)
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: 2 out of 5


The “pillboxes” on Hawaii’s Ka’iwa Ridge were once home to powerful military observation equipment during World War II. Today, the soldiers are long gone, replaced by the hikers that come to see these concrete boxes high above Oahu’s turquoise coastal waters. Beat the crowds by arriving before sunrise—the reward will be worth it. 

From the trailhead (21.3901, -157.7190), climb 300 feet over .3 mile to the first pillbox, then another 150 feet to the second, .1 mile later. Keep going where most tourists stop, following the ridge for another .4 mile to the area’s highpoint. From the top, watch the first rays of golden light peek out over the Pacific, then head back the way you came to complete the 1.6-mile out-and-back.

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