Pillbox reverse traverse

This hike in Lanikai is heavily traveled from the usual trailhead by the Mid Pacific Country club on Kaelepulu Dr. Today we did the trail in reverse, starting at the south end of the Lanikai loop and coming back to the golf course trailhead. It was good to get that long walk on the road out of the way early. The hike up the steep trail at the south end of Lanikai was difficult going up, but not as bad as it was coming down on previous hikes.

We were at the top in 30 minutes, 45 min total from the trailhead. From there to the third bunker it took 40 minutes, carrying Sam. From the third bunker we walked (Sam on his own) to the first pillbox in 1 hr. Total hiking time with a toddler on board half the time and walking half the time is 2.5-3 hrs, 4 if you want a leisurely pace and lunch stop (which we did today). Estimated mileage is 4 mi, total elevation gain is around 1000′ (including the ups and downs along the ridge). Trailhead directions are below.

We will map this on our GPS and post the elevation profile as soon as we can.

Trailheads and routes

The usual: Kaelepulu Dr in Lanikai (from Aalapapa, go right (mauka) and park on the side of the road. The trailhead is up a little hill to your left just before the gated condo community (Bluestone). It’s a relatively steep start but there are a few level spots to catch your breath and a nice view. The trail to the first pillbox is about 1/2mi and 500′ elevation gain. The second bunker is about .25 mi from the first and no net elevation gain (quick dip into a col then back up to the bunker). The third bunker is about another 1/2 mile from the second and just a few ups and downs to get there. Total roundtrip hiking time for the average hiker to go to the third bunker and back is about 1.5 hrs, longer if you stop to enjoy the view.

The less-traveled: Luika Pl just off Po’opo’o at the south end of Lanikai. You will see a small trail near a dumpster. It heads straight up through the trees. Beware of a steep incline with loose rocks and dirt. Approximately 500′ elevation gain straight up. Nice panorama at the exposed “summit” with views to Waimanalo and the Marine Corps base. Continue on mauka (to your right) on the ridge trail to the bunkers described above. There are a couple little offshoot trails down into Keolu hills, but the main trail is obvious. It can get a little overgrown so beware of prickly branches at about eye-level, especially if you’re carrying a little one. I keep sunglasses on Sam to help protect him. A canopy on the child carrier will help shield the child as well.

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