You’ve probably heard of the famous Lanikai Pillbox Hike on Oahu, but have you heard of the Ehukai Pillbox Hike?
The Ehukai Pillbox Hike, also known as Sunset Pillbox Hike, is a great way to explore the north shore of Oahu.
It’s only 1.5 miles round trip, so it’s perfect for beginners or anyone who wants to get in some exercise without having to spend hours hiking!
You can do this hike at any time of day, but I recommend going early morning or late afternoon when fewer people are on the trail.
This will give you more privacy while exploring one of the most beautiful and easy hikes in Oahu!
If you want to see some fantastic views with minimal effort, then this is the perfect hike for you! Once at the top, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Banzai Pipeline and Oahu’s North Shore.
You might even be able to spot surfers catching waves from up here! And if it’s your first time visiting Hawaii, make sure not to miss out on seeing these incredible sights for yourself.
Ehukai Pillbox Important Information
Distance: 1.5 Miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain: 734ft
Route Type: Trail with Loop
How Long Does it Take: 1-hour round trip
Highlights of the Trail: Views of Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) and Oahu’s North Shore
How to Get to the Ehukai Pillbox
Address: 59-178 Ke Nui Rd, Haleiwa, HI 96815 (map shows trail location & route/directions from Waikiki)
The best way to get to the Ehukai Pillbox is to put the address in your GPS. But in short, here are the directions:
The drive from Waikiki should take about 1 hour to get to the trailhead parking lot.
The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is located on Oahu’s North Shore, right by Sunset Elementary School.
If you are coming from the Waikiki area, you will need to take the H-1 highway West to H-2 Highway, to Kamehameha Highway, also known as Highway 99.
Highway 99 should take you to Haleiwa Town and all the way to the Sunset Elementary School sign. The trail is to the left of the parking lot.
Ehukai Pillbox Parking Information
You can park at the Sunset Beach Neighborhood Parks parking lot or park along the Kamehameha Highway by the roadside.
Be sure to follow proper parking protocols to avoid getting ticketed.
Please do not park at the Sunset Elementary School parking lot. There should be parking available for the hike to the right by the school.
The trail begins across from the parking lot.
Hiking to The First Pillbox
The first part of the trail starts off nice and flat with a steady incline uphill.
Please keep in mind that the trail does get extremely muddy after heavy rainfall, so plan accordingly and wear proper hiking shoes for Hawaii.
There are ropes along the way to help with steep spots. Don’t be afraid to use them, especially if it’s muddy when you’re there.
The first bunker has fantastic ocean views, but the second bunker is even better. Many people turn back after the first bunker and don’t know about the second one, so keep going until you see both of them.
On the trail, you will find picnic tables with ocean views. Here you can enjoy a nice picnic or hike to the pillboxes to enjoy a picnic up there.
See Also: 15 Best Beaches in Oahu You Should Visit
Hiking to the Second Pillbox
To get to the second bunker, you will need to go down and stay to the left for about 5-10 minutes.
If you somehow get lost and are not sure where you are, always make sure to stay close to the ocean. It’s an easy way to avoid confusion and find your way back.
In my opinion, the second pillbox has better views than the first one. The views are breathtaking!
Here you will be greeted with stunning views of Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) and the north shore of Oahu.
Ehukai Pillbox Sunset
The Ehukai Pillbox is one of the best places to watch the sunset on Oahu.
Since it is on the North Shore, you will get amazing views as the sun sets over Ehukai Beach.
Remember to bring a flashlight if you are doing a sunset hike, as it will get dark quickly after the sun goes down. Hiking in the dark can be very dangerous without proper lighting.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the trail and do your research before doing a sunset hike. Make sure to hike back down before it gets too dark.
As always, bring a hiking partner and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
Pillbox Hiking Tips
Get there early: I recommend getting to the trailhead early to avoid the crowds and to beat the afternoon heat.
Bring Enough Water: You will be hiking in direct sunlight, so make sure to stay properly hydrated.
Bring Snacks: It is nice to have snacks during the hike. It will give you energy along your way to the pillboxes.
Bring sunscreen: The hike will take you on a direct route facing the sun for most of it. Make sure to wear sunscreen or bring a snorkeling rashguard.
Bring a flashlight: as I mentioned before, make sure to bring a flashlight in case it gets too dark after the sun sets. It is extremely dangerous hiking down without proper lighting.
Wear proper shoes: You will be hiking across slippery terrain for most of the trail, so make sure you wear appropriate shoes.
Wear a hat: Again, you will be hiking most of the trail facing direct sunlight. You will want to make sure that you protect your head from the sun.
Bring Mosquito Repellent: The Ehukai Pillbox Hike can have lots of bugs at times, so bug repellent might not be a bad idea.
Do not litter: It is important that you pack out what you bring in and respect the environment. This is a delicate ecosystem and there are endangered species of plants on this mountain.
What Other Hikes are Similar to The Ehukai Pillbox Hike?
In a nutshell, here are some of our favorite easy hikes on the island:
- Lanikai Pillbox Hike: This hike is on the windward side of Oahu, but it is similar in terms of views. It’s way more popular than the Ehukai Trail, and it can get pretty crowded. The Lanikai Pillbox Hike will give you amazing views of Lanikai Beach, the Mokolua Mountains, the east side of Oahu, and Kailua Beach.
- Makapu’u Lighthouse: This hike offers fantastic views of Oahu’s southeastern coastline. You will be rewarded with views of Koko Head and Koko Crater, and the windward coast. If you are lucky, you might even see Molokai and Lanai on a clear day.
- Diamond Head: This hike offers stunning views of Waikiki and the South Shore. It is an iconic tourist attraction and one of the most popular hikes on Oahu.
What Else Is There to Do in the Area?
There is so much to do on the north shore of Oahu. Below are a few of our favorite things to do while on Oahu.
- Go to Ehukai Beach: After you finish hiking to the pillbox, I recommend going down to Ehukai Beach. It’s a beautiful white sand beach, and it is popular for surfing in the winter months. You will see the world’s best surfers take on Banzai Pipeline, one of the most famous surfing spots in the world.
- Visit Turtle Bay Resort/Beach: If you are looking for some fun after hiking to the pillbox, I recommend going over to Turtle Bay Resort. There is public parking to access the beach area.
- Check out the North shore Food Trucks: There are so many food trucks, including famous shrimp trucks, in this area. Our personal favorite is the famous Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck.
- Go snorkeling to one of the best snorkeling spots in Oahu: Make sure to visit Shark’s Cove and Kuilima Cove while you are on the North Shore. If you are there during the summer, you can enjoy a nice swim in the ocean to cool off from the hike.
- Get a smoothie at Banzai Bowls: If you are looking for a refreshing post-hike treat, head over to Banzai Bowls. They have bowls made with fresh fruit and all-natural ingredients. They are about a minute’s drive from the Ehukai parking.
- Get some Acai Bowls at the Sunrise Shack: If you are looking for a healthy treat, check out the Sunrise Shack. They have acai bowls and smoothies as well as other healthy snacks.
Ehukai Pillbox Hike: The Wrap Up
The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is a great hike to do with friends and family. It’s not too difficult of a hike, so it’s good for beginners as well. If you are looking for beautiful views, this is the place to go!
This hike will reward you with gorgeous views of Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) and Oahu’s North Shore.
Mahalo for reading our post, and until next time, Aloha!
Happy hiking in Oahu!