Puu O Hulu Kai Trail / Maili Pink Pillbox Hike

5 stars from 2 reviews
Address Kaukama Rd, Waianae, HI
Short ridge hike with amazing, elevated views of the Waianae Coast.

Features
• General: Cost: Free • General: Photo Opportunity
• Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Length: 1-2 Miles
• Hiking: Level: Moderate • Hiking: Major Elevation Changes
• Hiking: Out & Back Trail • Hiking: Ridge Hike
• Sightseeing: Great Views

Matt Anderson's Take
The Pu'u O Hulu Kai Trail, which is also known as the Maile Pink Pillbox Hike, is a 1.6 mile long, out and back style hiking trail in the Waianae area of O'ahu. Reach the top and you'll be treated to some of the best views on the west side of the island.


The trailhead begins at the 9th light pole on Kaukama Road, see our map/directions page for exact location. On weekends, you're likely to see a few cars parked beside it.


Make sure you're prepared for this one. It's completely exposed and probably not something you'll want to do in the middle of a hot, summer day. Bring plenty of water and apply sunscreen to Protect Yourself From Sunburn & Skin Cancer. Don't forget to read Hiking Safety & Essentials before you head out as well. If you go early, you'll avoid sun exposure as the mountain will provide shade on the trail.


The Puu O Hulu is actually a small ridge that sits between the Nanakuli and Maili areas. Since this is a ridge hike, there are some narrows areas which means this hike may not be the best for smaller kids.


There is also an elevation gain of around 680 feet over the short trail which means it can be a bit of a leg burner for some. Beyond those minor challenges, this hike is generally considered to be easy for more hikers.


The hike traverses a ridge on the Maili side of the mountain with a moderate slope. It's moderately steep in a few sections, but the path is well maintained and easy to follow. It's a 3/4 mile trip to the first bunker and can be reached in about a half hour.


The views of Maili are great the entire way up. Once you reach the summit, you'll see the first of 5 pillboxes. Each one is decorated with colorful graffiti as well as colorful language. You can help but wonder what it must have been like during WWII sitting in these bunkers looking for enemy ships and aircraft. The pillboxes are sturdy and intact. Unfortunately, there is the smell of urine and some garbage left inside.


The story of the pink pillbox is an inspiring one. A hiker put 8 prayer boxes near the pillboxes in October 2014. When he later went back to check on them, there were many prayer requests for family and friends coping with cancer or struggling with the loss of loved one.


The hiker was inspired by this to raise awareness for cancer research. A hike was organized called the 1st Annual Maili Pillbox Hike for Cancer Awareness.


Subsequently, one of the bunkers was painted pink as a sign of strength, hope, and faith. It was met with a few local negative posts on social media but was eventually met with overwhelming support. The wall now has nearly 250 names of cancer fighters and survivors.


When you reach the top you'll be treated with some amazing views. On a clear day, you can see Kaena Point which is home to the Ka'ena Point Bird Sanctuary, the Ka'ena Point Trail - West Shore, and the amazing Keawa'ula Beach (Yokohama Beach). You can also get incredible views of Mount Kaala and even Kapolei which is home to the Ko Olina Resort.
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Matt Anderson
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chantel
Joined: Mar 2016
Reviews: 426
Likes Received: 12
Puu o hulu Kai trail / Maile pink pillbox hike is amazing! Love hiking here. My favourite but make sure you bring water and wear the right shoes. The views are to die for with great photo opportunities. Make sure you do this hike it's a must! I will definitely be back.
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Tom T
Joined: Sep 2013
Reviews: 579
Likes Received: 33
Love this hike and look forward to doing it again. It's relatively easy, and the views are phenomenal. When I have friends visit from the mainland, I'm going to take them on this one.
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