Pink Pillbox Hike In Oahu Hawaii: Maili Pillbox (Puu O Hulu)
The pink pillbox hike is a fun family trek in Oahu Hawaii, also known as the Maili pillbox hike or ‘Puu O Hulu.’ Even though the Maili point hike isn’t quite as famous as the Lanikai pillbox hike, the views are arguably just as impressive!
This ridge hike is located on the west side of Oahu island, near the town of Waianae, and it ends with awesome views of the nearby beaches, highway, and suburbs from above. It’s a relatively short and family friendly hike, but there’s plenty of challenge too.
As you might guess from the name, there are a handful of old military bunkers (‘pillboxes’) at the top of this trail where you can sit and relax while taking in the seaside views, including a painted pink pill box. It’s definitely one of the best hikes in Oahu!
This guide will explain how to get to the pink pillbox hike in Maili, along with other information like trail distance, cost, parking, safety, sunset tips, and everything else you need to know before you go!
Where To Stay In Oahu
- Distance: 1.2 miles (2 km) round trip
- Elevation Gain: 500 feet (150 m)
- Duration: 1 – 1.5 hours round trip
- Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
Pink Pillbox Hike (Maili Pillbox): What To Expect
The pink pillbox hike isn’t quite as busy as the Lanikai pillbox hike, but it’s still becoming pretty popular, so you’ll likely share the trail with plenty of other hikers.
It’s a fun trail with a pretty mild set of dirt switchbacks all the way to the top of the mountain and the pink pill box. Pets and kids can do it, and the main challenge is just the mid-day heat.
There’s no shade on this hike except inside the pillboxes, so it’s a good idea to bring a hat, sunscreen, and water. You’ll also want shoes because the gravel can be a bit slippery, especially on the way back down.
Partway up the mountain, you’ll come to an unmarked fork in the trail. If you stay left at the fork, the path will be relatively flat and mild switchbacks all the way to the top. If you turn right, it’s a steep climb with a metal cable to grab.
If at any point during this hike you see a metal cable or a steep and scary incline, then you’ll know you took a wrong turn! We’ve taken the steep route before by accident, and it’s definitely more challenging. Most hikers will prefer the flatter and easier route.
When you get near the top of the ridge, you’ll come across your first two concrete pillboxes. These military bunkers served as lookout posts during World War II, and you can still walk inside them today!
The paint and graffiti covered pillboxes on the Maili point hike have amazing views of the coastline and ocean at Waianae. There are slit windows inside the bunkers, so you can look out of them while hiding from the sun for a bit.
We saw whales jumping and spouting in the distance, and a pair of whales even swam close enough to shore we could see their outline clearly in the shallow water!
Whale sightings aren’t guaranteed at the Maili pillbox hike, of course. If you’re wanting to see humpback whales off the coast of the Oahu, the best months are generally from December to May.
After the first two pillboxes, keep going a little bit farther and you’ll reach the third pillbox, which is painted pink for breast cancer awareness.
In my opinion, this pink pillbox is the best photo spot on the whole hike. You feel like you’re on top of the island.
You can go inside the bunker or climb on top of the roof, although the footing is a bit more difficult than the first two pillboxes, so be careful if you decide to go up.
The inside is painted bright pink just like the outside.
Once you reach the top of the mountain, you can keep walking along the ridge to two more pillboxes (which are stacked on top of each other). This little bit of ridge hiking is worth it for the extra views.
Be careful at the top of the ridge, because the path has one or two sections that are fairly narrow with steep drop-offs on either side. Walk, don’t run. A girl fell and died here in 2021, so it’s something to take seriously.
Overall, the pink pillbox hike is one of our favorites in Oahu, and you get amazing views of the west side without too much effort.
As always, please remember to keep the trail clean, be considerate of other hikers, and leave no trace. Thanks and happy travels!
Distance / Elevation Gain To Maili Pillbox
The one way distance to the Maili pillboxes is 0.6 miles (1 km), and the elevation gain is about 500 feet (150 m).
That means this trail is a little bit longer and harder than the super popular Lanikai pillbox hike in Kailua, but not by much.
The entrance and parking for the Maili point hike are FREE at the time of writing. You don’t have to pay anything.
I’ll update this guide if it changes!
Where To Park — Pink Pillbox Hike
The pink pillbox hike starts from Kaukama Road, which is the road directly below the mountain.
You can park on either side of this road without any issue, but remember to lock your vehicle and bring any valuables with you, otherwise your windows may be smashed when you get back.
Sometimes there’s also a local food truck parked here selling cold drinks, so that can be handy after the hike.
How To Get There: Pink Pillbox Hike Directions
The pink pillbox hike is located in Maili, on the west side of Oahu island.
It’s about 30 miles from Honolulu or Waikiki, and the drive takes about 1 hour.
The pin on the map below is the correct location for the start of the hike. From there, just follow the main path up the ridge!
Best Time To Do Maili Pillbox Hike
I would try to avoid doing the Maili pillbox hike in the middle of the day, because the heat is bad and there’s no shade at all. It makes it unpleasant and harder. Morning and evening are both good times to do the hike, but any time early in the day is best.
Since the Maili pillbox is located on the west side of Oahu, it should also be a great spot for sunset, although I haven’t done this hike for sunset myself. Remember to bring a headlight if you go for sunset so you can find your way back down safely in the dark!
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Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for the pink pillbox hike in Oahu, Hawaii (also known as the Maili pillbox hike or Puu O Hulu).
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