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On Walkabout On: The Piti Guns Trail, Guam

Basic Information

  • What: Piti Guns Trail
  • Where: Guam, USA
  • Distance: .5 miles round-trip
  • Elevation Gain: 50 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • More Information: National Park Service website

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

Narrative

Another area I decided to check out as part of my tour of World War II sites on Guam was the Piti Guns Trail. This trail is another part of the War in the Pacific National Historical Park.  This trail leads to three coastal guns that were left by the Imperial Japanese military after the island of was liberated by the US military in July 1944.  Getting to the trailhead is not too hard, but finding it is not very obvious at first. The trailhead for this hike is located behind the Our Lady of Assumption Church in the village of Piti:

Piti is located just before reaching Naval Base Guam on Marine Corps Drive.  Make the turn on to Route 6 at the Veteran’s Cemetery and then make an immediate left turn on to Assumption Drive to access the road to the church.

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

Across the street from the church there is a small park which is where I parked my car at.  From there I began to walk around the church to see if I could find the trailhead.  There are no signs directing visitors where to go so I just trusted the directions in my park brochure and sure enough I found the trailhead behind the church:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

At the trailhead a set of stairs and a signboard can be seen:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

Here is a picture of the signboard at the start of the trailhead:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

The Imperial Japanese had completely fortified the island with guns like the ones in Piti.  On all of Guam the Piti Guns site is the only area where Japanese guns still remain in the position they were found after liberation of the island. Ironically despite being the only remaining guns they were actually never fired during the battle.  The Japanese were in the process of hauling the new guns up the hill to be installed by Chamorro slave laborers, but the invasion happened before they could complete their work.  So instead they just left the guns where they are currently at and the National Park Service has cared for them ever since.  The start of the trail begins with a steep ascent up this staircase:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

What is interesting about this forest that the trail passes through a mahogany forest which is a non-native species to Guam.  It was planted in the 1920s as part of an experimental station on the island.  Though the hike through this forest is some what steep it is actually quote easy due to it being only a 1/4 of a mile long.  Here is a picture of the first gun I reached on the trail which was in better shape than I was expecting:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

Next to the first gun was this signboard that explained how these were coastal defense guns for the Imperial Japanese that overlooked Asan Bay:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

Here is a panorama picture I took of the first gun:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

The next gun seen on the trail I found in much worse shape than the other guns:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

Finally I came to the third gun which was in the best shape out of all of them:

Picture from the Piti Guns Trail

It was very easy to imagine guns like these one pointed down on the Marines that landed at Asan Bay back on July 21, 1944.  This helped me further appreciate the difficult fight that the servicemembers that freed Guam all those years ago went through.

Conclusion

Overall the short half-mile round-trip hike was worth taking the time to see these old relics of World War II.  A visit to the War in the Pacific visitor center, Asan Beach, Agat Beach, and the Piti Guns Trail makes for a great day out on Guam and an opportunity to appreciate the World War II history of the island.

Click here to find more hikes at the Guam Regional Trail Finder

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