Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven, Oahu

The hike up the Stairway to Heaven (see more photos), also known as Haiku Stairs, is one of the most popular of Oahu's "forbidden" trails. In the past, people used to climb up here for the fantastic panoramic views, which await all those who made it to the top. The hike is difficult. First you have to make the 2,120-foot, 3,922-step ascent. But even though the trail is closed today, some avid hikers go anyway because of the spectacular view that awaits from the top.

The stairway was originally built for the U.S. Coast Guard to allow access to the LORAN radio antenna on the top of the mountain. But the later termination of Omega Station operations also led to the cessation of stair maintenance. Because of this, the stairs became terribly worn and dangerous. So the state later officially closed the stairs to the public in 1987.

As of 2003, the Haiku Stairs have been completely repaired, which cost the city $875,000. However, legal access is currently still on hold. Up until today, there is no legal entrance to the Stairway to Heaven/Haiku Stairs. If you attempt to hike here, expect to be turned away or cited by Honolulu Police. Hikers have been parking in the residential area, which is limited and frowned upon by residents.

Stairway to Heaven Overview

  • 2,120 foot long trail, 3,922 steps
  • Also known as Haiku Stairs
  • Up until today the trail is closed to the public

Location: The stairs begin in a forested area about 25 yards south of a point about 200 yards in along the H-3 access road. This restricted-access, gated, asphalt road is below the H-3 Highway.


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Reviews and Comments:
 
I went on the hike about a year ago and it was honestly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Me and a bunch of friends hiked up in the dead of night and got up there in time to watch the sunset. Don't let any of these hippies tell you otherwise. The hike is definitetly worth it. Don't listen to their bull. GO ON THE HIKE. But don't get caught.
John Paul Jones, Sun Jul 06, 2014
 
This should not be an option to anyone who cares for others well being. When something goes wrong HFD , DLNR etc. have to get involved both in the air and on land. They are risking their lives for the stupidity of the human species. These Stairs are closed for a very good reason "SAFETY." If you choose not to heed to this ,then you should be treated like any other person who breaks the law . The guard is there at the cost of the taxpayers , thank you. Another reminder that you are breaking the law........no hope for the LOLO !
pua @ 239, Tue May 20, 2014
 
I hiked up (and down) the "ladder" in late October 1986 with a friend from the mainland who was visiting me. I was a Marine at the time and in really good shape. The climb and descent kicked both our butts, but it was well worth the effort. We had to go into the Coast Guard office and sign a release form in case we killed ourselves falling off the side of the trail. I hope they open it back up for the public to use (I'm 62 now so it won't be me however).
Bill, Tue May 13, 2014
 
Being that the earth is my home, I'll go where ever I please so long as I leave no trace of my presence, all that I've seen here is people wanting eqaulity and peoples traditions left alone, so that being said, in the ancient times man could travel where he pleased at his/hers own risk, so why should that change because somebody puts a fence and a sign up saying "keep out"? I think somebodys gonna have a rude awakening if they try to get hostile over something such has hiking on closed lands, just like the falls, they have always been dangerous, we have little control over when mother nature decides to give way, hopefully your observant enough to recognize when she decides too shed some skin?
Scott, Sun Nov 24, 2013
 
Just leting you know that it is illegal to access this mountain stairway and we will begin seeking arrest and prosecution for anyoneʻs disregard. This is Hawaiian Lands with a school there. All of who come to visit or move to our islands trust me you would have anyone of us natives arrested for trespassing on your property so why do you think that you can just do whatever you please???? This is not your backyrad itʻs our school so have some respect or face a fine.
Pohaku Stone, Thu May 09, 2013
 
Just posting this as a concerned parent....
Yes, the hike is gorgeous, Yes the stairs are still technically "closed" .
Unfortunately the route shown here runs through Dept of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) property and is currently leased to 2 entities, charter school Ke Kula o Samuel M. Kamakau and the Koʻolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club.
So there is still no "legal" access to the stairs. Currently the only legal way to access the trail is on a sanctioned hike with the Friends of Haiku Stairs or by getting to them from the Moanalua side of the Koʻolau. http://haikustairs.org
If you live on the island, or visiting, see if the sanctioned hikes work out.
By the way,if you are going trespass, have some respect for the families taking their kids to school and get off the roadway and not make like you own it.
concerned parent, Thu Apr 11, 2013
 
I climed to the top in 1977 and 1978 awesome hike. on clear days you could see for miles it seemed. I miss the islands so much. was raised on Oahu.
Cassandra Carson, Wed Feb 27, 2013
 
I tries today and got turned away by the guard with the colored hair... we talked to him nicely and he wouldnt let us, we said "even if we go around you" he got pissed and we tried but he yelled that he would call the police so we didnt go. Someone with pink hair shouldnt be so anal about letting people hike. Anyways that was about 6:45-7 am ish. Some were coming down and they said they started at 2 am and he wasn't there. I felt bad for my friends who were only here 1 day and couldnt do this hike. They really need to re-open it. I've done this hike 13 times before and up until 2007 the guard only hung out on the street where people park so it was easy to sneak in, now he sits right at the beginning of the stairs.
Davey J., Wed Aug 22, 2012
 
i went there back in 03 aND it was wonderful its a need to do again love love this hike:)
konagurl, Sat Jul 14, 2012
 
I climbed this in 1986 before it was closed. It was awesome.....I wish I could go back one more time...Only 2 of our group made it to the top and I was one.....yea!!!
Shirley Lawson, Sat Jun 23, 2012
 
I went yesterday and the guard got there at 3:30 am. So get there aroun 2 to 2:30 so you get a head start! :)
Becky, Sun May 27, 2012
 
Does anyone knows how much is the ticket that the guard would give you if you go up?
Pierre, Sat May 26, 2012
 
Hi Cathy, it takes about 4 hours to get to the top and back down. Some people can do it faster, but then you also want to stop a few times to take in the view.
Elea, Wed Feb 22, 2012
 
These stairs can be difficult to get to. My two friends and I have tried twice to go. Once not knowing the terrain and it was too dark so we turned around, and then the second time we were turned away around 5 am (this was Feb 2012). I had read numerous blurbs that the guard shows up anywhere ranging from 4 am all the way to 8 am. Must be a rotating schedule as it seems to be different for many folks. I am trying, as a last attempt before I leave Oahu today, to do the stairway once more. We are attempting it in the afternoon in hope that the guard will be completed with his duty.
It'll follow-up on this on whether or not the guard is there.

Advice: if you are going to park in Haiku Village, be cautious as parking is limited, but the road you want to park on is Lolii road.

Best of luck-
Bruce Wayne, Fri Feb 17, 2012
 
How long does it take it take to get to the top and back down?
Cathy, Wed Feb 08, 2012
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