Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven, Oahu

This hike is permanently closed.

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

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Reviews and Comments:
Neighborhood Watch calls the COPS for any OUTSIDERS in vehicles or just walking the streets. HIKER BEWARE of 24-7 CREW connected by, security systems, email, cell phone. When you enter the neighborhood members WARN each other and CRIMINAL TRESPASSING FINES OF $1000 (not $500) are cited. If you are out of state this FINE WILL STAY ON YOUR RECORD. The Neighborhood Watch works together with the Board of Water Supply to PROSECUTE. You will get a subpoena to return to Hwaii and face your accusers for which you will be FINED plus 100 hours community service and you will have to return to court until the obligation is fulfilled.
Neighborhood Watch, Sun Jul 02, 2017
The houses at the top of Lolii St. and Puoni St. YELLED ANS CHASED US.. We ran through the streets to get away. and they followed us. We split up. One group got caught by police..
OMG, Sun Jul 02, 2017
This is a good hike,but its illegal. If the state want to fix it they could just charge people going the stairs to fix the railings. Which I Dont mind ,because its really breathtaking. Also have some respect to the neighborhood,Dont make any noise and no littering.
Lykemebabe, Sun Mar 26, 2017
This is a very safe hike. There are handrails. I've gone down the stairs in the dark (and I am retirement age). The dangerous part is getting to the top of the stairs from the Leeward side of the island.
Thighmaster, Thu Jun 23, 2016
Police active in the area with members of the Neighborhood Watch turning away hikers. Be prepared to be ticketed for trespassing. Even if you get past the police and neighborhoof watch, the BWS guard is on duty 24/7 and will call the police.
N, Mon May 30, 2016
This was the best thing I did in my life. The view is amazing. We arrived around 3:45 am and the guard was already there. She let us pass just saying ''you're trespassing''. The stairs are in really good shape and I do not understand why it's forbidden beside the fact that you have to be in good shape to climb up. I heard that there are other trails way more dangerous that are open to public. I would redo it if I go back. Of coarse be respecfull to the people that live there.
Stephanie , Fri Jan 29, 2016
If you truly think your fun is worth breaking laws, trespassing and endangering the lives of emergency responders when you eventually fall and break your neck, then by all means, go for it. If you have an ounce of respect or decency, you'll find one of the countless other trails in the world to hike.
Corporal Thomson, Sun Jun 28, 2015
feel the need to trespass to check something off your bucket list? At least be respectful of the fact that you are accessing private property to do so. Pack out what you Pack in and keep a low profile. Choose the Bamboo Trail (first red KAPU sign on your left as you go up the PRIVATE road) vs. walking on the road further up the valley and near the charter school or the trail further up that takes you directly over a historic site (heiau). By being respectful and keeping your presence to a minimum on the PRIVATE road you lessen your likely hood of being seen and getting a citation (yes there have been so many hikers creating so much trouble that HPD is regularly getting calls to issue citations) and it increases your safety. The PRIVATE road is very narrow in spots and I personally have seen several near misses as people run off the trail and in front of cars, when trespassers trip and fall in front of on coming cars, or when drivers have been distracted.

It's not the neighborhood's fault that the City/State never worked out access to this hike and it's illegal, and I don't blame people for wanting to do this hike but please don't be a part of the problem.
a respectful hiker, Tue Aug 05, 2014
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 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.
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
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