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

Vacation Rentals near Stairway to Heaven


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 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
 
Went on a Tuesday morning at 6am. Have someone drop you off near the bottom. If you park, that is why police get called. The locals don't want you taking up parking space on their street. The guard shows up around 0700-0730. He can only turn you away or ticket you if you try to go up here. He can't ticket you for coming down since there are other "LEGAL" ways to get to the top of the stairs. The views are awesome and well worth the risks.
Top Bollman, Sat Jan 07, 2012
 
If you don't want to try and beat the guard (be there before 5am) try the back route. it starts in moana lua valley, and takes about 5 hours. but it is well worth the hike. amazing views. and the guard is amazed and amused at those who make this trek. he knows those who do too, because thye have a fair amount of mud on them.
kate, Mon Oct 31, 2011
 
We to got turned away by the guard thank to my son's quick thinking he pulled this site up after we were turned away and with TNK's advice below we made the hike over the 2 peaks, watch out it's slippery a few of us slid down a few times just adding to the excitment. What a experience. The guard adds to the thrill of it all. He wont tell you when his shift starts but I bet its before 4 am. You think you have reached the top about 8X. Go for it. It truely is heaven
CW & BMW, Wed Oct 12, 2011
 
Got there at 4:30, guard was already there. Guess he gets there earlier on the weekends, or camps out. We'll try at 3:30 next time.
JP, Sat Aug 06, 2011
 
Got there at ~ 5:30, people had been there for an hour and a half already trying to sneak past the guard. Got denied. The guard gets there EARLY. Be warned. Really frustrating that this is still closed, and for seemingly no good reason. $875,000, just to close the trail? Give me a break
Asa, Thu Jul 14, 2011
 
Got in today- it's not that hard to avoid the guard, just be a bit sneeky and persevere.

On the last bit of path before the security, head left into a drainage ditch. Head further left into bamboo forest and head uphill to the fence the runs along the service road. There are several holes cut in the fence, or you can climb over. Cross the service road (watch our for rent-a-cop) and head up short, steep bank towards pillar of the flyover. Once you reach the pillar, head right until you hit the stairway near.
Luke T, Mon Jul 04, 2011
 
Went April 25th... got there right at 6... guard turned us away after saying if we do go up separate when we come back down... we scaled 2 peaks to the right til we hit the stairs about 300 stairs up and climbed to top. Security gave us trouble when we made our way down. Supposedly called "cops" on us, told them he wanted us arrested cuz he spoke with us earlier n told us not to go up. Cops never came and he actually told us how to cut out through a hole in fence to avoid cops on way off property.
JnK, Tue Apr 26, 2011
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