Stairway to Heaven (Illegal Hike)
This hike is illegal since trespassing is involved to gain access to the base of the staircase. There are a couple ways to come in from the backside but once you come down the stairs you will be trespassing. Out of respect to the people of Hawaii we can’t recommend or take you on this hike but every so often we find ourselves somewhere on the trail “to Heaven”
The Haiku Stairs, also known as the “Stairway to Heaven” or Haʻikū Ladder, is a very steep hiking trail comprising of 3,922 steps up to an elevation of almost 3,000-feet along the spine and ridgeline of the Ko'olau Mountain range. This hike offers some of the most breath-taking views you will ever see in your lifetime.
This particular hike is dangerous and there is a section of the staircase that came apart during a storm in 2014. We do not endorse breaking laws but understand many people desire to hike this trail and will likely figure a way to do it anyways. There is a guard at the base of the stairs and is known to call the police to cite those who trespass. To get to the base of the stairs requires you to jump a barb-wire fence and hike through a maze of bamboo trees for 15-20 minutes if you know where you are going.
Little history about the Haiku Stairs/Trail…
The trail began as a wooden ladder spiked to the cliff on the south side of the Haʻikū Valley. It was installed in 1942 to enable antenna cables to be strung from one side of the cliffs above Haʻikū Valley to the other. A building to provide a continuous communication link between Wahiawā and Haʻikū Valley Naval Radio Station was constructed at the peak of Puʻukeahiakahoe, elevation about 2,800 feet (850m). The antenna transmitted very low frequency radio signals. The signals could reach US Navy submarines as far away as Tokyo Bay while the submarines were submerged.
When the Naval base was decommissioned in the 1950s, the United States Coast Guard used the site for an Omega Navigation System station. In the mid-1950s, the wooden stairs were replaced by sections of metal steps and ramps, by one count, 3,922 steps. The station and trail were closed to the public in 1987.
In 2003, the stairs were repaired, costing the city $875,000. As of today, land usage rights issues have not been resolved. The City and County of Honolulu has stated that there is currently no plan to open the stairs for public use, citing liability concerns.