Stairway To Heaven Trail


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Location: Ha'iku Valley Ladder

This site is listed to provide accurate information. In the past, this hike was very popular, however, the Stairway was Closed to public access for many years and was DANGEROUS due to the deteriorating condition of the steps and hand rails. Since then, the stairs have been reconstructed and opened back up to the public..

Built in 1942 by the U.S. Navy as the site for a VFL antenna, 3,992 wooden steps were constructed to hoist the equipment into place. In 1955 a metal ladder was installed for better access to the antenna. In 1957 the antenna was decommissioned and in 1971 the site was turned over the U.S. Coast Guard..

Thousands of hikers have made the arduous journey to the top for the fantastic view of both sides of the island. However, on September 20, 1997 the Stairway was closed due to vandalism and costs to maintain the safety of the trail.

The hike up the Stairway of Heaven, also known as Haiku Stairs, is one of the most popular of Oahu's "forbidden" trails. People used to go here for the fantastic panoramic views, which awaited 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 still trespass because of the 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 still currently on hold. Up until today, there is no legal entrance to the Stairway of 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.


Reference/Related Links

Hawaii State Parks

Na Ala Hele

Frank's Hawaii Hiking

Hawaiian Style Travel and Hiking

O'ahu for You

Hawaii Web