the view fro stairway to heaven

I have hiked the Stairway to Heaven Trail on Oahu, Hawaii and I have several friends who hike it regularly. This blog post will be updated regularly with information that many people share with me about the topic so that you can be best prepared for your hike up the infamous Stairway to Heaven hike on Oahu, Hawaii.

UPDATED 1/1/2021: Fines have been reported as approximately $1000, with people receiving them recently. Security has been upgraded and there is now not only security but also a frequent (but not constant) police presence. Police helicopters have been reported but are very infrequent. Police waiting at the top of the hike to book hikers is very uncommon but has happened. Basically, it is a high-risk hike, illegal and you may get fined.

Should they be repaired or ripped down? Discussions about tearing the stairs down or repairing them continue as it has for years with no major breakthroughs on either side. I have detailed the debate about what to do with the Stairway to Heaven hike at the bottom of this blog post if you are interested in what all the controversy is about. Feel free to have your say in the comments.

The alternate route up the Stairway to Heaven hike: I have included a section in this article about the ‘back way’ up the Stairway to Heaven. This route is much longer. However, it is legal and you still get to reach the viewpoint of the Haiku Stairs. You don’t actually use the stairs to reach the viewpoint but you can still walk partway down the stairs for some photos before returning to the summit and heading back down the legal route.

Taking the back way would be my advice to those wanting the experience of the Haiku Stairs but also want to avoid any chance of a big fine or running into the police. I’ve also included the contact of a local guide who takes people up the back way. This way you get the thrill of the hike but also respect the local neighborhood and residents who are incredibly frustrated with the constant trespassing by now.

*This post was originally written in 2016 and the situation has changed since then regarding security, fines, the condition of the stairs but I update the post frequently based on reports from locals.

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If you aren’t sure about the Stairway to Heaven, there are lots of other adventurous things to do that are equally as epic. Here are four of my favorites.

  • Oahu scenic helicopter flight: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off). You will be absolutely blown away when you see Oahu from the sky! Click to book your tour: Doors-Off Helicopter Flight Tour
  • North Shore Shark Cage Adventure: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks! Click to book your tour: North Shore Shark Cage Experience
  • Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins. A once in a lifetime experience. Click to book your tour: Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour
  • Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: One of my favorite memories of Hawaii is floating in the water with a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. On this tour that is exactly what you will do! Click to book your tour: Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran


The Stairway to Heaven hike on Oahu, Hawaii, also known as the Haiku Stairs, is possibly the greatest attraction on the entire island. A grueling 3,922 stairs lead up the imposing mountain ridge, often at an almost vertical incline, with only a handrail to catch you from falling into the valley below. It may sound dramatic but at times that is the situation. However, it is not the most dangerous hike on Oahu.

Originally the stairs were built in 1942 by the U.S. Navy as a top-secret facility for transmitting radio signals to ships that were sailing in the Pacific Ocean. The stairs were then opened to the public until 1987 when they were deemed unsafe because of disrepair. Many residents of Oahu have fond memories of hiking up the Stairway to Heaven years ago (legally).

The city of Honolulu spent almost a million dollars repairing the stairs and was considering re-opening the stairs in 2002 but resident complaints and safety concerns halted the re-opening and the stairs have been closed ever since. Basically, politics and money got in the way of this epic hike. That hasn’t stopped locals, hikers, and tourists sneaking past a guard who is posted at the bottom of the stairs to experience the thrilling 4000ft long climb along an 18-inch wide staircase reaching heights of above 2000ft.

Stairway To Heaven Hike


I had been on Oahu for over a year and despite contemplating the hike many times, the rumor of a $600 possible fine (now increased to $1000) had scared me off. I was a college student trying to pay rent and that kind of fine could incur real financial trouble for me. I listened time after time as my friends would recount their experience of an amazing sunrise hike on the stairs or about how they managed to sneak past the guard through the bamboo forest. I was also enticed by the many photos I had seen highlighting this extraordinary climb and views. I didn’t want to miss the unique opportunity of experiencing the Haiku Stairs and taking my own photos of this unbelievably scenic hike before I left Hawaii, despite knowing it would be breaking the law.

As time passed, the instances of the $600 fines being handed out seemed to have become more commonplace. More and more hikers began meeting the police at the bottom of the hike after they had descended back down the stairs. My nervousness about being caught kept my desire to attempt the hike at bay.

I had two friends visit and had promised them if the opportunity arose we would try and do the craziest hike they could imagine so they were already pumped for the Stairway to Heaven. One fateful night, the weather seemed perfect and we made a last minute decision to go for it.

Stairway To Heaven Hike view
Stairway To Heaven Hike


We were dropped off in the neighborhood at 2 am in the morning on a very clear night, only a few light clouds hovered over the mountains looming above. As soon as we stepped out of the car a neighbor came rushing out of his front yard yelling at us with his phone pressed angrily to his ear. Startled by the old man walking towards us we quickly shuffled away to the “main entrance” only to find someone jumping out beaming a flashlight at us. This was chaos.

Well, that was an interesting start! We crept off in the opposite direction toward an alternate entry point, well aware that the old man had been on the phone to the guard or quite possibly the police, warning them of our arrival. This heightened our sense of adventure and fear considerably.

Walking through the neighborhood with our crew of six, as quietly as possible, our presence soon became blatantly obvious as a chain reaction of barking dogs blew our cover. With no other choice, we hurried down the street to a small lane that led up a hill. We had to clamber over a barbed-wire fence one by one that was very close to a neighboring home. I can definitely understand why neighbors would be annoyed with people jumping this fence every night. I did feel some remorse for the neighbor trying to get a good night’s sleep but our mission was going ahead despite the barbed wire fence.

From here we had to sneak our way through knee-high undergrowth as quietly as six, tired and anxious people in the dark can. A silhouetted figure appeared in the foliage twenty yards behind us and began yelling but we quickly scuttled towards the path and out of the shrubbery. We were now approaching the guard and we could make out a car in the distance. Already on private property and having passed multiple no trespassing signs we were understandably quite nervous.


No one was standing by the car so we walked straight past it and towards the stairs. I felt a huge relief as we began our ascent up the stairs as it is commonly known that the guards and police don’t usually climb the stairs to confront people. It felt like we were safe and could now enjoy our 3 am hike up the Stairway to Heaven.

In 2015 a huge storm damaged several sections of the stairs to the point where they were severely mangled. It isn’t incredibly dangerous but it definitely makes things interesting. A number of the stairs are loose and each step had to be taken with that in mind.

We hiked without headlamps and the full moon guided us up the narrow, damp staircase. I stopped frequently to peer down at the Highway that continually got smaller and smaller as we climbed towards platform one.

Stairway To Heaven Hike

The full moon illuminated the stairs ahead of us and the smell of damp metal covered our hands as we made sure to always have a good grasp on the slippery railing. We continued to make our way carefully up towards platform two, where we found an abandoned cabin with old machinery lying inside. It felt as if we were on a post-apocalyptic movie, the last survivors searching for any other signs of life.

ABONDONED CABIN Stairway To Heaven Hike

After almost two hours we were moments from reaching the summit. The final section of the hike has boards rather than stairs, which create a catwalk 2000 ft in the air on top of a sharp ridge.


At the summit, we found another old cabin with huge antennae on top. We wandered around, investigating our playground in the clouds before we returned to the warmth of the bunker to wait for the sun to rise. Packing a spare change of clothes was a game-changer. Being able to put on a dry shirt and jacket made a huge difference in combating the wind at the summit.

Stairway To Heaven Hike

After a short wait, the sky began to glow a pale blue, then a purple, and all of a sudden the sun attempted to break through the haze. It wasn’t the sunrise of the year but it shone yellow and orange throughout Haiku Valley and lit up the stairway we had just climbed.

Stairway To Heaven Hike

More than thirty people witnessed the sunrise with us and we watched them begin the descent down the group by group. We began to contemplate when we should head down and which way we should go. The Moanalua Trail, is a 6-mile route down that would help you avoid the guards but you would also miss the views of the stairway on the way down and it would take 3-4 times as long.

Stairway To Heaven Hike


We decided to follow the crowd and headed down the stairs, only one old man remained at the summit when we left. The hike down was a photographer’s dream with hundreds of prime photo opportunities. We weren’t in a rush so I decided to hike most of the descent by myself so I could enjoy composing and setting up different shots.

It is amazing to walk up in the dark and then see where you hiked as you descend down in the daylight. It took us less than two hours to make it to the beginning of the stairs. We could see the guard’s red truck parked at the foot of the stairs where it was in the morning but we decided to take the risk.

Stairway To Heaven Hike
Stairway To Heaven Hike


In the end, we didn’t clamber through the bamboo forest as many others do, we took a deep breath and walked straight up to the guard. He smiled, exhaled his cigarette smoke as he smirked, “I’ve called the cops, they must not have come,” as he began laughing to himself.

It was his response that made us feel better about the whole situation. Even the guard knows it is a bunch of politics stopping adventurers from hiking this trail. He had probably hiked it a bunch back in the day and kind of just sent us on our way with a ‘hurry up and get out of here’ kind of look. Keep in mind the situation has escalated a lot over the years and I’m sure the guard in 2021 may be a little less casual.

Winding our way in and out of bamboo shoots we emerged from the forest inside an elementary school to the dismay of a worker, who had clearly seen it all before. We apologized and put our heads down and followed his orders to take the gate out. We were almost free.

Making our way towards the final gate, we spilled into the neighborhood and saw no signs of any police or angry neighbors. We knew we were now literally out of the woods. I couldn’t believe we had just hiked the Stairway to Heaven.

This is truly one of the wonders of the world and makes you feel incredibly small, almost like an ant climbing a hill. The atmosphere of the hike is dreamy, eerie, and feels like Jurassic Park. It is definitely something you should attempt when visiting Honolulu if you are up for the challenge.

I recommend that if you do this hike, try as hard as possible to attempt it with someone who has been before. Show respect for the neighbors as much as possible and know that you are likely trespassing and breaking the law.

Stairway To Heaven Hike


As I mentioned earlier in the blog post, there is an alternate route down and therefore, also an alternate route up. You can completely avoid the guards and security at the start of the trailhead if you follow the Moanalua Trail. The hike begins at the Moanalua Valley road trail and is a 9.3-mile round trip. You will get muddy and it is not easy.

Although it is legal, it is still a tough hike. There are multiple sections with rope climbs and very steep, muddy ascents. Once you reach the top you can walk down the stairs and get some cool photos. In fact, you can go quite a far way down the stairs because the guards and police usually only wait at the bottom. I think they are too lazy to chase people up the stairs every morning. So, for the photographers out there, you can get all of the angles and shots you have dreamed about… legally. This route also does a good job of not waking up the neighbors as you jump fences and sneak around at 3 am. Keep in mind, according to the rules, if you step foot on the summit you are breaking the law. So you just can’t get caught at the summit and you are all good. I’ve only heard a few instances where an undercover cop was at the summit and fined everybody who set foot there. It’s ridiculous but that’s a head’s up on the rules I’m aware of.

I highly advise you guys to hike Stairway to heaven this way. You will avoid a possible fine of up to $1000 and not risk getting involved with the police. You won’t piss off the poor neighbors who have to deal with everyone running around their neighborhood each morning. You will still get the same shots of the stairs as you would going the other way just with a bit more effort. You also get to hike Moanalua Trail, which is an awesome hike too!

If you are interested in climbing the back (legal) way up to the summit you can contact @mike.karas on Instagram and chat with him about when his next tour is running. 

Stairway To Heaven Hike


There have been several possible solutions thrown around about the future of Stairway to Heaven on Oahu, Hawaii. How could it be possible to make the hike open to the public and also respect the neighbors right to privacy and safety in their own yard? Here are the options that have been discussed so far in the media, forums and by the state.

1. Charge tourists/out of state visitors $50-100 to hike the stairs while the hike remains free for residents of Hawaii. The money can be spent on creating a small parking lot, maintaining the trail and creating a safe entrance and exit points.

2. Require all people to purchase a permit for $10 from the Parks and Recreation Department before hiking the Stairway to Heaven. This paper would need to be shown at the entrance to the stairs or checked at any time during the hike. This would take the liability away from the state and is similar to the rules and regulations for camping grounds.

3. Paid tours with guides could remove the liability from the state and put the responsibility on tour companies who would need to act responsibly and safely with their clients. This isn’t a great option for residents who don’t necessarily want a guide.

4. Close the hike, pull down the stairs and the liability is then gone. Unfortunately, this won’t ever work because people will still hike up to the summit and without the stairs, there may be a higher risk of injuries or fatalities for hikers.

5. Use a lottery system similar to other national parks, which allow only a small number of lucky lottery winners into the park each month.

What do you think the best solution could be? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Stairway to Heaven


Don’t carry too much as it is very steep and you want to be agile for the climb. Pack the basics. The main two things to pack that are make-or-break for your experience are the headlamp and the dry clothes for the summit. The headlamp means you have two hands-frees to climb (don’t hold phone light), which is super important and the dry t-shirt will be your savior at the summit as your body cools down, the wind picks up and you have an hour to wait for sunrise. 

Hiking shoes – It’s best to use hiking boots with good grip and that can handle mud, rain, and tough terrain. Hiking shoes I use: Salomon Mid GTX

Rain Jacket – Never hike in Hawaii without a rain jacket, no matter how sunny it is in Honolulu. Rain Jacket I use: Arcteryx Lightweight Rain Jacket

Spare T-shirt – To change into at the top to be dry and warm as you will sweat through your original shirt while hiking: Dry fit hiking shirt I use: IceBreaker Merino Lite

Headlamp – So you can keep your hands free instead of holding a torch. Head Torch I use: Petzl Head Lamp 450 Lumens

2-3 Liters of water –  You will sweat a lot on this hike because of the tropical conditions and incline

Snacks – Make sure you pack some granola bars as you will need to replenish your energy at the summit

Camera – This is a once-in-a-lifetime view so whether it is your phone, GoPro or camera make sure you can grab a snap as a memory

My Camera Backpack: You simply won’t find a better camera backpack for hiking that my Atlas Athlete Backpack, which I’ve been using on all of my hikes all over the world for years now: Atlas Athlete Camera Backpack


This map below shows the pin location of the satellite at the top of the stairway to heaven on Oahu. From here you will have to decide on whether you trespass and jump fences or attempt the Stairway to Heaven trail from the back entrance. I highly encourage the latter.



Pin it!


What to pack for Hawaii?: After multiple trips to Hawaii, there are some items you NEED to pack. I wrote a blog post with all of my suggestions about things you might not think about packing: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY


Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island.

Why I recommend this hotel: It has its own private lagoon. While lots of people love the beach it is perfect for families. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries. There are no currents, waves or sea creatures to worry about. The hotel is right on Waikiki Beach so don’t worry the beach is right there also. 

Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.

Why I recommend this hotel: The Sheraton is always exceptional no matter the location but imagine you are leaning over the edge of an infinity pool, the ocean is below you and you turn to your left and watch Diamond Head crater in the distance. That’s where you will be at the end of each day, having a Mai Tai cocktail in your infinity pool. Later on, in the evening Rumfire is a great bar venue, which is actually part of the Sheraton. It is open to the public and is one of the best high-end venues on Oahu. It has a small dance floor but is mostly standing and seating areas for drinks, chats and good times.

Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value.

Why do I recommend this hostel/hotel: This is the perfect hotel if you want location but are willing to sacrifice a pool and some luxury items to save up to $200 per night. All of the hotels in this area are minimum $300 per night and often much more. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. If you are like me, I never swim in the hotel pool anyway. Didn’t you come halfway across the world to swim in the beach!

Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures.

Why I recommend this hostel: Unfortunately Waikiki and Honolulu, in general, are not cheap.  You can grab a dorm room for under $35 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach. This location really is great. You are near a lot of attractions and can take public transport to a lot of great east coast beaches and hikes. It is the number one hostel in Waikiki and I’m sure you will meet other adventurers to go on hikes with!

Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu.

Why I recommend this hotel: Disney Aulani Resort combines luxury accommodation with family fun. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind. The kids club and massage center are just among a few of the many activities included in your stay. Attend ukelele lessons, free fire-pit story-telling at night and more and more! Your kids will never be bored and the quality of entertainment and facilities is just beyond amazing.


I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!


A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?




Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII


The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

Blog Comments

  1. Save the stairs

    To all interested in doing Haiku I will warn you…this is not just a fine but a criminal trespassing charge added to it, that stays on your record forever. I would know this because my husband and I were seen by cops and didn’t even get past the gate that had the trespassing sign on it and they still ticketed us. I spoke to the county clerk about what had happened. Cops will tell you it’s only $50 and 2 years on your record but that’s not true! Clerk wasn’t sure why they have been telling people this. It’s upsetting that they can’t use all this money from these fines to help rebuild this amazing land mark! My husbands grandfather helped build it and we would be devastated to see it go. I’m hoping to get a petition together once my husband and I move to Hawaii for the possibility of opening it to the public after repairs and to purchase tickets (similar to diamond head) with signed waiver forms. People will just want to do something more when they are told that they can’t. All in favor for petition? Say I!! Lol


  3. I though they tore that down or were in the process of tearing it down due to safety issues
    Guess they haven’t yet I wonder if there still going to

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  7. Went up the stairs last week with wife and baby. There were 2 other parties of 2 hiking that day, plus a group at the top who came from the other trail that made them muddy and take much longer. People claim the stairs are dangerous but they are a lot safer than climbing the mountains without stairs. We made a false start up a precarious slope and had to go back down and restart closer to the stairs. The main problem is going through the neighborhood. If you think about it there is a large number of people on 24/7 neighborhood watch and some are very angry and extreme. A guy yelled and cussed at us and sprayed us with water with blue dye. These people are mad and will make increasing trouble for hikers as time goes by. They have already put up high fences on access points reported online and we were only able to get in through one of the drainage ditches, and that was challenging. Someone needs to find a better means of access that bypasses the neighborhood totally. I would have liked to investigate an entry from the south if time permitted. The walk would be a little longer but easy on the flat road.

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  9. such a great read !! i’m on oahu for the next few months if anyone is looking to hike it!! DM me on insta with any questions 🙂 @kathleens_

  10. Thanks for this great article and the terrific photos. I lived in Hawaii about 20 years ago and have been back frequently since. Have been up the Haiku Stairs probably 20 times (used it to train for climbing Mt. Rainier when I lived out there) but it sounds like the security is a bit more serious now. Article definitely makes me want to do it again — but maybe by the back way this time. 🙂

  11. Funny thing, if you look at the google satellite image of the summit and follow it down, you can see at least 3 people on the stairway, (as of 17 JAN 2021.

  12. Great article and a spectacular place… however it is very illegal and unless you know someone who knows their way around or the ins and outs you’re only asking for trouble here.

    1. You’re an entitled asshole. Your opportunity to get that view wasn’t more important than that one resident getting peace and privacy. This article seems to care more about avoiding fines than respecting the population and land of Hawaii. That place is guarded and getting more and more fined for a reason, and it’s because no matter what they do, people pull this shit anyway and treat it like a cool adventure. Leave Hawaii alone.

      1. The hike was legal for decades and only because rich people refuse to spend money on it makes it ‘off-limits’. Why should rich businessman and politicians decide who can explore a hike that has been an integral part of hiking history on Oahu. Don’t follow rules just to follow them. Ask yourself why they are there in the first place. If it was repaired and not closed it wouldn’t need guards and people wouldn’t need to adventure in the middle of the night to get there. Cause and effect….

  13. Illegal hike. Period. $1,000 fine and we are getting serious about it. 4 am, 5 am, 6 am or 12 pm, HPD will be there and get ready for the fine.

    Respect Hawaii.

    1. It is illegal yes. The question as to why it is illegal is a little bit less straight forward and involves money and liability. It is all discussed at the bottom of this blog post. Not ideal for residents, not ideal for hikers either! Having said that, from a non-biased point of view… it’s very highly unlikely that HPD will be there 24/7. It costs a lot and like all decisions regarding the stairway, money talks. It is illegal that is a fact. It shouldn’t be… that is fact. The area in between those two facts is quite grey.

          1. Hi Steve. Make sure you read the article 🙂 I offered a legal alternative but I clearly documented my story of passing the guard and entering the stairs via a non-legal route. It is legal to take the backway but just not to touch foot on the summit/stairs. Therefore your comment is deceptive for any readers who might pass by it. Hope you have a good day and enjoy the hike whether it is legal or not… it should be open if not for money-hungry corporates who have lost their sense of adventure many, many years ago.

  14. Trying to decide between K’aau Crater hike and the Stairway – HELP! We would take the backway for the stairs

    1. Both are great but Kaau is legal I believe. Stairway involves breaking the law (done by 30+ most days) and is a bit of a mission. Both are epic.

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  17. Would love to know how much it would cost to repair the hike so that it’s deemed safe. The money used to pay security and even the cost of tearing it down could be used to repair it. Best solution would be to just fix it and let people hike it in a safe manner. I’d even be willing to donate towards a cause that would help pay for the repairs.

  18. Thanks Jackson for your dedication and commitment to show HI in the most beautiful light for us adventurers.

    I will be in Oahu for work and looking to hike the legal trail on the 20th of October, 2019. Anyone want to go with? Shoot me an email:

  19. Wow the comments on this are insane! I also tried to hike these stairs. We took a taxi there at 2am and tried to climb through the main entrance. It was impossible for us and the police showed up within minutes we had to sneak out. Suddenly my legs were super itchy! We went to the closest Walgreens to get poison ivy soap and the pharmacist said he had been told by the neighbors to start stocking poison ivy soap. Pretty ridiculous they planted it to deter people. I wish I had done the back way! I will definitely try this again and go through the back route as seeing photos of the hike’s beauty have been haunting me since! Bucket list item for sure. Thank you for all the tips! -Summer,

  20. I just want to start off with this about the haiku stairs…. I went up the stairway to heaven back in 2007 when I visited O’ahu. I had never heard about it until I heard about it from the local that I was staying with and once I heard about it like all men I had the immediate determination to conquer it. I remember having to sneak to the base of the stairs where I was greeted with a huge sign next to the stairs, I can’t say if it is still there anymore since it has been over a decade now since I climbed to the top of the stairs, but this was put there by our government and do you know what was on this sign? It was safety tips that outlined how to go up the stairs safely and pass people on the stairs. They hawaiian government spent over a million dollars (of taxes payers money that’s right your hard earned money!) to put the stairs there to open it to the public….. but did that ever happen… no and why? Why waste that kind of money and never let the public enjoy such an amazing hike, one that was completely safe when I did it and it would take someone being completely stupid to get hurt or die( those people are out there they are everywhere). I have a huge problem with this because if you think about our present day situation with the Haiku stairs it is a pretty grim one IMO, no one is allowed on the stairs and they are just rotting away, a million dollars is just rotting away. The government is missing out on a huge opportunity for revenue. Ifthey indeed did open it to the public think of the jobs that it would create think of the tourism that it would influence (which correct me if I’m wrong tourism is a one of the biggest revenue streams Hawaii has). You would need people to maintain the trail, people to potentially guide people up and down, people to clean the trail because there are a$&holes who don’t respect the land and litter(news flash they are everywhere) and the list would continue. Also if they opened to the public then all the pissed off people living in the neighborhood next to the stairs would not have people trespassing anymore because there would be a legal way to experience something that everyone should be able to. THE ONLY THING THAT IS STOPPING THIS FORM HAPPENING IS STUPID LIABILITY! We as a people have gotten so freaking sue crazy/money hungry we are ruining the world for those that want to drink in all the intricate and per-found beauties of the world. I have a solution to this problem of “liability” that is stopping this from becoming a reality make it a national park area and then make everyone that wants to climb the Stairway to heaven sign a liability waiver that states they are taking their life into their own hands and that they can not sue the government for an injuries that you face. Making it available to public would prevent it from being vandalized it would prevent the natives that live around it from feeling like their lives may be in danger or from the annoyance from people tresspassing and then it would frees up the police to actually deal with the crime that their attention should really be, for example, on such as a homeowner abusing his second amendment right and shooting unarmed pedestrians with a high-powered air riffle. my rant is over but I have one last thing to say I want to shout out the the ignorant heartless prick Kalani just so you know it doesn’t matter what you may be climbing, the legal back route to the top the illegal Haiku Stairs, Three peaks guess what happens if someone gets to scared they freeze up they get injured guess who has to rescue those people the people you so “care for the police, fire, etc. who’d have to respond to recover your bodies” news flash that is their freaking jobs they know what they signed up for, have you ever heard something called job security??? We all need to stand up and fight for the Haiku Stairs because it truly is one of the worlds great wonders!!! MAKE LOVE NOT WAR! SHARE THE WORLD THAT WAS SO GRACIOUSLY GIVEN TO US!!

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  22. Jelmer Terpstra

    Hey guys,
    My gf and I want to attempt this hike either the legal or illegal way but looking for people to do it with.
    Will be in Oahu on July 1-5 so any time around then.
    Send me a message if you want to go as a group,
    IG: jelmer_terpstra

    1. You are an F’ing idiot. It is ILLEGAL. It is DANGEROUS. I don’t really care if YOU or GF fall to a horrible death or dismemberment, but I do care for the police, fire, etc who’d have to respond to recover your bodies. It isn’t up to you to decide which laws you should obey or not obey. If you can’t obey the laws in Hawaii, DON’T COME.

      1. Sorry, brother. Not going to stop living life to the fullest because of bureaucratic limitations. The stairway is illegal yes but ask why? Because people don’t want liability, not for any other reason. It is up to me what laws I obey and I make that decision after summing up why the laws are there. It wasn’t dangerous at all for me and whether or not it is legal or illegal either way the emergency services would have to rescue someone should they fall or get stuck. Neither of which I needed on this hike nor on the hundreds of others around the world I have done. Make your own decisions but know that I make my own too. If you have to break a few rules here and there to enjoy this beautiful place we call planet earth then that’s how it goes.

        1. Jackson, you understand what it means to live life to the fullest and I respect you for that! Hoping to to make the hike sometime soon. You can either live a safe, unadventurous, and empty life by being tied down by ridiculous laws (which only serve the purpose of making the govt money), or you can live a life filled with adventure, discovery, and fulfilling experiences!

        2. White privilege at its finest. I bet it would be different if it were a POC trespassing or committing something illegal. The fact that there is no remorse or shame blows my mind. Cool shots though.

          1. Pretty well explained throughout the article why there is no shame. Enjoy your adventures. Not sure what skin color has to do with hiking by the way.

  23. I will be in Oahu , this August. I usually go twice a year and try a new place/hike evertime. Stairway to Heaven is one that we havn’t tried mostly because it’s ‘illegal’ Today I went on Groupon to check out the activities they have, and noticed that Stairway to Heaven hike is being sold for 170 per person. I would love to go on this Hike, but I think that price for a hike is a little too much, and after reading your blog I don’t think they should be selling this on Groupon, because it seems like it is still closed?

  24. I’d love to hike these stairs when I goto Hawaii later this year, but man it sounds like a big risk. Should we make a petition for funding to repair the stairs and re-open?

  25. Could always use a system like they have in Havasu Falls in AZ. Not a lottery but an rsvp system. Only certain number allowed in the area per day and the person or group must pay permit fees with their rsvp confirmation or they forfeit their spot in line.

  26. I do believe all of the ideas you have offered for your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for newbies. May just you please prolong them a bit from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  27. Pingback: H3 Summit Saddle – Preparing for the Stairs – Simply Alex

  28. Better idea…. for all the residents that storm out to call the cops on you even though you are being respectful and quiet… Throw dog shit all over their houses! Life must be pretty rough being a rich haole owning a house in a beautiful place that attracts tourists. Reminds me of the Southpark Hawaii episode haha.

  29. This is definitely something that’s been on my bucket list for forever, though when the day comes, I’m probably going to take at the back way up 😛

    Laura //

  30. Hi Jackson, I am so happy I stumbled upon this blog. I am currently putting together an itinerary for June of this year. So just to clarify, hiking the Moanalua Valley Rd Trail is completely legal and free and still leads to a great view of the Haiku Stairs? Also, I will be arriving in Oahu at 10am, if I started the hike lets say around noon, do you think that would be an okay time to start? I would appreciate your help! Thanks again so much. 🙂

  31. Pingback: 50 Amazing Things to Do in Hawaii | Borders & Bucket Lists

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    1. I want to hike it the legal way. How long does it take? I will be there from May 2-May 5. I need all the tips and helps possible.

      1. Dave, it takes 8-10 hours if you take your time and enjoy the scenery. I have hiked this 3 times in the past 2 years and would like to do it again end of April or early May. I hiked the valley part of this legal hike last week and it was the dryest I have ever seen. That sure makes life easier although always be prepared for rain. It rains 150″ a year at the top.

  34. I’ll be in Oahu from May 10th-18th and am totally planning on doing this (the legal way of course). Anyone else thinking about doing this during that same week?

    1. hey I will be there may 9-14 and plan to do it as well. Let me know. Shoot me a DM on IG @ adrianthefitkid

  35. Going to Hawaii April 10th-17th, if anyone wants to go as a group the baackway my instagram is @alexxsasa. It would be my sister and boyfriend. Id love to go as a group!

  36. Pingback: The Ultimate List of 100 Things to Do on Oahu | Borders & Bucket Lists

  37. We will be doing the back way hike with my girlfriend between April 7th and 9th 2019. hmu if interested in a group hike
    my instagram is mzak.89

  38. Pingback: 15 of the Best Hikes on Oahu | Borders & Bucket Lists

  39. Going there in Feb, plan on going up the back way, and taking the stairs down, and walking past the guard, walking down the street, and calling an Uber. Will I be picked up by the police walking down the road?

    1. Geoffrey Gilliver

      I am planning on going somewhere between feb 8th and 16th. Looking to hook up with someone to go with as my gf is pregnat

      1. My husband and I are interested, if the dates work out. We’ll be there the 14-20th
        You can contact me on IG @brandiholtzephoto

        1. My wife and I will be doing the hike via the legal way going up and down. Contact me if you both would like to join (or we join you when you are going). Will be in Oahu Feb 11 to 26th. IG @Mofiac

  40. Pingback: Oahu, Hawaii: Top 5 Things To Do - Welcome

  41. Hello will be visiting Oahu Feb 2nd to 9th 2019, would like to meet up with someone local (possible guide for hire for a couple of days) who knows the backside hike also other exceptional hikes if interested you can email me
    Thank you so much!

  42. Pingback: Six of The Best Oahu Sunrise Hikes | Borders & Bucket Lists

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    1. Will be in Ouhu Jan 21-25 to do some hiking on my own however, I would love to find a group to hike the legal way up.. reply to IG Always love to meet new people..


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  45. I’ll be visiting Honolulu from Dec. 13th-19th if anyone is interested in doing the legal route! Instagram @hrdknx and perhaps we can work something out

  46. Angelique Arcangel

    Travelling in Hawaii and would love to go in group to do the hike rather than solo. Actually its mainly reason why Im going to Hawaii is because Ive always wanted to do this Hike. Will be available between Dec.24-28,2018. So if anybody would like to do the hike with me, I would love to meet new people!:)

    email me:

  47. Hi!! i’m traveling to Hawaii from January 10th-19th. If anyone wants to do this hike with me and my bf, send me a dm on Instagram @acookieee25 ! I would love to go in a group. Don’t wanna miss such an amazing opportunity!

    1. Hi Anna,
      I’ll be travelling to Oahu about the same time (12th-19th) with my bf. We have been seriously considering this hike, and are looking for others to do it with.

      Let me know if you’d be interested in meeting up to do it together.


      1. Me and the gf will be in Oahu 17th to 19th and would love to do this with some others. You can send me a message on ig @ziggykyle

  48. Hi!! i’m traveling to Hawaii from November 26th- December 10th. If anyone wants to do this hike with me, shoot me a dm on Instagram @lexesohara ! I would love someone to go with, especially if it’s with a group. I don’t want to miss out on this opportunity. Experiencing this sort of beauty is why I’m coming!

    1. Hi Lexes, Ill be traveling solo in Hawaii from Dec 4-11 and would be delighted if I could join the hike group. Instagram @livetoleave

  49. Pingback: 20 Strange Places We Never Thought To Travel To (But Definitely Should)

  50. I want to do this hike. However, I am afraid of heights. Is it possible if you take it slow? I dont care if it takes all day to do. This is on my must do when I go to Oahu this spring.

  51. Marco Bocanegra

    Hello all! I am planning on doing this hike Friday morning 11/9
    Would deff want someone to tag along with that has more knowledge towards this hike.
    Let me know! DM @Marco.bocaa instagram

  52. Me and my wife will be doing the hike sometime during our stay on the island Nov15-26, looking for others that will be going.

    1. I’ll be there starting on the 26th! I don’t have twitter, but DM me on Instagram if you have insta @lexesohara I definitely prefer going with a few people!

  53. Bring a boxful of doughnuts for the guard and or the police…with cups of coffee will their day even better. They’ll let you in.

  54. First, this is a great blog. Thank you for sharing your suggestions. I will be around from Dec 6th to Dec 10th. Anyone going to the Island on those days that want to climb either legal or illegal (I prefer the legal way)? if anyone is going those days!

  55. My gf and I will either be doing this hike (legal) either 10/17 or 10/20 if anyone wants some company–hit us up!

  56. Aloha. My niece, her bf, her brother and his gf and I want to hike on Tuesday, October 23, legal or illegal. Prefer legal. $1000 fine is pretty steep. Anyone planning to hike that day? We’d be interested in hiking it with someone who has hiked it before.

  57. Charging a fee seems to be a reasonable approach, but there is still the “who is liable” issue. I think the best way to answer the question (of should it be dismantled) is to think of the issue from those who are most disturbed by it (neighbors). How would you feel it you were the one being constantly disturbed?

  58. Great read! My girlfriend and I will be in Oahu from Nov 22-dec 1 if anyone else is interested in doing the hike with us.

    Instagram: ryan_hannaford

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  61. Natalie Reyes

    How selfish can you be disrupting the neighborhood and security at 3am just to get shots for the gram. Not only that but you are promoting the illegal hike. If you want those pictures then work for it and go the legal route.

  62. This looks so unrealistically majestic, Jackson & Jessie! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful place we can look forward traveling to. With that being said, do you recommend this hike for people around 40-50 years old and 13-15 year olds? It would be nice if this marvelous place gets maintained, we wouldn’t mind paying a fee to hike there!

  63. Amazing post again! Loving this blog!

    I’m headed to Oahu July 24 – August 3 for the first time. Doing the stairs sounds incredible but I think we’re gonna end up taking the back way.. If anyone is going to be in the area and wants to join or show us the way
    facebook: Chris Pomaski
    Instagram: Pomask88

    Thanks for this post!

  64. Unreal article, thanks so much!

    I’m headed to Hawaii on the 12th July from Australia for the first time. Will be travelling around solo! I want to hike as many mountains and find as many waterfalls as possible!

    I’m thinking I’ll do Oahu and Kauai for the 12 days that I’m there. Can you guys recommend things I should do and see that the average tourist wouldn’t even dream of doing?!

  65. Wendy a regular visit to these islands

    Visitors should pay $50 to walk the stairs. That money should be spent to maintain all the stairs and handrails. It’s an amazing wonder in this world and it should be experienced. There is plenty of money coming into Hawaii from tourists so repair the stairs

  66. I really enjoyed reading your article. I really appreciate the effort you have given to this post. I am looking forward for your next post.

  67. Pingback: Escaleras al Cielo de Hawai: Impresionantes, pero peligrosas - LyxPlanet

  68. Pingback: 5 Best Adventures In Oahu, Hawaii - Breathing Travel

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  70. Not cool dude to promote this even knowing it’s illegal and dangerous. We live in the area and you have absolutely no idea how it affects the neighborhood and the consternation it causes when folks have to be rescued or hospitalized. Go somewhere else! You really are not showing any aloha at all by encouraging others to break the law!!

  71. Me and my Brother tried going up today before a cop stopped us. We know where to go, and what to do to get passed the guards. If there is anyone willing to go today, or in the next few days, let me know. Here till 25th of April.

    1. Hay I’m dan
      I tried he stairs a couple of days ago and had trouble with the locals and police, ended up going the back way. It was still amazing although we didn’t make it to the very top.
      It’s my last day tomorrow and am thinking of having another crack at the stairs.
      Which way did you guys have in mind??

    2. Hey, I’m TJ
      Me and my wife came here just to hike the stairs and we encountered the police as well, who told us to turnaround. Any help to get past them would be greatly appreciated.


  72. hey do you think a 14 and 15 year old can do this hike? It would also be with a local who has experience and has done the hike a lot.

  73. Pingback: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU - THE BUCKET LIST - Journey Era

  74. GreaT The first building with a person standing on top was the upper cable house. It ran from there down to the SE corner of the Haiku NRS. The machinery inside drove a smaller cable tool carrier from there up to the second building that contained equipment to communicate between Haiku and the NRS radio receiving station on the West side. My job (1946) was to maintain that equipment so after riding the cable car I walked from the upper cable house up to the smaller communication building at the top. Occasionally one of the wooden steps would break just to make the climb more exciting. I no longer have a web site but still have lots of photos.

  75. Is anyone going this weekend? I’m heading to Oahu today 10/20 and plan to do this hike this week. I would love to go with someone who has been before

  76. Thoughts on a family of 5 taking this hike later this year? Two adults, 17 year-old, 15 year-old, & an 11 year-old? How difficult is it? Thanks.

    1. Jackson & Jessie

      It isn’t a hard hike compared to some others. 1.5 hour up max and 1 hour down. Some parts are like climbing a ladder.. vertical/straight up. Some parts are damaged but not the vertical parts. Some loose steps. Is it entirely safe? No. I am not encouraging people to do the hike but it wouldn’t be too hard for a family like yours to do so. The other thing to consider is the guard and if you are very unlucky the police as it is technically illegal despite being hiked regularly by many. Good luck whatever you decide.

  77. Pingback: Spectacular Hiking Trails Worldwide - Klipdrifters Travel

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