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Stairway to Heaven: The Allure Of Hawaii’s Haiku Stairs

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You may have heard of the “Stairway to Heaven” or the “Haiku Stairs” on Oahu. Stairway to Heaven Hawaii is a hike up a staircase (yes, really) that towers over the island’s Ko’olau Mountains and provides some of the most stunning views you can imagine.

The Stairway to Heaven, previously private property, is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. It’s not for the faint of heart, though – the heaven hike is long and steep, and there are no handrails to help you make your way up.

But if you’re up for the challenge, the views from the top are worth it. On a clear day, you can see the island’s North Shore and the amazing sunsets.

About the Stairway to Heaven

Hiking Haiku Stairs

When most people think of Hawaii, they picture sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and palm trees. While these are certainly all things that can be found on the island of Oahu, there is so much more to this beautiful place.

Located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, the Haiku Stairs is a steep and challenging hiking heaven trail leading to a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.

The tough hike to the top is strenuous and takes about two hours, but the views are well worth it. The trailhead is located in the Haiku Stairs Park, and the Heaven Hawaii hike begins with a steep climb up a set of stairs.

The first part of the heaven hike is relatively easy, but it gets more difficult as you climb higher. There are several rest stops to take a break and catch your breath.

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How to Get There

Hiking in Oahu Stairway to Heaven

You’ll need to do the Haiku Stairs hike to hike Stairway to Heaven. The Haiku Stairs is located at the end of Waimea Valley Road and requires a little climbing. If you want to get lost, do not go near this place.

The hike starts from the Rainbow Falls entrance gate of Kalawao State Park and heads towards (away from) the ocean until you come to an intersection with a large sign that says ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ This is where the adventure begins.

Diving into the Stairway to Heaven is an experience like no other. It’s a strenuous hike, but the views from the top are worth it. The summit of the Heaven trail provides a stunning panorama of the island and the Pacific Ocean.

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Travel Tips for Visiting

Haiku Stairway and Mountains

If you’re looking to visit Oahu’s Haiku Stairs hike, be sure to follow these travel tips:

  • The stairs are closed to the public, so you’ll need to find a way to get up there. One option is to heaven-hike the steep mountain trail and then find your way up the stairs.
  • When hiking the Haiku stairs, it is important to dress appropriately. Wear sturdy shoes with good traction, use Google Maps, and wear hiking gear, such as pants or a skirt, that won’t get caught on the railing. Wear sunscreen and a hat, and bring water and snacks.
  • Bring a map and know your route ahead of time. This hike has many twists and turns, so it’s important to be familiar with the path.
  • The Heaven Hawaii hike is relatively difficult, so be prepared for a challenging climb.
  • Be aware of the dangers involved in hiking the stairs. There are no guard rails, and losing your footing is easy.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks, as no stores or restaurants are nearby.
  • Once you reach the top, take in the breathtaking views of Oahu’s coastline. Then, carefully make your way back down the stairs.

By following these tips, you can safely visit Oahu’s Haiku Stairs and enjoy one of the most beautiful spots on the island.

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Climbing the Stairway to Heaven

Rails in Haiku Stairs

It’s not the height of this remarkable climb that’s frightening, although it ascends 2100 feet into the clouds. It’s not the grueling nature of the journey, either — even though the 3900 stairsteps of the heaven hike will cause even the strongest calf muscles to ache and burn.

What’s intimidating about climbing the attraction is that it’s completely illegal, and it’s been forbidden since 1987. Some people will tell you that’s also part of what makes climbing the Haiku Stairs a rush.

The main access points in the Haiku Stairs are located on the North Shore of Oahu. Three points are commonly used to access the trail: Waimea Bay, Haena State Park, and Olomana.

Waimea Bay is a beach on the North Shore of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. It is considered one of the most beautiful and dangerous beaches in the world. A cliff rises sharply from the water.

Haena State Park is a beautiful place on the north shore of Oahu. It’s known for its stunning scenery and hiking trails, including the famous Stairway to Heaven. The park is also home to many rare and endangered plants and animals, making it a popular destination for nature lovers.

The Olomana is a trio of peaks in the Koolau mountain range on the island of Oahu. In Hawaiian, the name Olomana means “divided heaven” and is appropriate given the three steep peaks that make up the formation. The most popular route to the summit is up the stairway-like ridge.

It’s not an easy climb, and it takes several hours to reach the top by foot. The stairs are extremely narrow in many sections—like a ladder—and only a few platforms are scattered along the way for rest.

The sheer drop-off can be a bit terrifying, and visibility is often hindered by morning mist at lower elevations and clouds closer to the top.

But oh, those views! There’s no better way to experience the power and beauty of Oahu than from this vantage point on top of the world, especially if you can get away with it.


Stairway to Heaven

The stairway was closed in 1987 when the communications system was discontinued, and it was soon overgrown with plants and dangerously decayed.

However, the stairway was already well-known as a great scenic heaven hike, and the “No Trespassing” signs around the area made it more exciting for thrill-seekers.

In 2002, the City of Honolulu repaired the entire stairway, with plans to turn it into a public heaven trail. Sadly, the plans fell through, and the Stairway to Heaven has remained officially closed — with a guard posted at its base each morning to keep trespassers away.

This was only a small obstacle for daring hikers willing to brave the stairway in the early hours before dawn. Hundreds of people are said to climb the Haiku Stairs hike every week to relish the stunning panoramic views from the top.

The Secret Naval Radio Station

Kaneohe Omega Transmitter, Oahu, Hawaii

During World War II, the United States Navy constructed a radio station at the top of the Stairway to Heaven to communicate with ships at sea and provide early warning of enemy attacks. The station and radio tower were operated by a small team of sailors and were hidden from view to protect them from enemy detection.

The radio station played a critical role in the defense of Hawaii and the Pacific Theater, and its existence was kept a closely guarded secret for many years. The secret station was used to transmit radio signals to submarines.

Today, the remnants of the top-secret facility that housed the radio station can still be seen at the top of the Stairway to Heaven, about 4,000 steps up the haiku stairs hike. This provides a glimpse into the history of this iconic location.

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Nearby Attractions

North Shore Beach Walk

North Shore Ocean

The North Shore Beach Walk is a must-do activity for visitors to the island of Oahu. The walk begins in Waimea Bay and ends in Sunset Beach. The walk is about 2.5 miles long, and it’s a great way to see some of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu.

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Park

Puuhonua o Honaunau National Park Sign
image by Ken Lund is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

The walk takes you through Waonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, a great place to visit in Hawaii. The park is on the Big Island and has numerous archaeological sites and cultural exhibits.

Puuhonua o Honaunau anini Heiau and the Ahupua’a of Honaunau are all in the park. This is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a quiet place to relax and take in the natural beauty of Hawaii.

Halona Blowhole

Halona Blowhole
image by 4nitsirk is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

The Halona Blowhole is a natural phenomenon that is located on the windward coast of Oahu. It is a lava tube that ocean waves have eroded. The hole creates a geyser-like effect when the waves rush into it.

Diamond Head State Monument

Tourists in Diamond Head State Monument
image by mikecogh is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

Diamond Head State Monument is a volcanic tuff cone on the Oahu island in Hawaii. It was designated as a National Natural Monument on December 7, 1920. The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources manages the monument.

Moanalua Valley Trail

Moanalua Valley Trail and Mountains
image by Gage Skidmore is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re looking for an adventure, the Moanalua trail is definitely worth a visit. This challenging heaven hike takes you up a series of steep staircases with amazing views of Honolulu and the surrounding mountains.

Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, which can get hot and exposed. You will also need some good hiking shoes.

Lanikai Pillboxes

View from Lanikai Pillboxes
image by Rob.Bertholf is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Lanikai Pillboxes offers one of the most breathtaking views on Oahu. The hike to the pillboxes is steep, but the view from the top is worth the climb. On a clear day, you can see Diamond Head and Waikiki.

Koko Head Stairs

Climbing Koko Head Stairs
image by benfff85 is marked with CC BY 2.0.

The Koko Head stairs are a series of steep, narrow steps on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The stairs are about a mile long and climb 1,034 feet. They’re popular among hikers and runners, but they’re also known for being dangerous.

The stairs have claimed the lives of several people over the years. Falls is a popular hiking destination on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The falls are about 80 feet tall and located in a rainforest. The hike to the falls is about 2 miles round trip and can be slippery and dangerous.

Waimanalo Beach Park & Lokoea Beach Park

Makapuu Beach Sceneries
imagine by jdnx is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Waimanalo Beach Park is one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu. It’s known for its soft white sand and crystal clear water. The park is also great for surfing, body boarding, or relaxing in the sun.

Lokoea Beach Park is another great spot for swimming and sunbathing. It is one of the most popular beaches on Oahu.

This beach is known for its clear turquoise water and white sand beaches. Visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, diving, fishing, and boating.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Aerial View

One of the most popular destinations on Oahu is the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. The bay is a beautiful, crescent-shaped beach perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. The nature preserve is home to a wide variety of marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles, and dolphins.

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Best Place to Stay Near Stairway to Heaven

Luxury Hotels

Hale Koa Hotel

Hale Koa Hotel Building
image by Hale Koa Hotel

The Hale Koa Hotel is a military hotel on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The hotel was built in 1976 to provide vacation accommodations for active and retired United States military members and their families. The hotel is on the beachfront property of Fort DeRussy, part of the Waikiki}y Resort.

Disney Aulani Resort

Disney Aulani Resort Pool
image by

The Disney Aulani Resort hotel is a beautiful place to stay in Oahu. It’s located on the Ko Olina coast and features breathtaking ocean views.

The resort has everything you could want, from pools and lazy rivers to a fitness center and spa. There’s also a kids’ club, which is perfect for families.

Mid-Range Hotels

Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel Building
image by

The Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Oahu. It’s located in the heart of Waikiki, making walking to all the best shops and restaurants easy.

The hotel has an outdoor pool and a hot tub, and guests can enjoy the beach just a few steps away. The rooms at Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger are another great hotel option in Waikiki.

This hotel is on the beach, so you can enjoy stunning ocean views from your room. The hotel has an outdoor pool, a fitness center, and a restaurant. Guests can also enjoy the complimentary breakfast buffet each morning.

The Hilton Hawaiian

Hilton Hawaiian Building and Ocean
image by

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is a beachfront resort in Waikiki, Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. It is the largest hotel in Waikiki and has been one of its most popular resorts for over four decades.

The Hilton Hawaiian has a variety of rooms that guests can choose from, including the Island View room, the Garden View room, and the Oceanfront room.

The tower is a 22-story building with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It has 565 guest rooms, including 78 suites and 12 penthouse suites. It’s also one of the tallest buildings on Oahu.

Budget Hotels

Rainbow Inn Aiea

Rainbow Inn Aiea Pool
image by VRBO

The Aiea Inn is a historic building located in the town of Aiea on the island of Oahu. The inn was built in 1922 by the prominent Japanese-American businessman and civil rights activist Sanjiro Murakami.

The inn was a gathering place for the Japanese-American community and played an important role in the area. Stairway to Heaven is a popular hiking trail on the island of Oahu.

Vacation Rentals

Eden at Stairway to Heaven

Eden at Stairway to Heaven Room
image by Airbnb

The Eden at Stairway to Heaven is a nature reserve in Oahu, Hawaii. It spans 4,000 acres and includes various ecosystems, ranging from rainforest to coastline. The reserve is also home to a variety of plant and animal species, including several endangered and threatened species.

The Eden at Haiku Stairs is open to the public from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to explore the reserve independently. However, guided tours are available for an additional fee.

A variety of amenities are available at the reserve, including restrooms, a visitor center, and a gift shop.


Where is Stairway to Heaven located?

Oahu’s Stairway to Heaven is located in Haiku, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. From Honolulu, drive north on Highway 99 (the Pali Highway) and take the H3 freeway east. Once you reach the terminus of the H3, continue driving straight onto Halawa Valley Road.

How big is the Stairway to Heaven?

The Stairway to Heaven, also known as the Haiku Stairs, is a steep and challenging hike on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. The hike takes you up a set of 4,000 steps to the summit of Mount Olomana, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Can you climb the Stairway to Heaven?

You can no longer hike to Stairway to Heaven, known as the Haiku Stairs, a moderate 4-mile roundtrip trek that rewards hikers with incredible views of the Waianae Coast and Oahu.

The journey to the summit of Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau – also known as Stairway to Heaven – begins at Haiku Stairs in Haiku Valley.

The first 0.8 miles of the hike are relatively easy, as it follows an old service road through the Haiku Valley. The next 1.6 miles are where the real challenge begins—a nearly 2,000-foot ascent up a set of steel stairs that zigzags back and forth up the side of the mountain.

Is Stairway to Heaven Safe?

There are no guarantees in life, but as long as you’re careful and use common sense, Stairway to Heaven is generally safe. Just be sure to watch your children and steps, and heed all warnings posted along the way.

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