Skip to Content

A Guide to Hiking Oahu’s Stairway to Heaven

A Guide to Hiking Oahu’s Stairway to Heaven

You may have heard of the “Stairway to Heaven” or the “Haiku Stairs” on Oahu. It’s a heaven Hawaii 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 all the way to the island’s North Shore, and the sunsets are absolutely amazing.

So if you’re looking for an adventure, the Haiku Stairs are definitely worth checking out. Just be prepared for a workout!

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 the state of Hawaii, the Haiku Stairs is a steep and challenging hiking heaven trail that leads 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 or the haiku stairs 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 along the way where you can take a break and catch your breath.

See Related: Best White Water Rafting in the US

How to get there?

Hiking in Oahu Stairway to Heaven

The Haiku Stairs is located at the end of Waimea Valley Road and requires a little climbing.

If your goal is to get lost, then do not go near this place.

Start from the Rainbow Falls entrance gate of Kalawao State Park and head 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 to 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 provides a stunning panorama of the island and the Pacific Ocean.

See Related: Most Beautiful Beaches in the World

Stairway to Heaven Travel Tips

Haiku Stairway and Mountains

If you’re looking to visit Oahu’s Haiku Stairs, also known as the Haiku Stairs, 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 Diamond Head steep mountain trail and then find your way to the stairs.
  • When hiking the Haiku stairs, it is important to dress appropriately. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes with good traction, use google maps, hiking gear, and 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. There are a lot of twists and turns on this hike, 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 it’s easy to lose your footing.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no stores or restaurants along the way.
  • 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.

See Related: Best Tropical Vacations in the World

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 will cause even the strongest calf muscles to ache and burn.

What’s really 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 to start climbing the Haiku Stairs such a rush.

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

Waimea Bay is a beach located on the North Shore of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. It is considered one of the most beautiful and dangerous beaches in the world. The beach has a large, steep cliff that 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 located in the Koolau mountain range on the island of Oahu. The name Olomana means “divided heaven” in Hawaiian, 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 hiking, taking several hours to reach the top.

In many sections, the stairs are extremely narrow — more like a ladder, really — and there are only a few platforms scattered along the way for rests.

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

History

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.

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

In 2002, the entire stairway was repaired by the City of Honolulu, 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 proved to be 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 every week to relish the stunning panoramic views from the top.

See Related: Best Wedding Destinations in the US

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 is a great place to visit on the island of Hawaii.

The park is located on the Big Island, and it’s home to numerous archaeological sites and cultural exhibits. Puuhonua o Honaunau anini Heiau, and the Ahupua’a of Honaunau are all located in the park.

The Waonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is a great place to visit on the island of Hawaii.

The park is located on the Big Island, and it’s home to numerous archaeological sites and cultural exhibits Pond 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 has been eroded by the ocean waves. 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 located on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii.

It was designated as a National Natural Monument on December 7, 1920. The monument is managed by the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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 along the way.

Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as it can get pretty hot and exposed out there.

Lanikai Pillboxes

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

Lanikai Pillboxes offer 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 all the way to 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.

In fact, 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 a great place to go surfing, body boarding, or just relax in the sun.

Lokoea Beach Park is another great spot for swimming, sunbathing. The beach park 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 in this area.

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 that is 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.

See Related: The Woolridge Monuments

Best Place to Stay Near Stairway to Heaven

Luxury Hotels

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 members of the United States military, as well as their families.

The hotel is located on the beachfront property of Fort DeRussy, which is part of the Waikiki}y Resort.

Disney Aulani Resort

Disney Aulani Resort Pool
image by Booking.com

The Disney Aulani Resort hotel is a beautiful place to stay on 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 Booking.com

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

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

This hotel is right 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 Booking.com

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 that offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The tower is home to 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 used as 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 located in Oahu, Hawaii.

The reserve spans 4,000 acres of land and includes a variety of 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 am to 3 pm. Visitors are encouraged to explore the reserve on their own, though 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.

FAQ

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.

Is Stairway to Heaven Accessible?

Stairway to Heaven is not fully accessible. Haiku Stairs is now completely ADA compliant and all stairways are accessible without the use of handrails, railing, or steps.

The front entrance no longer requires a steep hill climb and both the front and back doors lead directly into the facility with new ramps easily traversable by foot.

Can you climb Stairway to Heaven?

Yes, the hike to Stairway to Heaven known as the Haiku Stairs is 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 is relatively easy as it follows an old service road through the Haiku Valley. The next 1.6 miles is where the real challenge begins – a nearly 2,000-foot ascent up a set of steel stairs that zigzag 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 perfectly safe. Just be sure to keep an eye on your children and steps, and heed all warnings posted along the way.

Related Resources

Lock In Your Travel Now
Looking for Extra Travel Perks?
My favorite travel companion is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which gives me lounge access, Uber credits, upgrades, and plenty of other travel perks. If you want to find out the best travel rewards credit card for you, consider using CardMatch to instantly get matched to a travel rewards credit card that meets your travel needs.
Booking Flights

Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.

You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It's a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Use World Nomads to find the best policy for your travel schedule.
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!