⚠️Disclosure (according to Oahu Hikes): “This trail is officially “CLOSED.” This hike is not sanctioned by the state, and it is illegal to access the stairs. If you decide to attempt this hike, you are doing so at YOUR OWN risk. Trail conditions and accessibility can change daily and even by the hour. It is up to YOU to know YOUR hiking ability and level of expertise before attempting any hike.”

Zeppelin’s 1971 hit, Stairway To Heaven, is considered to be the ‘greatest rock song of all time.’ – but do you know what’s even more iconic? The actual Stairway To Heaven Hawaii – yep, these stairs in Oahu deserve to be on every adventurer’s bucket list.

The most popular photos of Hawaii always feature the legendary Haiku stairs, with the top hidden in the midst of clouds and fog.

Do these stairs really lead to Heaven? It certainly does look like it.

In the very beginning, let’s make one thing clear – it’s illegal to walk the Haiku Stair, and we definitely do not recommend it.

But there’s a longer route – it will take you to the mountain top and obviously the famous Haiku stairs. The trail here is pretty long and quite strenuous – you do get to witness some of the most stunning views of the beautiful Moanalua Valley.

Today, let’s talk about visiting these Haiku stairs – and everything you need to know for planning a trip to Oahu. Stay tuned to find out more.

Climbing The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii? A Breathtaking Trip To Remember!  

Climbing The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii A Breathtaking Trip To Remember!2
Climbing The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii A Breathtaking Trip To Remember!2

Before we can discuss the Stairway to Heaven hike in details, check out the table mentioned below for an overview on the same.

Difficulty➼ Intermediate or Advanced.
Elevation Gain➼ 2660 feet or 810 meters.
Timing➼ The main route is closed to the public – it’s illegal to use the common route since 1987.
Fee➼ Free – but a hefty fine ($1000) to be paid if busted by patrol guards or the police.
Parking➼ In the neighborhood area below.
Terrain➼ Old busted walking panels and stairs.

The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii hike is truly one of the most captivating hikes in Hawaii. When it comes to the legendary Haiku stairs, people keep asking several questions.

There are 3922 steps spread across the beautiful Ko’olau range – the stairs lead to some of the best views of the Oahu. Plus, the idea of climbing a bunch of steel stairs right into the foggy clouds is something so cool – it’s not something you can easily accomplish, especially if you manage to watch the sun rise or set from the top.

It’s certainly a phenomenal experience – and it is precisely why we are here with this blog.

We want to address all the confusion in and around going to this part of Hawaii while promoting safe hiking simultaneously.

History Of The Haiku Stairs:   

History Of The Haiku Stairs
History Of The Haiku Stairs

These heaven stairs were first built 81 years ago in 1942, as a part of a secret project of the United States naval radio station.

The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii was built to maintain a big antenna system. The Ha’ikū Valley is interestingly shaped like an amphitheater – you will find the infamous stairs in this value.

When you think about it, it’s the ideal environment for communication. Initially built with wood, the stairs now have steel since the wood was replaced.

Where Is The Haiku Stairs Located?   

The Hawaii Stairway to Heaven is located in the eastern part of Oahu island. These stairs were first built in the region close to Ko’olau mountains – the eastern part of Oahu is known as the windward side in the Hawaiian language.

Since these mountains have a high altitude, they look like massive green curtains.

Often, you will witness clouds that act as cover for mountain tops – perhaps, these beautiful stairs actually lead to Heaven?

Why Is the Stairway To Heaven Hike Illegal?   

Why Is the Stairway To Heaven Hike Illegal

Before you can plan your dream Stairway to Heaven hike, it’s vital that you know the stairs have not really been maintained for several years – from loose steps and broken railings to uncontrolled vegetation.

Plus, a 2015 storm damaged other parts of the legendary Stairway to Heaven Hawaii!

We did hear recently that Honolulu might be planning to reopen these stairs to the general public, considering the Honolulu government has spent a lot of money on repairing the railings and stairs. The Haiku stairs have remained closed to the public since 1987.

And that’s not all.

Most people residing in the area hate it when trespassing hikers end up in their backyards. We encourage respecting the resident’s privacy at Oahu – as a result, it is always practical to hike legally. That way, you can still get to witness the breathtaking stairway to heaven Hawaii – take the legal trail.

What Happens When You Hike The Illegal Haiku Stairs?  

What Happens When You Hike The Illegal Haiku Stairs
What Happens When You Hike The Illegal Haiku Stairs

The Stairway to Heaven Trail was a private property – so you are technically trespassing while stepping onto these stairs. In fact, you will have to pay a 1000 dollar fine when you hike or even step on the stairs.

And if you think there’s nobody to catch you then you have got this completely wrong – police helicopters fly around the stairs, and guards are always on patrol at the stair’s bottom.

So it’s a great idea to use your judgment when it’s about the Haiku stairs. These stairs are in a really bad shape with steep parts. So, you do need to be quick – and you probably won’t be quick since it’s not safe. Again, this is precisely why you should consider hiking the stairs in the legal way.

The Road Not Taken: Climbing The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii LEGALLY!  

The Road Not Taken Climbing The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii LEGALLY!

It is not very often that you get to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Stairway to Heaven hike Hawaii is one such rare experience. The 4000-foot long trail consists of a solid 3922 stairs – it’s a trail of haphazard and winding stairs located on the top of a beautiful mountain top, 2000 ft above sea level.

The only thing that separates a hiker from the scary, plunging depths is a platform basically 18-inch wide. Now, let that sink in.

As we just mentioned, the Oahu stairs were closed down due to several safety issues and even unsuccessful repair efforts. For the few fortunate ones who have actually witnessed the stairs in its former breathtaking glory, it is obvious that safety wasn’t really a priority when the stairs were built.

In fact, the conditions on the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii have been reported as dangerous, windy, and even fear-inducing for many.

The real fear factor of these stairs is also one of the primary reasons as to why the spot has remained an exciting thrillseeker.

The Legal Road To The Haiku Stairs: Take The Kulana’ahane Trail  

The Legal Road To The Haiku Stairs Take The Kulana’ahane Trail
The Legal Road To The Haiku Stairs Take The Kulana’ahane Trail

The Stairway to Heaven Oahu hike can land you in legal troubles – from dangerous run-ins with the law enforcement teams to hefty fines, it’s way too much trouble for anybody.

So, how do you hike to the famous Stairway to Heaven Hawaii?

You have to take the Kulana’ahane trail! While this trail is legal, do not be fooled – it is not very easy to hike. It takes around 4 hours to complete successfully and even includes multiple dangerous maneuvers.

In order to find the entry point of the Kulana’ahane trail, start your hike at the Kamanaui Valley Road Trail.

After you have hiked for 2 and a ½ miles on the Kamanaui Valley Road Trail, you will find a sign that indicates the start of the Kulana’ahane trail. This is the trail that will take you to the top of the legendary Haiku valley, where the Stairway to Heaven is located.

⚠️Disclaimer (according to Hawaii Beachhomes): “Once you reach the end of this trail (the peak of the Haiku Valley), you’ll reach a very steep ridge with no railing. Exercise extreme caution (many people grasp the ridge with their hands and crawl on their knees)!”

What You Must Keep In Mind While Climbing The Stairway To Heaven?   

What You Must Keep In Mind While Climbing The Stairway To Heaven
What You Must Keep In Mind While Climbing The Stairway To Heaven

The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii can provide you with an incredible and rewarding experience. But at the same time, there are certain factors that can impact your trip – and it’s always best to consider these factors.

Scroll down to find out more.

Anxiety Or Fear Of Heights:   

Anxiety Or Fear Of Heights
Anxiety Or Fear Of Heights

If you have severe anxiety and often fall prey to panic attacks, it’s best to not opt for these trip.

The same is applicable to people who are scared of heights. Because once you are up there, you need to be careful – no point being anxious about the height.



Of course, you should not embark on this hike if the weather is bad, especially, if it’s stormy.

The rain, the wind, and obviously the thunderstorms can all present really dangerous conditions. There’s no point risking your life – instead, you can just stick to fair weather conditions like light wind.

Food And Water:   

Food And Water
Food And Water

Bringing snacks to munch on is always a great idea on a hike. Naturally, don’t treat this hike any differently.

While getting snacks, choose nutritious food items such as energy bars and nuts. And obviously, you cannot afford to not drink enough water.

Time Of The Day:   

There’s no doubt about this one – you cannot go to these stairs at night. This is precisely why starting your hike early in the morning is a good idea – that way you can not just watch the sun rise, you can also beat the crowds.

Understand that your safety is of utmost importance – so you have to do what is comfortable and convenient for you.

Buddy System:  

Hiking to the Haiku Stairs with a group or a buddy is not just an option to consider – instead, it is a necessity for you.

Most importantly, the same is applicable for any kind of wilderness hike. In case, you or even anyone else in your group is injured or falls into any type of trouble, it is essential to have people around who can help you out.

Frequently Asked Questions:  

1. How Long Does It Take To Hike Stairway To Heaven Hawaii?  

Ans: The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii hike has a solid number of 3922 steps. It will take anytime between 2 to 5 hours to climb these famous 3922 steps.
Of course, if you are naturally athletic and used to hikes it will take you around 2 hours, but if you are new to hiking or have a slow pace, it can take you about 5 hours.

2. How Hard Is It To Climb The Stairway To Heaven?  

Ans: The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii hike has been rated difficult, primarily because of the actual stairs.
It is a pretty steep ascent to the Cuilcagh summit – as a result, it is only natural that even the most active of us will end up breaking a sweat or two while climbing the Haiku stairs. In fact, the final climb can knock out the wind out of you – but trust us, it’s worth it.

3. Can Kids Do The Stairway To Heaven?  

Ans: Anyone can climb the Haiku stairs, as long as they are moderately active. Although the final 450 steps can be difficult for many people, the breathtaking views from the top are worth every effort you put in climbing the stairs.
It’s absolutely possible to do this hike with your family – you can spot many children on this hike.

Check out the most frequently asked questions about the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii hike mentioned below.

The Stairway To Heaven Hawaii Hike: Dream And Travel A Little More!  

The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii hike is certainly a rewarding experience – you will have to take the longer, and more importantly safer route to Haiku stairs.

Once you are on top of the stairs, you will understand the hike worth 2 to 5 hours was worth every effort it took on your part. So, what are your thoughts on traveling to the famous Haiku stairs? Or have you already been on the Stairway to Heaven hike? Feel free to share your thoughts and past experiences in the comments below.

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Barsha Bhattacharya

Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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