Haiku Stairs aka Stairway to Heaven

I decided to write a separate post about that particular hiking experience in Hawaii, Oahu, because … Haiku Stairs is just the coolest, most spectacular and fun hike I have ever done in my life! I loved every single moment of it, even though beginning was very challenging, due to steep first part of the climb and poor weather conditions. What makes a difference, is good company, excitement and positive attitude, which makes rain, cold, darkness and slippery surface not so scary. But enough talking, let me show you what I saw…

 

You may have heard of this hike. Most people refer to it as “Stairway to Heaven” but the official name, the one you’ll find on the trail head sign, is Haiku Stairs (or Haʻikū Stairs). It’s a steel staircase made up of 4000 steps that ascends a ridge up from the Valley of Haiku near Kaneohe. The steps were built so the military could access a radio station antennae kept up on the mountain during World War II.

Haiku Stairs isn’t the most difficult hike on the island, but the amazing views and the sheer drop offs on either side of the ridge make it one of the most memorable.

PLEASE BE AWARE: This is officially a “CLOSED” trail. This hike is not sanctioned by the state and it is currently illegal to access the trail.  If you attempt this hike you are doing so at your own risk. Trail conditions and accessibility can change daily. Also, hiking can be dangerous and has many potential hazards. 

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We started early (around 3:30am) with hopes of seeing an amazing sunrise from the top. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side and we ended up climbing the stairs to the very top in the dark and rain!

I haven’t seen much at that stage and had to use a head torch in order to climb in those conditions. It wasn’t until we started going down that I actually saw what I have just done!

The first section of the climb is a cardio killer / thigh burner. The stairs are broken up into 4 or 5 sections with platforms to rest on between each. That’s a good thing because it’s not easy to rest on the narrow stairs.

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We reached the top around 5am and waited there for the sunrise, trying to dry our clothes in the meantime (make sure you take a rain jacket with you, something to cover your backpack and spare warm hoody – in case you’re as unlucky as we were).

When by 6:30am it was still cloudy and we could barely see anything, we decided to start our descent. I must admit I was disappointed at that time and close from loosing hope to experience what I was expecting from that hike.

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Going down wasn’t too bad but there are some steep parts. A fear of heights would not be good on this hike. We started our descent into the mist … soon to experience the weather change and to see the most spectacular view, one I will never forget!

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And there it is… THE VIEW !!!

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You get a good view of the H3 highway that cuts through the mountain. I was extremely lucky to catch a stunning rainbow that formed just above the entrance to the tunnel!

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While on the steps the word that I kept repeating in my head as I stared at the views was “unreal”. It still comes to my mind every time I thing about this hike and the whole experience! UNREAL!

 

NOTE: There are currently major access issues with this trail. It’s currently recommended that people do not attempt to hike the stairs. Security guards are making sure this is followed.

 

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