Haiku Stairs. Valley in Hawaii, United States

Haiku Stairs

Valley in Hawaii, United States

Haiku Stairs Photo © Michael Keany

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Haiku Stairs

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	Haiku Stairs
Haiku Stairs. Photo by ken tam
The Haiku Stairs, alternately known as the “Stairway to Heaven”, is a 3,922 step staircase that leads up the south side of Haiku Valley (Wikipedia Article) on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The stairs take just a few hours to climb and are considered one of the must-see attractions on the island. From the top of the mountain, the view sweeps for miles showcasing Kaneohe Bay and reaching the Pacific Ocean.

History

While most climb the stairs to take in the ocean view and lush greenery of O'ahu, the stairs are also historical. The original wooden steps were built in 1942 so that naval men could climb to the top of the mountain where the Haiku Naval Radio Station was situated. Cables were run to allow communication between Haiku Naval Radio Station at the peak of Puʻukeahiakahoe and Wahiawā. The antennas ran on frequencies so low that it is said they could be picked up by submarines as far away as Tokyo Bay and India. The original naval base was decommissioned in the 1950s and the site was taken over by the US Coastguard and was used as an Omega Navigation System station. The location is no longer used by the US Coastguard and the stairs became officially closed to the public in 1987.

Many hiking groups ignore the closure and sneak in daily. Despite local reluctance to reopen the stairs to the public, they were repaired in 2003. Since this repair, the steps have again suffered from the weather and are quite treacherous to climb. Stairs and railing are missing, and the foot and hand holdings can be slippery and rusted from constant precipitation on the island.

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	Stairs
Haiku Stairs. Photo by freeship


Additionally, climbing the staircase is considered illegal. Recently the island has been ramping up the guard duty, and if you are caught, the guards are not only giving everyone stern warnings but often at times, they are handing out citations ranging anywhere from $ 100 USD - $ 500 USD depending on the guard that day. This is not meant to detour anyone, but all climbers should be aware of the potential cost should they be caught.

Getting There

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	Stairs
Haiku Stairs. Photo by freeship
Getting to the Haiku Stairs is easy from Honolulu and only takes about 30 minutes. Take the Interstate H-1 W/Lunalilo Fwy ramp to HI-61 N/Pali Hwy. Follow the signs for Interstate H1 W and merge onto I-H-1 W/Lunalilo Fwy. Take exit 20A to merge onto HI-63 N/Kalihi St toward Likelike Hwy. Continue to follow HI-63 N. Take the HI-83/Kahekili Hwy ramp that merges onto HI-83 W (signs for Kahekilli Hwy). Turn left onto Kahuhipa St. Drive through the neighborhood to Kuneki Pl. Find somewhere to park. Walk to the corner of Kuneki St. and Makena St. where the main gate entrance is located.

Once through the gate, continue on the road until you come to the first fork, take a left. Walk along the path until you come to the second fork and take a right. Watch the left side of the pathway for well-worn trail through the grass. Take the trail and continue on through the bamboo until you arrive at a second paved road. Take a left onto the road and follow it until you see the guard station. Take a right into the jungle towards the H-3 freeway. Once you come upon the gate, follow it to the left to reach the stairs.

Similar Hikes on O'ahu

If interested in other great hikes with sweeping panoramic views on O'ahu there is the Olomana Trail or the Diamond Head Summit Trail. Both take just a few hours to reach the summit and offer unimaginable views of the island and ocean.

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Author: ashley.minor. Last updated: Feb 11, 2015

Pictures of Haiku Stairs

Haiku Stairs
Haiku Stairs. Photo by ken tam

Haiku Stairs
Haiku Stairs. Photo by Michael Keany

The descent - Haiku Stairs
The descent - Haiku Stairs. Photo by Oliver Beattie

7/25/14 Haiku - Haiku Stairs
7/25/14 Haiku - Haiku Stairs. Photo by freeship

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