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Stairway to Heaven/ Haiku Stairs

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"Don't wait for the perfect moment, take the moment and make it perfect."

Updated: April 3, 2017

Location: Starting in Haiku Village, this trail is ILLEGAL and cops will give out fines if you are caught.

Type: Ridge hike

Hike Difficulty: Intermediate

Total Time: 5 to 6 hours round trip

Distance: ~ 2.2 miles

Elevation: ~2600 feet

Things to Consider

  • Kid friendly: no
  • Pet Friendly: no
  • This hike is ILLEGAL. We are not encouraging anybody to attempt this hike. We are just sharing our adventure with you guys.
  • This hike has 3,922 steps, but hey who's counting?
  • There are five platforms where you can take a break and take in the views.
  • The climb to the first platform is the most difficult. Very steep almost like climbing at ladder at parts.
  • The railings can be very slippery in the morning from the dew and moisture. Bring gloves if you need to.
  • Most of the hike is only wide enough for one person to fit. If you are by passing somebody going up or down, please use caution and do not hang over the edge to let somebody pass! Safety first!
  • The guard will always be there, whether you are going at 3am or 12pm. Be prepared to be stopped.
  • The guard will not give out tickets, but the police will if they are there. Fines can range from $500 to a couple thousand dollars!
  • The cops are extremely fast, and once called will respond and show up within five minutes!
  • There are many ways to access this trail, but they are all illegal and will pass by the guard regardless.
  • The summit of Stairway to Heaven is called Pu'u Keahi A Kahoe.
  • Cloud cover usually starts after the third platform, so if you are trying to catch the sunrise, the third platform would be the best spot.
  • You do not need to wear a jacket heading up. You will be sweating. If you are planning to wait for the sunrise for a couple of hours at the top, pack your jacket and maybe a blanket.
  • Part of the stairs in the beginning was recently broken from a mudslide. The rails are bent and some steps are missing. This is in the beginning part of the hike.
  • The neighbor at the corner house by the gate WILL call the cops when he sees you. He has no mercy for hikers.
  • The Omega Station is also off limits and ILLEGAL. Hike at your own risk.

Your hiking backpack

  • 2 to 3 Liters of water
  • Snacks/lunch
  • Gloves if needed
  • GoPro camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Headlamp/Flashlight

Directions

Take the H-3 or Likelike Hwy towards Kaneohe. Turn left into Haiku Village onto Haiku Road. Continue onto Kuneki St and the gate, will be at the end of the road where it connects with Makena St, with barbed wire over the fence.

Our Journey

Definitely the most talked about hike in Hawaii: Stairway To Heaven/Haiku Stairs! It was built in 1943 during World War II to provide access to buildings at the top of the ridge for transmission stations during the war. The stairs has been closed since 1987, and hikers still continue to journey up to the LORAN radio antenna on top of the mountain. It was deemed as unsafe due to lack of repair. Guards have been posted at the bottom of the stairs for the past decade and sometimes he's not there if you're lucky. But whether you start extremely early at 3am or go late in the afternoon, the guard will still be there. You can see his car in the distance as you are walking towards the base of the stairs. I have done this hike many times, and every time I do it I still get paranoid. Just thinking about how much the ticket will be, always gets to me. However, luckily I have not gotten a ticket yet and hope I never do. (knocks on wood). This particular journey, we got to Haiku Village at around 430am. We took the lesser known route through the ditch and headed into the forest. We came out onto the Haiku Road and seen the guard in the distance. We turned off our flashlights and quietly walked past him. After about ten yards he got out of his car and shined his flashlight on us. He yelled something to us, but we just ignored him and continued on. You eventually see the chain link fence and the base of the stairs. We gradually started gaining elevation. We didn't need our flashlights because the light from the city and stars was enough to illuminate the path for us. The climb got extremely steep within thirty minutes and almost became like climbing up a ladder. There were two or three parts like this. We also passed by the broken part of the stairs. The railings are bent to the side and some of the steps were missing. We went slowly over this part and luckily it wasn't too steep on that part of the trail. We finally reached the first platform after about an hour and the sun was rising soon. We decided we should try to shoot for the second or third platform to catch the sunrise over the water. It took us another thirty to forty five minutes to get to the second platform and the sun peaked over the mountain. Unfortunately it was too cloudy and we couldn't catch the sunrise. We continued on to the third platform. The hike gets easier from here and you reach the third, fourth, and last platform within less than thirty minutes each. We took a lot of photos and reached the top at about 730am. We also climbed up the satellite and chilled for a bit. If you wait a while, the clouds will move and you will get a clear view of Kaneohe! We stayed up for about an hour and then decided to head back down. Two helicopters also flew over us, I guess they were trying to scare us. One looked like a rescue helicopter and another was a police helicopter. We started our decent, which was a lot faster than going up the stairs. As we got down, we waited and watched to see the other hikers pass the guard first. The police are not visible from the stairs because they hide behind the bushes. There was no cops today and we turned left to head to the Omega Station. The Omega Station was also another abandoned building from the war and now has graffiti all over it. The view from the top of the building is epic! This spot is also illegal and there are signs that say camera surveillance in use. This didn't really scare me too much, but I was just worried about heading back out into the neighborhood. The neighbor in the corner house by the fence is mean and will call the cops once he sees you. The cops arrive on the scene within five minutes! We made it out and over the barbed wire fence and the neighbors weren't outside. We made it to our cars and were on our way! Is it worth the risk? I'll leave that for you to decide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our journey up through the dark and to the first platform.

The light was peaking through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting higher and higher up with the H-3 below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were trying to make it up to the third platform before sunrise, but didn't make it.

The sun beat us to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made it up to the second platform and caught the sun peaking through the clouds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of our friends were still climbing up. Come on guys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third platform in plain sight from the second.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the house on the third platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nice window with a view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entering into a different world. Narnia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The roof of the house, actually no roof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ate some snacks back here and continued on up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing on to the forth platform.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Less than ten minutes to here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clouds covered our view below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The views were sick as the clouds rolled in and out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally our journey to the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a little bit further.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The satellite in the distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun continued to rise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Made it to the top!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A look inside the radio tower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to climb up to the top for a better view!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damn these clouds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like I said, wait a little while and the clouds will fade away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking out towards Tripler Ridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking towards the other side, Moanalua Saddle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last clear view before heading back down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many nice views the whole way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can't believe how clear the view was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heading down was a lot faster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Hik3beasthawaii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took a lot more pictures below the second platform since we were down there in the dark earlier this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost down to the first platform already!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back at the way we came!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going down...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another cool spot for a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group selfie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first platform!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The clouds were looking crazy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing views! Another great spot to relax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was the broken part of the stairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the railings were bent. Crazy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We waited here for a bit to see what the guard would do to the hikers below us.

Caution is key!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guard didn't do anything so we continued on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued on past the guard and took a left. If you wanna get back to the gate faster, take the bamboo forest route right next to the left of the guard shack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of heading to our cars, we decided to check out the Omega Station!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lots of graffiti and abandoned rooms here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued up to the second floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside the Omega Station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a cool room to check out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only light coming in was through the hole in the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And up to the next floor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting graffiti art here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many rooms to explore here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Koolaus and H-3 in the distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We climbed up two ladders to the top of the building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Epic views! Although the floor feels like it's going to fall apart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Way above the trees. Mission accomplished!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views all the way to Kaneohe Bay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay time for a nap before heading back to our cars.

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