Kaneohe, Hawaii – Haʻikū Stairs

Photograph by Michael Keany

The Haʻikū Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven or Haʻikū Ladder, is a steep hiking trail in Kaneohe, Hawaii, on the island of Oʻahu. The trail began as a wooden ladder spiked to the cliff on the south side of the Haʻikū Valley.

It was installed in 1942 to enable antenna cables to be strung from one side of the cliffs above Haʻikū Valley to the other. A building to provide a continuous communication link between Wahiawā and the Haʻikū Valley Naval Radio Station was also constructed at the peak (elevation approx. 2,800 feet/850 m). In the mid-1950s, the wooden stairs were replaced by sections of metal steps and ramps; it is estimated that there are nearly 4,000 total steps. In 1987, the station and trail were both closed to the public.

Although closed to the public, this has not deterred people from trespassing and climbing the famous steps. While you can find rough directions online, accessing the stairs has become increasingly difficult as there is now a security guard stationed at the entrance. For a detailed photojournal of the hike, check out this great post on Unreal Hawaii. You can also find tips, reviews and recent experiences on Yelp.

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