About Haiku Stairs

The Haʻikū Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven or Haʻikū Ladder, is a steep hiking trail 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 Haʻikū Valley Naval Radio Station was constructed at the peak of Puʻukeahiakahoe, elevation about 2,800 feet (850 m). The antennae transmitted very low frequency radio signals from a 200,000-watt Alexanderson alternator in the center of Haʻikū valley. The signals could reach US Navy submarines as far away as Tokyo Bay while the submarines were submerged.Testers for RCA picked up signals on Long Island, and the signal also reached India, 6,600 miles (10,600 km) away.

When the Naval base was decommissioned in the 1950s, the United States Coast Guard used the site for an Omega Navigation System station. In the mid-1950s, the wooden stairs were replaced by sections of metal steps and ramps — by one count, 3,922 steps. The station and trail were closed to the public in 1987. Some hikers ignore the No Trespassing signs and continue to climb, contributing to the local community’s misgivings about reopening the structure.

In 2003, the stairs were repaired, costing the city $875,000. As of early 2012, land usage rights issues have not been resolved. The City and County of Honolulu has stated that there is currently no plan to open the stairs for public use, citing liability concerns. -Source by Wikipedia


Views from the top:

  • Coastline from Ahuimanu to Kualoa
  • Haiku Valley to Mokapu & Ulupau Head Kaneohe, Oneawa, Lanikai, Kailua, Keolu
  • Hoomaluhia Reservoir
  • Coastline from Kaiwa Ridge to Waimanalo
  • Koolau cliffs from Konahuanui to Makapuu
  • Moanalua Valley trail terminus
  • Halawa Ridge trail terminus

Prominent peaks: Ohulehule, Piei, Manamana, Kanehoalani, Maelieli, Olomana, Lanipo, O’Kona -Source by Wikimapia


  • 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. And when you pass people going the opposite direction you have to step over the side of the rail to let them by.
  • Installed in 1942 to provide access to a then important military radio station, this so called “Stairway to Heaven” guarantees bold travelers breathtaking views from high above the island’s Haʻikū Valley.
  • The hike is comprised of 3922 stairs, is about 2 miles long, and climbs 2200 feet in altitude.
  • The stairs were built in WWII to support an anchor tower for a mile-long ultra-powerful radio transmitter that was supposed to be used to communicate with ships as far away as the Indian Ocean.
  • The original trail was lined with wooden ladders. These were later replaced with wooden stairs, then metal ones.
  • The trail was closed in 1987 due to vandalism. Repairs were made in 2005, but attempts to reopen the trail failed due to intra-government squabbling. -Source by Notunscathed