2585 ft / 788 m
8 / 10
7 / 10 (Moderate)
Stairway to Heaven, aka Haiku Stairs, is probably the most well known hike on Oahu. These stairs are government property and therefore illegal to climb. For years people, indifferent to the regulations, would play cat and mouse with the residents on Haiku Road, leading to the hire of security guards and then increasingly stringent enforcement of the regulations, until the stairs became almost impossible to hike. Now, if you are caught coming back down the stairs, which is typically where they snag you, you are subject to at least a $1000 fine and, the real kicker, are required to appear in court. So if you're not from oahu, have fun buying another plane ticket back to Hawaii.
There is, however, a better way to get to Stairway to Heaven. There is a ridge line up the back of the mountain called "Middle Ridge" that is completely LEGAL. The trail for Middle Ridge starts at the Moanalua Valley Park. There is street parking, but this is a residential areas so please respect the people who live here because if the neighbors get pissed, they will implement the same barriers as the Haiku Road residents.
The first 2.5 miles are pretty flat and follow along and gravel path with cement water crossings. There should be about 17 of these water crossings before you reach the Kulana’ahane Trail. DO NOT take this trail, instead walk up another 15 ft, cross the stream and look for an overhanging branch with "Middle Ridge" carved into it. If you found this then you're in great shape. Start climbing the ridge line. As you get higher, the mud will typically become more and more damp, so it usually best to go after drier periods. Even if it isn't raining below, the clouds surrounding the mountain tops will drop some moisture on the mountain so wear appropriate footwear.
Once you get to the peak of the Moanalua Valley Middle Ridge Trail, you’ll see the Haiku Stairs radio tower up on your left. From here it is just a short half mile hike to get to the top of the stairs. Again, getting caught on the stairs is considered trespassing and subject to fine and court appearance, so go at your own risk.
Do not hike after wet periods. Crampons recommended.
You are parking in a neighborhood. Please be mindful of noise until you are on the trail.
This hike gets exponentially more crowded and hot the later you go in the morning.