If your New Year’s resolution was to get more exercise, there’s a step-a-thon challenge in Hawaii with a far better view than you’d get at any health club. Located on Oahu, the Ha’iku Stairs are 3,922 dizzying steps winding through and over a tropical paradise. The WWII era trail began as a humble, terrifying, and very long wooden ladder that enabled access to a summit-side radio transmitter. In the 1950s, the Coast Guard took over the site, installing a navigation station atop the mountain and sensible metal stairs to access it. Even though the stairs were closed to the public in 1987, stubborn visitors ignore the No Trespassing signs to get their aerial fix. Checkout this real-life stairway to heaven below.
It’s a mere 2,120-feet from the first step to the top of Mount Puu Keahiakahoe.
Image by WikiCommons
When the angles get extreme on these hills, the stair steps can seem to morph into ladder rungs, recalling the original incarnation of the Ha’iku Stairs. The average slope is 30 degrees. Image by Benson
The stairs underwent a $875,000 renovation in 2003 to make them safe for hikers, but disputes with landowners have prevented opening the trail to the public. Image by Benson
On the way down you’ll see the H3 highway winding around the mountain and the city of Kaneohe. Image by Ken Tam
At just 18 inches wide, turning sideways is a must if you meet hikers heading the other way.
Image by Ken Tam
The stairs begin near a private residential area, where the neighbors are weary of noisy, pre-dawn hikers. If you park near the trailhead, expect to be ticketed. Image by Ken Tam
The Ha’iku Stairs are also called the Haiku Stairs, Haiku Ladder, Pali Ladder, and the Stairway to Heaven. Image by Ken Tam
Many get up well before dawn to hike the trail, not only because of the golden view but also to subvert security guards often posted at the trail entrance. Image by Benson