The Haiku Stairs, also referred to as the Stairway to Heaven or Haiku Ladder, is a steep hiking trail on the south side of the Haiku Valley on the island of Oahu. It is popular among adventure seekers and hiking enthusiasts. However, the Haiku Stairs is not open to the public because of legal access issues.
Nevertheless, No Trespassing signs, fences, locked gates, and guards do not deter hikers from sneaking into the trail to experience its 3,922 steps and breathtaking views. The excitement of doing something "illegal" plus the fact that you have to tackle very steep slopes, some near-vertical, to reach the top makes the trail even more alluring to the adventurous.
The stairs are actually a series of metal ladders bolted together and mounted to the ridge with stakes. While it can look intimidating, hikers say that it is not the most difficult trail on the island, thanks to the side rails that can be used to hoist one's self up to the stairs and keep him from falling off the ravine. Inexperienced hikers, however, must think twice before venturing into its steps as some parts of the climb are certified cardio killer and thigh burner. Make sure to do some serious stretching before the hike if you don't want to get sore for a week!
There are several platforms along the trail where hikers can catch their breath, rest and enjoy the stunning views. The stairs is quite narrow and only allows for one-way traffic. If you happen to meet hikers coming from the opposite direction, be reminded that those on their way down have the right of way. Thus, climbing hikers should step over the railings to make way.
If you are planning to take a Haiku Stairs adventure, bear in mind that the trail is officially closed. Aside from tackling barbed wire fences, you will also have to come before the crack of dawn and before the guard shows up. Proceed at your own risk!