The Notoriously Illegal 4,000-Step ‘Stairway To Heaven’ In Hawaii Is Pure Insanity

Updated: It’s called the Haiku Stairs, also known as the (Stairway to Heaven Hawaii), and it has one of the most breathtaking views on the entire planet.

However, that view comes with a price… because it’s actually illegal to climb. The stairway was originally installed during World War II so military could access a radio station antennae that sat roughly 2,000 feet up in the mountains.

Located on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, this staircase, which reaches a peak of nearly 3,000 feet, is forbidden by the Hawaiian government due to liability issues and land access problems….. a guard was even present during the day (though many people now say the guard is gone).

The majority of the trek haiku stairs is nearly vertical

haiku-stairs-7photo credit: Miguel Toralba / See More

You wouldn’t want to look down

haiku-stairs-2photo credit: Miguel Toralba / See More

Even with all the restrictions, it doesn’t stop the thrill seekers, they say it’s worth the risk of being arrested. There are many parts to the hike that are pretty terrifying, but one of the scariest moments are early on, when you’re forced to climb a ladder vertically up a steep mountain.

There’s 4,000 stairs in total

haiku-stairs-hawaii-stairway-to-heaven-9photo credit: Art La Flamme

The view is absolutely worth it

haiku-stairs-hawaii-stairway-to-heaven-11photo credit: Brock Roseberry

Now the sad part…. Just recently a powerful storm damaged most of the stairs making it now almost completely inaccessible in some spots…. the entire fate of the stairs is now up in the air unless community organizations come together to fix it—> *Update on this below.

Many people start the hike early in the morning when it’s still dark so they can catch the sunrise

haiku-stairs-hawaii-stairway-to-heaven-13photo credit: Michael Keany

The steps up the steep mountain actually use to be all made of wood… if you can believe it. However, in the mid 1950’s those wooden steps were replaced with sections of metal steps and ramps totaling approximately 3,922. Just imagine walking around on wooden steps, that would be even more terrifying.

I’m not sure I would ever leave this place

A photo posted by Sun Islands (@sunislandscom) on



 As you can tell… it’s well worth the risk. Just look at that view!


Someones even added a swing at the top

A photo posted by Veronica Hutton (@pd_rawr) on

A photo posted by Caressa Frietz (@caressame) on

A photo posted by @cq__ on

Here’s a video of the entire trek:

According to Fox News, “in October, a nonprofit organization, Friends of Haiku Stairs, laid out a plan to collect revenue from tourists and local hikers, which would fund reconstruction and subsidize maintenance costs, reports Pacific Business News. They’re proposing a plan that includes a $100 fee for out-of-state visitors, and a $5 to $20 fee for Hawaiian residents.”

You can keep up-to-date over at their website. If you thought the Haiku Stairs were crazy, check out the 7 most extreme stairs from around the world.

No Responses