Explore Bucket List - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Bucket List Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Hard, but worth every bit of sweat!

Terrific hike!

Very nice hike and beautiful summit view. The trail was not very muddy, but after a rain it may get very slippery in some steeper sections. Overall it was a rewarding hike.

Hello, my fiance & I are looking into hiking up the stairs for the first time towards the end of January. If anyone who has experience doing this hike is available to escort & go up with us, we would really appreciate it please email maggie.bishop2010@yahoo.com.

Hello all names Eddie, first off we have not done this hike at all buttt myself and a friend is planning to hike up the stairs and back the down the back way or vice versa this Friday, January the 18th...is there anybody out there with the same plans that at least have done the hike so we can join you please reach out thank you and we will make sure to be there in time ready to tag along lol ... justeddie007@googlemail.com ... again thanks

I typically hike up 1-3 times a week and have been doing so for almost 3 years now. Went up 5 of the last 11 days. Had a fun time going up today! I will be going again on Thursday, Friday, and this weekend too. I have hiked most of the hikes on this island many many times! It is often windy and/or rainy but we never have issues as we always have the right gear (microspikes and gloves) which is supplied by me when we go. If you're looking to hike and want to link up or get some ideas of what this trail looks like feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram @mike.karas or mikekarasphotography@gmail.com. Bring plenty of water for this hike and other hikes out here in Hawaii

hiking
15 hours ago

Great hike, with beautiful views! Short and to the point. Try to start the hike prior to 9 am and you won’t be cooked out by the sun. Easy to get to and there is parking. Easy to miss the trail when driving it’s located about 9 light poles from the last intersection you turn on. Enjoy!

Hiked January 2019,
This was a great trail. It started off a little sketchy just because you have to enter the trail in the back of government property complete with construction workers and warning signs telling you not to enter. There are probably a number of ways to reach the top, but I’m sure if you follow the actual river coming from the water fall you won’t miss it.
It’s pretty dog friendly and off of the beaten path so it makes good for a cool evening stroll.

hiking
muddy
21 hours ago

I would say this is tougher than the rating but only due to the fact I carried about 30+ extra pounds on my back (baby+carrier). The “waterfall” wasn’t anything really worth the trip today but the view overall is amazing. The hike was up and down challenging and was a good workout overall. I’m sure there’s more of a waterfall when there’s more rain but not on a day like today.

I went up on Saturday. it's been pretty clear up top the last few times I went. I have done this hike many times. If you want to avoid getting fined/arrested I will be going up this weekend the legal backway. I have some clean up to do up there.
In my opinion going up the stairs all the way gets boring, the backway is more of an adventure and there are better views. It can get pretty muddy and windy. Crampons(spikes) recommended, I do have some spare spikes.
If interested send me a message on instagram @angelo_q or email me at chicolo@hotmail.com for details. Make sure to bring plenty of water and food.

This is not an easy hike! Several older hikers had to turn back. AllTrails has a tendency to underestimate the hikes. The falls at the top are tall but not too much water. It’s not Yosemite falls. You’re not suppose to go in the small pool at the bottom of the falls. Lots of steps to the top make it strenuous. When it’s flat then it’s easy. Very slippery and muddy because the trail is in shadow.

hiking
1 day ago

Nice, well maintained trail but very muddy towards the end. Recommend clocking your milage because you can walk for over a mile and not see anyone. Also, recommend not starting later than 4 pm as there are places the trail gets very dark due to the wooded areas

Aloha! I typically hike up 1-3 times a week and have been doing so for almost 3 years now. Went up 5 of the last 11 days. Had a fun time going up today! I will be going again on Thursday, Friday, and this weekend too. I have hiked most of the hikes on this island many many times! It is often windy and/or rainy but we never have issues as we always have the right gear (microspikes and gloves) which is supplied by me when we go. If you're looking to hike and want to link up or get some ideas of what this trail looks like feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram @mike.karas or mikekarasphotography@gmail.com. Bring plenty of water for this hike and other hikes out here in Hawaii

Easily one of the more enjoyable routes Ive done. I didnt see another person on the trail until I was nearly back to the trailhead. Bring lots of water, wear long pants to avoid scratches.

worth it! not anyone there with us when we got there. mostly up hill but super easy

Beautiful scenery! We all loved this hike! The light mist was refreshing!

very fun trail. it can be very muddy and dangerous. great views and a nice challenge

This hike has a very steep incline for about the whole time. Must be in shape and have good stamina. After you hit 2.5 miles there are many climbs which require use of ropes. If you have never been on a hike with ropes, I recommend turning around. Great views about the whole time looking over the west side of Oahu.

hiking
2 days ago

This was a challenging hike for me, but in a great way. It was my first “long” hike. It is more than four miles though for sure. My fitness watch registered 6.8.
The trail is very clear, and at some places narrow and steep, and if it has been raining the mud is something fierce. The views at certain spots are phenomenal. Bring lots of water and maybe a snack because like I said, it’s a long one. It took my inexperienced self around three and a half hours total. As others have mentioned PARK NEAR THE CAMPGROUNDS PARKING LOT. The incline from the exit of the trail up to the higher parking area is STEEP and not great after a 6-7 mile trek.

2 days ago

Awesome but there are sketchy spots and difficult when muddy
Fun though!

Gorgeous hike got lost at the top of the crater. Don’t if you don’t want to go all the way around once you get to the top hang a left of the creek before the crater and it will take you back down.

This was a really great hike very worth it for the views at the top. It is definitely no joke, especially if you complete the crater and don’t take the shortcut after the third waterfall.

birding
3 days ago

Great hiking but watch out for the off-road vehicles. Look for whales on hike. Albatross nests at point and monk seals on beach.

hiking
3 days ago

This trail is a very nice loop trail. It is, overall a good beginner trail. I definately recommend parking in the lower parking lot near the campgrounds, especially if you bring small kids. The loop ends there. If you park at the trailhead, you will have to walk up a steep section of road after you come off the trail to get back to your vehicle. the scenery is awesome. The tree canopy provides shade through almost the entire trail. Check the weather before you go, as the trail gets pretty muddy after a rain. This creates a more treacherous walk in certain areas. Overall, We loved this trail and will surely do it again.

I will climb the Stairway to Heaven with some others tomorrow, January 13th, for the 317th time. “Haʻikū Stairs v. 317” - I can’t wait! :)

My most recent post on Instagram @Hawaii_Mountain.Man.Matt gives an idea for one impactful photo angle.

5 things about stairway:

(1) It is illegal, but not unsafe.

In 70+ years there have been no falling deaths on the stairs. Compare that to 54 air rescues on diamondhead last year. By total death count, the Stairway to Heaven could be Oahu’s safest trail. (Although it still deserves caution.)

(2) Contribute to what you love.

I clean every three days on average, but it builds up fast. To make it convenient to carry trash out, bring a bag so you don’t soil your pack.

Poop: bury it or squat over a one-gallon bag, toss the wipes in, press the air out, tripple bag and pack it out like a diaper.

(3) Take it easy on the neighbors.

Most locals are friendly, but some are understandably aggressive. Blood has spilled over this hike more than once in the past year. You cannot be too careful.

(4) Plan your hike and hike your plan.

The most common Haʻikū Stairs story is:

“We went to bed at 11pm, woke up at 2am and tried to get in, but got caught by police. When we got back to the hotel we slept. We really wanted to take a picture on the stairs so we decided to go the ‘back way’. It was harder than we expected, and when we got to the top we decided we needed to take the stairs down because we would rather get the ticket than die.”

If you are considering going the legal way, choose companions who will be willing to return down the legal way also. You can easily get a ticket coming down the stairs.

Except under special circumstances, I normally do not guide the ‘back way’. There is another guide who provides equipment and coaching for that experience.

a. The ‘back way’

Legal access hours to Moanalua Valley Trail are 7am - 7pm with the same ticket as the front way if you’re caught after hours. I recommend starting right at 7am because it’s safer to not rush on the mountain. If you think you’re lost, take the only certain way out - which is to turn around. It’s easy to find yourself in a life-threatening position on the trails behind Haʻikū Stairs.

If you want to see sunrise or sunset, I recommend beginning at noon and sleeping over. The mountain is usually cold, rainy, misty and windy, so prepare accordingly. A good insulating mat is a must if you plan to spend the night.

‘Good’ hiking shoes are NOT sufficient. I recommend soft rubber ‘hiking cleats’, a GPS device, cautious confidence, and enough internal fortitude to enjoy your activity rather than merely survive it.

Ask me for detailed ‘why’s behind shoe criteria.

b. The stairs.

If you’re considering the stairs, it is important to be personally and professionally prepared for the legal exposure, and know which actions increase that risk.

The financial setback usually begins around $5,000 depending on legal fees, travel expenses, fines. If there is any impact on professional life it can be 100x that. I recommend handling this decision carefully.

Send me a message at Facebook.com/MatthewKievlan for advice there.

(5) Linger in the mountain.

People think I go for the epic view, but when we go upstairs they slowly begin to recognize their own reflection in nature. They resonate with the energetic blueprint of a place so majestic and discover new light to admire in their soul.

As we climb, energy begins to grow in us and melts our physical senses, opening us to sense spirit. We become immersed, perhaps because we have ‘stepped into’ the experience 3,922 times, as we move from civilization to heaven.

After a while at the top, our group fades into shock (in a good way) and stays that way for the rest of our journey. Like a broken record, every time I hear: “We researched it, but we could have never guessed it would be so good. ‘This’ makes it so much more than a hike.” Always with smiles; sometimes in tears.

Most visitors get to the top, take their best photos, and head back down. (I suggest studying which photo angles make the best statements before you hike.)

When you get to the top, don’t leave quickly. Lean back and enjoy the main event.

The magic begins when you settle in with comforts to look back on your work - while still in the environment of it.

We create space at the top with good scents and music to soak in the bliss of it. We write our names, revel in the story of this day, and relax on memory foam pads inside clean fuzzy jackets tasting wine paired to warm Vermont maple syrup on nutmeg French Toast.

If you start down right away, the noise of civilization dominates the fragile nuances of truth you uncovered along the way, before they have time to set into your memory.

Reflection in-space is the actual gem of the experience. Even after so many times, I haven’t gotten tired of it. Once we begin up, I’m lost on it too!

Aloha,
@Hawaii_Mountain.Man.Matt

hiking
3 days ago

A good distance. I did get dirty but it was well worth it...the area is pretty. The weather was amazing and the elevation isn’t bad at all; almost flat compared to other hikes I’ve complained.

I took my 10, 9, and 5-year olds on this hike and they managed better than I did! It has some great views during the first half, and then gets quite steep as you descend to the pools. Lots of folks were jumping off and doing pull-ups on the ropes that cross the water - it was fun to watch. It was very dry the day we hiked, which meant that the steep parts (hard-packed dirt) were extremely slick. We fell on our butts a few times, just due to skidding out. I will say I saw a few people hiking barefoot, or with Crocs - would not recommend that. It took us almost three hours RT, but that was with some snack breaks, and lots of time at the bottom of the trail to watch the jumpers. It was fairly busy on a Saturday, but not obnoxious -- and definitely not as crowded as Manoa falls. Don't be tricked by the first 0.8 miles -- really easy and fun. Then it gets quite steep... Definitely try it wth kiddos - they will like it a lot (if you continue tossing in the breaks for granola bars and fruit snacks!).

Great hike! A little muddy in certain spots but good steady incline and loop.

hiking
3 days ago

Parking - we had to park about 0.7 miles away on the street. We hit the trailhead at 1pm. We only expected to be able to accomplish 1 peak (we are very experienced hikers but have heard how crazy this hike is and were actually scared to even do it), but ended up doing all 3!! It took us 6 hours from when we left my car to when we got back, we were stuck in the dark on the way back using flashlights on our phone, so start early!!

People hesitate to do the third peak because they see the drop down from the second peak, and it’s sort of an optical illusion. It does look like you drop off the cliff with a rope but don’t worry there are rock edges to put your feet the whole way down. I will say though, coming back from the third peak and back up the second peak was terrifying. You are bouldering, and I saw my life flash a few times. We also saw a trail of blood the whole way back up.

Just getting to the top of the first peak is a grueling hike in itself and has the best views of the hike, so if you’re uneasy I think you should stick to the first and feel accomplished of all of your hard work!

Took my wife and daughter on this path. We went slow, tracing the coast line on the way out for approx 60 mins, then turned around and used the primary “trail” on the way back. The “trail” is basically a road - ranging from gravel to a dirt road with lots of large pot holes. If they allowed it, taking a 4x4 would be a lot of fun.

The scenery is beautiful. Ocean, with huge crashing waves on one side, soaring, green mountains on the other.

The path is not hard at all. Saw lots of little kids.

If you want to appreciate the north shore waves, do this hike. Plus, plenty of parking.

Load More