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hiking
6 hours ago

This was physically demanding but the VIEW was definitely worth the climb. We got there around 1, at the height of the scorching heat which made the ascend that much more difficult. I would recommend doing this early in the morning to beat the heat and the crowd. Jacket would be a good idea since it was windy at the top. Sturdy closed toe shoes are a must. Overall challenging but worth every step of the way.

Aloha! I typically hike up 1-3 times a week. Hiked three times last week. Will be hiking this weekend on both on Saturday and Sunday. I have hiked most of the hikes on this island many many times! I have probably done this particular hike more than anyone else on island. (over 100+ times) It is often windy and/or rainy but we never have issues as we always have the right gear (including microspikes) 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.

Aloha! I typically hike up 1-3 times a week. Hiked three times last week. Will be hiking again this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. 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 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.

You get what is advertised.

hiking
16 hours ago

Amazing Trail! Go early in the morning to avoid the crowd. We went yesterday and arrived at the trail head at 10am. We completed the hike in about 3.5 hours and it was completely clear at the look out point and incredibly beautiful, if you are on the island this week you should go now while the weather is perfect for it. Definitely a VERY muddy hike, you need to be careful to not slip on your way down but it was all doable and there are a lot of walking sticks at the entrance to help you keep balance if needed.

The walk up can be steep in parts but for me it was easier than the way down because I didn't have to worry about slipping as much. We saw a family of goats and a small spotted baby pig on our way back up as well!

I went up recently "the legal backway", it was very muddy and slippery. Crampons(spikes) recommended. I've done this hike many times. Going up this Sunday the 16th. 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 and maybe some layers because it can get pretty windy and wet up top.

I went the other day, it was very muddy and slippery. Crampons(spikes) recommended. I've done this hike many times. Going up this Sunday the 16th. 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 and maybe some layers because it can get pretty windy and wet up top

Fantastic views so def worth a look. Trail is not too difficult but is overcrowded with many non-hikers.

Muddy in traditional Kauai fashion for the winter. Worth it every aspect. Beautiful views along the trail.

Can anyone tell me if this trail is open? I am in Kauai for the week and desperately want to get out to this trail

A different perspective and perhaps a few controversial “hot takes” on this hike (I am referring to the the Moanalua Valley to Ha’iku CCL Station route):
1/ Spikes/crampons are not recommended. Hiking through the Moanalua Valley via the Kamananui Valley Road Trail and on to the Moanalua Middle Ridge past Pu’u Keahi a Kahoe and finally on to the CCL Station (building where the Ha’iku stairs descend into to Ha’iku Valley) does not require micro spikes. I have seen people complete it barefoot and in a variety of inappropriate footwear (i.e. slippahs and skate shoes). That said, the best option is to wear, you know, actual hiking shoes or trail running shoes. The problem with micro spikes is they can damage tree roots. In the lower portions of Middle Ridge they would mostly damage invasive guava but in the upper sections they could be causing harm to Ohia and other endemic plants. Is that the mark you want to leave on Oahu? This trail sees a lot of traffic and is facing issues with erosion, spikes are not helping. If you are really concerned about traction, consider bringing spikes but only wear them along the steepest portions of the ridge. Bring gloves and use your upper body to help you up to the top in the steep sections. I don’t own spikes and would never use them on any trail in the upper Ko’olau. This isn’t the Himalayas.
2/ Use the term Ha’iku Stairs and not Stairway to Heaven; get excited that you will reach the Keahi a Kahoe peak (one of the highest in the Ko’olau) shortly before arriving to the CCL station (the spot at the top of the stairs where you will get some amazing views). This hike should be called the Ha’iku Station hike, reflecting two pieces of the history of this place. So… learn about the history of the Moanalua Valley, the Haiku Valley, and the construction of the stairs. How many have walked right past the petroglyphs in the Moanalua Valley and never noticed them? Learn about a few of the special plants that are only seen near the top of Ko’olau range. This place is not about getting the best Instagram shot. It is about having a great day in nature, getting some exercise, building great memories with friends, and most importantly, showing some respect for the cultural and environmental aspects of Oahu. It is a damn shame that this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJV1U8uPVb0) has 7k views and this one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKVxq7RLN30&t=24s) has 1.2 million views. If only this website was visited by a million people (http://koolaupoko-hcc.org). Stairway to Heaven is a Led Zeppelin song, prefer Kashmir anyways.
3/ The hike does not take that long to complete. People complaining that the “legal” way takes too long are, hate to say it, slow and perhaps unqualified to be on these trails to begin with. I have made it from the neighborhood park to the CCL in 2:15 and the reverse in under 2 hours. I am sure there are some speed demons who have run the Kamananui Valley Road part of the hike as far as the Middle Ridge and made it up in about 90 minutes. Everyone deserves to be able to access this area but stay within your limits, stay safe, and don’t risk getting hurt.
4/ The biggest issue with going the illegal way is you will be trespassing through people’s homes in Kaneohe. The stairs “should” be open the public but they are not. They “should” be managed by DLNR or a preservation organization that ensures maintenance is done but they are not. Mark Zuckerberg should donate $100 million to set up a park that opens the stairs and preserves the history and environment of the area but he has not. I don’t live in this neighborhood but I would be extremely frustrated with the situation if I did. Additionally, the stairs are the not the “tough” way to go. The allure is just that they are illegal and fetishized by the Instagram Imperialists. You get the same views whether you ascend Red Hill, Middle Ridge, Tripler Ridge, Bowman Ridge. The views from the H3 saddle are pretty great if you are more of a novice Hawaii hiker. If you want to be extreme on Windward Oahu there is the Kalihi Saddle or Piliwale Ridge. I have not and won’t climb the stairs until they become legal. Bowman to the KST, past Tripler Ridge, past Haiku Station, down to the H3 Saddle is far more of an adventure and offers the same if not a better series of views and all are on state lands (DLNR Forest Reserve).
5/ You are willing to pay the $1000 fine for the experience of hiking the actual stairs? Really? If you have a grand to just blow consider donating like $50 bucks to Friends of Haʻiku Stairs (https://www.haikustairs.org) who are actually working to save the stairs and the valley for future generations. Consider donating another $50 to the Koʻolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club (http://koolaupoko-hcc.org) who work to preserve Hawaiian culture in the area in and around Hai’ku Valley. Then buy some granola bars at Foodland and do this hike via Moanalua valley and Middle Ridge. There, I just saved you $895.

6/ If you are visiting Hawaii, don’t do this hike unless you are regularly hiking/trail running wherever you are coming from. If you do live here and are just starting to hike I recommend you start with some more intermediate trails first (i.e. Kuliouou Ridge or Moanalua Valley to H3 Saddle). I have had to intervene with directions, escort, and water for lost and/or overwhelmed hikers on multiple occasions in the last year (both in this area an other places on Oahu).
7/ Packing list: 2-3 liters water, high calorie snacks, headlamp & whistle (just in case), extra pair of socks, hat, sunscreen, phone/camera, binoculars, rain jacket for precip. and wind/cold, leather palmed gloves, map/app, another hiker.
8/ Pack out what you bring in and pick up all the additional trash you can; don’t play music from speakers while hiking; hikers on the way down yield to hikers who are on their way up; yield to faster hikers; be friendly to other hikers; offer help to others; be friendly to dogs; be hydrated when you start; park your car properly; cigarette butts are trash too; check the weather before you go; don’t be an Instagram Imperialist.
9/ Get dirty, step in the mud. You are hiking. People trying to avoid mud are causing erosion around the edges of the trail. Often the safest place to step is in the mud in the middle of the trail. If you don’t like mud, go to the mall at Ala Moana.
10/ Have fun and be safe.

Looking to go this weekend (12/15 or 12/16) with a friend. We are looking to meetup with someone who has done it before. DM me at @chaymckay if you’re interested

I’ve hiked the Moanalua valley trail a few times now to the top of the stairs, I try to do it once a month if time permits. If you don’t have crampons I’d suggest getting them for the more rainy days. I’ll be doing this hike again the week of Christmas. My favorite view and hike on the island

hello my name is maximilian, I'll be heading up to the stairs on Monday early morning 12/17/18 if anyone would like to join. I live on island and have never tried heading up the back side to the stairs if anyone is interested in tagging along dont hesitate to direct message me on Instagram (:
@m.aa.x.x

I will climb the Stairway to Heaven with some others on Saturday the 15th for the 308th time. “Haʻikū Stairs v.308”. 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

I will climb the Stairway to Heaven with some others on Saturday the 15th for the 308th time. “Haʻikū Stairs v.308”. 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

3 days ago

Well worth the hike up to the top for amazing views. Great spot for sunrise or sunset. Was fairly busy but everyone has good hiking etiquette. It is pretty tough but not too bad of take your time. Took me 25 mins to get up to the top. There is only one part of the walk that is a little risky with the wooden rail slats having abit of a drop underneath but there is an alternative route at this part

Bad ass trail! The steps are old wooden slats from a rail car line. It can get pretty tough when it gets steeper. Really sketchy part is 15-20 ft drop under the slats for about 30 of em at the midway point.

Great trail too bad it was too misty to see the overlook! i have friends who have done it a handful of times and never seen the overlook. Very muddy.

4 days ago

Great sunrise spot looking out to sea and back over Honolulu. Was really busy even at sunrise with at least 50 people or more. Did this walk on Monday 10th December. Car entry is $5 and if on foot is $1 per person. Definitely worth the price for the views. It toke us 15 minutes to get to the top with no stops.

Dec.8th 2018
When down to see the waterfalls from the Do not pass sign. It is slippery just need to be careful and stay low and go slow :) but you do need to able to hold yourself up with the ropes and trees and able to balance yourself.
Nature is very generous there are tons of trees, veins, roots to hold on to. I managed to go down and up without getting muddy. I didn’t even get mud on my hand.

Seeing this Water falls close by is amazing! It’s so worth the little slipperiness:)

*But it will be very hard to do if you are wearing slippers or sandals.

Physically demanding -1000 steps! But worth it and easier than you’d think. I’m afraid of heights & this didn’t freak me out. It was fine. Views are spectacular

Very hard, but so worth it! You can go at your own pace and when you stop to take a break there is a gorgeous view behind you the entire time. Tricky footing sometimes so keep your hands free! Expect lots of squatting and climbing and the occasional use of hands if you’re clumsy like me. There’s a really great sense of accomplishment at the end!

Relatively easy because it is well paved. Entirely uphill. Very crowded with two way traffic. The biggest issue is that the crowds are mostly tourists who all have different ideas about what side of the trail to be on, how close to be, how much of the trail is ok to fan out on, and how fast to go. There is a stretch of the trail that goes through a cave, which, if you’re the kind of person who gets claustrophobic in elevators, might be a little uncomfortable. Lots of stairs and the viewing platform is very narrow and crowded. View at the top is totally worth it!

Crowded and touristy, but still a classic. I like to go in the late afternoon when most of the tours are gone.

what a great hike! incredible views! wear proper shoes!!!

If you want a hike that gives you views of the ocean and coast and not terribly touristy or hard, this is it.

* Steep from the get go. Bring actual footwear with grip
* Gets windy, people lost hats and shades. I almost did
* Past the second pill box is really overgrown. Bring a machete a wear long pants.

I went to the fourth "pill box" at the 1 mile mark is tiny compared to the first 3. (#1 is by itself, 2 and 3 are together) and after that the trail is really overgrown. I saw some folks ahead of me really struggling so I turned back as I didn't have a machete, or long pants.

Even though this hike is a must see for Honolulu/Oahu it's not much of a "hike" good elevation and workout with a view, that's it.

* WAY too touristy. Lots of folks who have no business going up will be there. No trail etiquette in the slightest
* Paved all the way up. Badly at that. Times were you will trip and fall
* If you're a hiker, take the "hard" route when it comes up. Stairs to get the blood flowing.
* Views are great. Crowded. Tourist spot in tight quarters.

This hike is mostly stairs other then the very beginning and the very top. It can get a bit muddy and is definitely not for someone who doesn't hike/workout regularly. I hike and workout regularly and it winded me.

*Mostly "Stairs" made from an old rail. So not even and not spaced like you would want.
*Gets muddy and slippery after a storm
* Lots of stairs in disrepair and the state should definitely charge for this hike so they can maintain
* The views are amazing. Especially at sunset

#KokonutKoalition
Theres a "Safe Bypass" that this group is pushing about halfway up to save the stairs. I hope they get this word out more.
Notes on the bypass as I took it on so if you plan to here you go
*It has rained so very slippery
*Very steep so you'll be on your butt on the way down
*Overgrown and narrow. I'm 6 foot. Lots of ducking and getting caught/scraped (wearing shorts)

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