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

hawaii Map
VIEW FULL MAP

I will climb the Haʻikū Stairs, aka Stairway to Heaven, this week for the 300th time. It will be a special anniversary climb. I’m stoked!

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 Haʻikū Stairs, aka Stairway to Heaven, this week for the 300th time. It will be a special anniversary climb. I’m stoked!

A little compare and contrast:

Kokohead Crater Trail carries more of an in-moment thigh burn than the Haʻikū Stairs, partly because the hand railing on the stairs enable you to disperse the work between arms and legs.

The post-hike soreness between the two hikes is about the same.

If you were able to walk (rather than crawl) across the ‘bridge’ on Kokohead, then you are prepared to enjoy the sense of elevation on the Haʻikū Stairs.

Kokohead is more dry, the stairs are more lush.

Kokohead is a great high, but second to the Stairway to Heaven.

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.)

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

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
14 hours ago

Just did this hike yesterday with my wife and friend. We hiked out around 0400 to make it for sunrise at the 1st peak. Made it faster than we thought hiking in the dark. We made it in about an hour, so we waited for sunrise for awhile and made some coffee with my jet boil during sunrise. Clear night with a cool breeze so it made it an awesome time. Views were awesome at night. Did this hike a few times already but always during the day. My goal was to replace the sketchy ropes and straps that were their on the 2nd peak. You will now find that there is a 3k lb tow strap connected by heavy duty steel D rings attached to 500 lb synthetic yellow rope with anchor points every 1.5 ft. on the rope. It’s 200ft of rope and gets you exactly to the bottom of the 2nd peak. 3rd peak didn’t really need any ropes to be replaced. There are two stopping point going down the 2nd peak and you will notice these points. It’s basically where some of the old ropes ended or tied off. I caution everyone going down one at a time due to break limits on ropes. You can stop and yell up for the next person to come down at each of the stop points. You can’t miss it. You can’t miss the bright yellow rope as well. I tried to make it a bit safer so I hope everyone enjoys.

anyone in today or tomorrow for the stairs? would be a pleasure for me and my wife to join. hit me up on insta: made86made.
cheers marc

hiking
16 hours ago

ABSOLUTELY STUNNING VIEWS!
The beginning of the hike was muddy but very mild. Maybe a third of the way up, the hike got quite a bit steeper but was still relatively easy. The top third of the hike has a bit of rock climbing with ropes to help you get up. You’ll know you’re near the top once you are climbing the spine, where you see cliffs straight down on both sides of you.
Once you reach the top, you’ll see the most absolutely stunning views of Oahu. 100 percent worth it! Leave yourself enough time to get down before sunset or you’ll be doing some rock climbing in the dark!

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 either Saturday or Sunday. 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

Did the stairs today, not the back way but straight up and down the stairs. The views every step up got better and better! I've done this one a few times and it is definitely one of the best hikes on the island! . If anyone has questions about the hike message me IG at Mdod89 or Snap mdogp1989.
Mike

Very tough but good workout. Bring water!
Rail ties are worn out throughout trail so have a good balance coming down.

Aloha! I will be hiking tomorrow/Tuesday and possibly Thursday as well. I typically hike up 1-3 times a week. Went last week 3 times. 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.

Taking the legal route this morning around 7-7:30 am after I get off from work. I have tried the back route twice and it is unbelievably easy to get lost but I believe I finally trial and errored the correct path this time around. I always come accross groups that just turned around because they couldn’t figure out the right path to the stairs. I will also be going on the stairs then returning back through the legal route. It is probably too late but email justindavidsands@gmail.com if you are interested.

Kid friendly easy hike to the Kaniakapupu ruins. 10-15 minutes to get to the ruins. Muddy and lots of mosquitoes.

This hike is very lovely through the forest and along a few streams. We parked near the Hawaii Nature Center to begin the hike, and headed to the left (counterclockwise) to hike the loop. It is wet and somewhat muddy but very enjoyable. The trees will cover you from the rain and/or sun.

My husband and I hiked the stairs "the illegal front side" this last jan. 2018, but due to us leaving home on an early flight we were not able to finish the hike. This jan is our anniversary and we're coming back to conquer the stairs. If anyone else is going up this coming jan. we would love to join more ppl going up!

hiking
4 days ago

Amazing hike, a little dangerous but the views are worth it.

hiking
5 days ago

we (casual hikers but physically very fit) did the full loop clockwise and it was definitely more challenging than we would have expected. several things we would advise to make the experience more enjoyable for you:
- expect to walk through mudd quite a bit and expect to fall/slip several times
- wear pants or be ok with very scratched shins
- there are a few steep pitches where you have to use a rope that was attached
- it will take 4-5 hours. anyone who was faster did not do the full loop or is insanely fit and a seasoned hiker
- seriously reconsider doing this if it has been raining a lot and definitively don't do it in anything but broad daylight
- maybe bring a few pink ribbons, the trail is mostly well marked but could do with a few more markings here and there
- the top part has serious vegetation and is not that far from even requiring a machete (you don't need one!)

Absolutely amazing views. Don’t let the stairs scare you. They will burn. You may cry (I was about to...) but the views at the end make every minute worth it. Take breaks know your limits and good luck!!!

I would totally do this hike, main reason there was NO crowd. A good workout, nice views but do be careful it is muddy and gets slippery.

Not an easy feat....as a rookie hiker I was moved to tears at the amazing view and at the overwhelming pride in my accomplishment.
Don’t quit!! It’s worth it

This was actually a great site to see but the trailhead in this app is very very misleading. A hidden gem if you can find it!!!

hey hiking ohau fans. I am looking for people who would like to join me on that. I will be in Ohau from the 8th until 21th of November. Hit me up on Insta @made86made. Would be amazing to meet some nice people and enjoy the hike - Marc

Okay so my husband I went to check out this trail for an easy hike. It was not too hard to find with the instructions of past reviews, we made it out to the ruins quickly but couldn’t seem to find where the trail continued from there. There’s a more open field to the right of the ruins and many areas that could lead to possible continuations of the trail, but we decided to turn back due to us feeling overwhelmingly bad vibes or “juju” as we like to say, as well as hearing what sounded like gun shots and we didn’t want to risk getting lost on out in the middle of the forest. Come to find out, this trail is actually known to be haunted!! Google it!

Hey! Looking to hike the stairs on the Nov 12th and would love go with someone that has done it before or anyone that wants to come with. DM me on instagram @mrschechter

anybody going tomorrow? fun flight attendant here and I'd love to join you!

402-515-8388 @hannah_likebanana on instagram!

hiking
7 days ago

Definitely a challenger but worth every moment! DO NOT QUITE! I listened to music which made it not as bad. You can do it.

You will definitely feel the burn with this hike lol. Very rewarding at the end with beautiful views and nice Hawaiian breeze lol. Make sure to wear good shoes with grip. Don’t forget the sunscreen and water!

Wow! This trail is awesome. Dress to get wet. Bring about a camelback’s worth of water. Bring some high calorie snacks. Don’t wear shoes you don’t want saturated in rich brown mud. There are parts of the trail that made me wish I had cleats on my shoes. The lower part of the hike can be pretty hot, but the peaks are relatively cool because of the breeze. If it is overcast or raining then it will feel great, but the mud will be even slicker. Kids can make it to the waterfalls, but they would have to be pretty touch to complete the rest. Safe travels!

Pretty good hike! Up hills through tall grass! Bugs swarmed in the thick trees. Hoping to go back when the grass is trimmed so we can see where we walked! Nice views.

hiking
10 days ago

What a challenge and what a view.. totally worth the mud and sweat!

Favorite hike so far Mountain Man Ray

Hey guys,
My hubby and I will hike the Haiku Stairs from Moanalua Valley on Nov 25th or 27th. Looking for someone who's done it before and knows the route to accompany us. Or if anyone else want to join let me know. @kimay71
Cannot wait to visit beautiful Hawaii for our first time... I already know it won't be the last!!!

Load More