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

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Aloha! I typically hike up 1-3 times a week for almost 3 years now. Went up 7 times in the last 13 days. I will be going again tomorrow on Monday, other weekdays this week and this upcoming weekend as well. 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 and gloves) which are 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.

This was one of those trails where you think you’re gonna be done 800 times but it’s never ending. It’s super slippery. Lot of rope climbing. My watch recorded that it was over 5.2 miles. This hike took a total of 8.5 hours (there and back). So bring a lot of water and leave early. P.S there are wild boars within the first 2.5 miles of the trail. Be careful. Stairs are amazing but honestly if I ever go again it’ll be illegally cause that hike is not worth it!

I'm just coming down from the trail January 19 2019... the hike up there was amazing, it had awesome views but unfortunately it was very cloudy at the top. if you plan to do this hike obviously like any other be careful, there are some sketchy spots but hold on tight and look at every step you take. The stairs are a beating but worth it!!

Heya! I'm looking to do this hike on Feb 19th or 20th. If anyone is interested in joining or already planning the trek, let me know! Canadian on vacation looking to get some pre-frisbee tourney adventure in! Reach me at aaron_zucker@hotmail.com or @aaron.zuck

I've been going every weekend. 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 this 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

Aloha, planning to hike this trail after Eminem concert next month. Shooting for February 16 or 17. Looking for experience hiking buddies to do it with us. Beer and dinner on me after! DM me on my IG @ mytravellovebug

Hi ! I would like to do this hike tomorrow, I’m in Hawaii with my friends but they don’t really want to go because of the difficulty of this hike. So if you want to do it with a French hiker contact me on Instagram : theo_mrc

I typically hike up 1-3 times a week for almost 3 years now. Went up 5 times in the last 11 days. Had an awesome time going up today! I will be going again this Thursday, Friday, and this upcoming weekend. 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 and gloves) which are 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.

Beautiful, challenging, slippery, and a grind. Did it one year ago. I am in my 60s and trained. It was an excellent challenge, every step requires focus. You will be present or else.....

Grueling as a day trip. Break it up over a few days and camp while you’re in the valley. Pack light with lots of water.....

Gorgeous but still very grueling.

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

Aloha!... Planning on hiking this trail tomorrow...
I see a few other people are also going to be on the trail. Hit me up on instagram @pushing_further if your keen to link up

Aloha! Planning on doing this hike on Sunday!
If anyone wants to join - dm @vikanilsen on insta :)

Spectacular hike! I loved every minute of it. The views are breathtaking and the silence was golden. I was the only person in site for 90% of the hike.

Fantastic and beautiful hike. We went up past Saturday and were lucky we missed the rain and most of our view at the top was unobstructed by clouds.

NB: The description says that at the 2.5 mile point, take a left. I found this confusing as at exactly 2.49 miles in, there is an unmarked trail leading to the left. Luckily I met someone who was familiar with the trail and they told me that a lot of people erroneously take this path, leading to them getting lost (I met one unfortunate soul who had done this). About 300ft beyond this unmarked left, you will meet a river crossing, marked with signs. Cross the river instead of taking this unmarked left. The trail continues unambiguously from here.

The hike is not for the faint of heart. The first 3 or so miles is relatively easy, then what follows is much ridge hiking, next to some pretty shear drops. There are also some near vertical stretches with rope climbs. We climbed it without shoe spikes or crampons, but in wetter conditions, these would have been very useful (weather at the top can vary drastically from Honolulu and Kailua weather).
It is a somewhat tough hike, but one that can be followed pretty easily without paying for local guides (the only confusing part being mentioned about), though they will generally lend you shoe spikes for the hike.

I then continued to hike down and up half of the stairs, but hiking the stairs is still ILLEGAL.

For anyone not too phased by the rope climbs, I would definitely recommend this hike.

We were planning on going to this hike again this year, January 2019, but the road just past Hanalei town is closed to through traffic. We parked and walked for about 1/2 a mile to get a look at the construction/work going on. Only trucks and heavy machinery, hauling lots of dirt, moving large rocks etc. heard it is closed until Summer of 2019. I believe some people will still get there by sea, but once open, that trail is going to be a bit more tough as the foot traffic will be about 95-98% less than normal for roughly a year.

Hey there!
I have planned to do this hike the legal way on 14th Jan (as early start time as I can muster). I have not done this hike before and am looking for a buddy to go up with. DM me on IG @deevsingh to suss it out.
Kia ora!

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 tomorrow Saturday the 12th this legal backway.
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.
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.

Anybody planning to hike this trail between the dates of Jan 24-28 and dont mind me tagging along??? Pls hit me up :) ig @dhnmrk

Stellar hike and views! Very muddy, and I caught it on two consecutive days without rain—which I’ve been told is unusual. Microspikes recommended. Could hike in and out as a beastly day trip, and I even saw two people trail running it. Keep your tent zipped at all times to avoid centipede bites!

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 Saturday the 12th this legal backway.
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.
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

Planning to hike this trail while in Oahu! I'm looking for anyone interested as well! So far I have January 13, 16 or 17 available for hiking! Let me know if you are interested in joining :) @ knsmith3@ualberta.ca

Loved this trail but did sliding sands to halema'u trail and hitchhiked back up. it's a long 11 miles but amazing and ever changing terrain. I did the sliding sands down and back up last time and it was extremely difficult due to the altitude between 9,000 and 10,000 feet. Finished sliding sands > halema'u in about 6 hours while taking a decent amount of breaks.

My boyfriend and I will be hiking this trail feb 1-3 if anyone’s interesting in meeting up or doing it together Give me a message 19028741724 or insta katieholmesxx . Would love to hike with a few others !!

hiking
13 days ago

This was the hardest trail I've ever done and I was notably unprepared. It's really not anything you can physically train for in my opinion. Its not a muscular thing, its definitely and elevation thing. I did this hike yesterday and today my muscles feel great, so its not that kind of strain. I've been doing 4000 footers in New Hampshire and some US high points, where you gain 4000+ feet of elevation, but let me tell you, elevation sickness is no joke. This was my first time breaking 10k feet and I noticed even at the visitors center haha. I felt out of breath, dizzy, nauseous and exhausted the entire hike. Breaks help but only a little. I usually dont even drink the 2 liters I bring on other mountains but I drained 3Ls half a mile from the summit. Bring more food and water than you think you need! It took me about 5.5 hours to reach the summit, be prepared for cold and wind! That being said, I learned the hard way that elevations effect me, hopefully you're luckier than I am :)

LOST GO PRO - lost my go pro somewhere at the bottom of the stairs probably through the bamboo forest/ canal area. We took so many pictures on it. If someone finds it please text me 407-902-3341. Thanks!

Hi,
I'm going to be doing this hike tomorrow. What are the options for parking ?

Looks great! I'll be in Honolulu Jan 21-26. Would love to hike up to the stairs via the Moanalua Valley trail. Anyone want to join me? DM me on instagram @doc.shail or email me mrigank.shail@gmail.com

This is not a review. I’ll be hiking the legal route on Monday 7th jan. I have some hiking experience and high fitness level. Please reach out if you are planning the same, it will be ideal to have some company. I’m planning to arrive there at 7am when the legal path opens. Please reach out to either IG reinaldoabe or email reinaldo.abe@gmail.com.

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