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Fun trail, not too difficult for someone who hikes occassionally. I went the day after it rained a lot, so there was a fair amount of mud when I got to the steps at the top so be prepared to step in puddles. View from the top is phenomenal, and it was seriously windy when I got up there. I took some shortcuts through the switchbacks which can get a little confusing, as I got away from the trail a couple of times. Took about two hours total start to finish. There was ample street parking.


Aloha! I do various guided hikes with photos on Oahu. I hike often/weekly. I hiked this past week and this weekend and will be hiking this week Thursday and this weekend as well. Feel free to check out some examples of photos on my instagram @mike.karas. You can message me there or at mikekarasphotography@gmail.com

I want to do the stairs but have no one to go with as of yet. I’ll be here until March 26th if anyone’s going and wouldn’t mind me tagging along pleae let me know! Message me on IG: chris_paini

2 days ago

One of my favorite hikes on Oahu. The rainforest is stunning as is the waterfall at the trailhead. Not much in the way of views until you get way up high on the ridge but this trail ticks a lot of boxes... good workout, beautiful plants and wildlife, and a waterfall at the start! Prepare for rain, drizzle, and mud as this trail is in a typically wet area of Oahu. Enjoy!

Going clockwise to the falls is pretty easy and straightforward, it's been well marked. I loved the falls, it was flowing well even on a sunny day! but it's been raining a lot overall the past month which is probably why. If you just want to see the falls, best to just go back out the way you came in. I decided to try out the loop because I hate repetition and loved the idea of a challenge. I think people might hunt here and that's why there's kind of a bit of excessively random trail markers? Might be wrong, but it's really just a guessing game after the falls, eventually I just started hashing my way up the ridge no trail. Accidentally ended up finding the trail anyway(After an hour or so)! You have no idea how happy I was to see that yellow rope lol from there is was really easy again, just a simple ridgeline trail. it was definitely a bit overgrown at times but nothing unbearable. the trail past the falls just needs to be remarked! otherwise I really enjoyed this trail.

I’ll climb the stairs Fri, Mar 23rd for the 234th time.

The most recent post on my Instagram @Hawaii_Mountain.Man.Matt will give you an idea for an impactful photo perspective.

5 things you should know about the hike:

(1) It is the safest way to reach that elevation on Oahu.

Over the last 70+ years, no one has ever died falling on the stairs*.

(2) There is a ton of trash at the top.

Bring a folded heavy-duty trash bag to help with that.

(3) No matter what, don’t go near homes!

Think: when is the last time you woke up at 3am and whispered: "Honey I think there's someone outside the house!"

Two people have recently been shot on the street by a high powered air rifle fired near the intersection of Kuneki and Makena. That was wrong of the shooter, but also not surprising.

(4) The back way is more dangerous, but worth considering.

Near the base of the stairs, there is one unmarked Honolulu Police Department vehicle roaming to catch hikers.

After the November 12th escape of killer Randall Saito from the mental facility behind the neighborhood, security is on best behavior using off-road vehicles to apprehend hikers.

On a usual morning, a roving HPD officer, a stationary guard and two roving guards secure the area.

The penalty has some variables, but here are the components:

(1) $1,000 fine
(2) Jail, no longer than 6 months. (incarnation is rare)
(3) Legal fees (a defense attorney charges $800 - $1,500 for the case)
(4) Usually 80 hours of community service.
(5) Legal fees for expungement.
(6) Visa/Immigration hurdles
(7) Impact on professional life.
(8) Return travel and accommodations to attend court, community service, etc.

The setback ranges from $3,000 for simple cases, up into the hundreds of thousands over the length of a career for military members reduced in rank, folks who lose their security clearance or a professional license, etc.

Going up the front way, as amazing as it is, is not worth playing Russian roulette with the penalty, so don’t “just risk the ticket”.

Have a plan.


‘Three routes through the bamboo forest’ would be where I’d be if I were looking to catch you. Just saying.

5 days ago

3/17/2018-Started around 0810 (had to park at the bottom of the street because there was no spots that were open any nearer to the trailhead) and came across 56 groups/solo hikers. Weather was a little muggy but there was some breeze once you got higher up the mountain. The top was all clouds today but the breeze was really nice after climbing all the stairs.

The fact that this climb is verboten makes it more appealing to thrill seekers, miscreants, and those who believe no trail should be off limits and that hiking is always at your own risk. Clearly this makes it a big problem for the neighborhood and it's a shame there isn't a better resolution than posting cops and security. How much does it cost to employ the police and security? How much money is actually made off of the steep fines? How much would it cost to just gate the community? How much would it cost to build a small parking area and charge for permits? How much does it cost every time someone has to get air rescued? I'm not directly involved in these politics, hopefully Friends of Haiku Stairs can sort it out.

Upon entering Haiku Village, you will almost certainly be greeted by an unmarked police vehicle wherever you decide to park. Perhaps the officer will politely tell you that hiking here is illegal and that there have been acts of violence from the locals and vandalism to hiker's vehicles, and then tell you to be safe and respectful before driving away. Be sure that more cops continue to lurk around waiting for you to take one trespassing step.

My friend and I did not enter through the most common route, probably the second most common, and started at 8am, not 3am as so many seem to recommend. This made it much easier to find the way since we weren't familiar enough to find it in the dark. Entering with more than 2 people will greatly increase your chances of being caught, but will also give you extra hands to pick up THE INORDINATE AMOUNT OF TRASH on the way to the stairs. Normally I bring a trash bag or at least fill my pack with all the unwanted gifts left behind on a trail: no need for that here! The highway above just rains unused contractor bags to fill. This was a dream come true for us. Much of the garbage is debris from the highway (gardening tools, tires, tons of plastic sheet), but a lot is clearly from adventurous hikers who were just too tired to carry that water bottle.

We spent a couple hours filling bags and stashing them before even getting on the stairs. Sadly, there is a lot of trash on each side of the stairs that is unreachable with out some sort of telescoping prosthetic limb. Perhaps that's how the couple ended up getting air rescued the day after we hiked; they saw that Powerade bottle that someone took one sip from then decided to see what it looked like on the side of a mountain, and went for it. :/
Should an air rescue be charged to the hiker or the taxpayer? Hmm...

Expect many people at the top, mostly those who went the legal way. 2 hours on actual stairs to get to the top, less then one down, and then 2 more hours of picking up trash on the way out. Some strangers who hiked the legal way asked us to show them the illegal way out, which we said was a no, and we'd be busy picking up trash anyway. They were extremely excited to pick up trash, so then it was a yes, hired. It was disappointing to only have collected over 3 full contractor bags each weighing about 40 pounds, but it's all we could carry. Navigating muddy sliding hills, bamboo forest, thick brush, complex root systems, trenches and fences while carrying a backpack and giant bags of trash felt like a training scene from a martial arts flick.

Altogether thoroughly satisfied with the little we could do in one day to help keep all the fine human made stuff we produce from ending up in the ocean, even if it's a losing battle. The stairs were just OK.

The view at the end is Amazing! Having said that, it is not an “easy” hike. So.many. Stairs at the end, but if you can push through, you’ll be happy you did. I think this would be a rough for kids. Slippery in parts and the steps are large (think standing lunge to get up). Took about 2 hours to get up and 1.5 coming down. Bring water and snacks for the top.

we went through the back end of the stairs, the legal way on 2/26/18.. it rained on us, it was windy and muddy.. definitely hard and challenging...but rewarding once you make it to the top...not for beginners.. be prepared for a long hike with a little rope climbing... thanks @mike.karas on IG for hooking it up with guidance on how to get there, spikes for our shoes and gloves.. I highly recommend going through him if you've never been there

We were here today with our 4 and 6 year old Girls and it was hard. For hiking the trail with kids i‘d like to recommend the age of the kids with 6 or older. The waterfall was much fun.

The hike up gets your heart pumping, and the view at the top is so worth it! It’s a pretty straightforward hike, and mostly shaded. Also, not crowded!

Went today and it was beautiful! Lots of roots and rocks, on the harder side of moderate. Not much to look at along the hike but the waterfall is nice and cold. Saw many kids doing the hike. Don’t let the easy beginning fool you.

11 days ago

Moderate hike with a pretty nice waterfall. Be ready to scramble a little bit and hike over roots.

it was a lot of fun cliff jumping.

11 days ago

Definitely a moderate hike with lots of roots and rocks. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot to look at compared to many other hikes on the island. The waterfall at the end is interesting, but way too crowded to enjoy.

Awesome hike! Be prepared to sweat. It’s clear and footing isn’t hard, but the elevation is legit.

Very nice hike. Forest is magical, view from the top is worth climbing those steep stairs.

13 days ago

First part is a series of switchbacks to gain elevation. This is a good workout up to the picnic area. The real fun begins after this though. The elevation gain up the old fire road is very peaceful and quiet. Didn’t see another person the entire time. At the junction with the Kuaokala trail, if you take it to the right then you will hit a fence that has a gate to open and go through. From here you are treated to views of Makua valley. You can continue on the trail which is mostly a ridge hike. It’s not an overly difficult one so it is worth going a little farther for more views if you have time. I did a little less than 10 miles round trip.

13 days ago

Family friendly, with great views of the north shore and Makua valley.

Looking to hike the stairs for the first time on Saturday March 10th! We have a group of 4-5 so far. If anyone wants to join or lead, email me! laurenpark15@gmail.com

Or if anyone has another car. We’re thinking maybe we’ll go up the stairs, and down the longer (legal) way. And we’ll need a car on that side to use when we’re done!

16 days ago

This trail is well groomed and straightforward. There are alternative trails that cut between the switchbacks that were a little distracting. The viewpoint at the top of the ridge makes this trail so worth it! I would say this a hard beginner hike or easy intermediate hike. It’s also the easiest of the Hawaii ridge hikes. I wore hiking boots, but trail runners and even tennis shoes will do the job. The trail was pretty dry making it pretty ideal for stepping. The stairs are a tad steep near the step so watch the footing when coming down from the mountain. It took us just over 2 hours to go up
and come down.

Amazing hike and beautiful waterfall at the end. Super muddy but so much fun! I decided to wear water shoes...and it was a great idea! Definitely a long hike...so be prepared! We had plenty of snacks and lots of water! I would definitely do this hike again!

Went through moanalua ridge at 3am and hiked till 6:45am. It’s rainy, misty,slippery and walking through a cloud with High wind blowing. It doable but tiring

anyone doing this between 4th and 6th march..email me at sharath49u@gmail.com

Amazing views throughout. Muddy and fun! The route I prefer is right at the first fork, left at the second, (look for the orange tie) that will take you to the bottom of the falls then you can hike up to the top!

It’s anyone down to hike with us on the 13th of March, if you do dm me @born2die_traveling

21 days ago

1st half walk in park, 2nd half moderate. Wet and slick. Waterfall was amaze ballz. Good times

Greatest hidden gem on the island. Also secluded and extremely lightly traveled. My fiancé and I were the first ones on the trail for the day and it had just turned noon when we started. So we definitely used the privacy for some “honeymoon” time when we got to the waterfall.
-Tarzan and Jane

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