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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

1 day ago

This hike was harder than I anticipated, but well worth the climb. In order to reach the first summit, you will maneuver up muddy slopes and will need to climb several rocky areas with the aid of ropes. We stopped at the first peak and took some amazing photos. Views were breathtaking. Climbing down proved to be more difficult than going up, but there are plenty of trees and roots to grip onto as you descend. Would highly recommend this hike. Wear proper footwear.

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

Too many tourists, however the views at the top were breathtaking. Definitely worth it.

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.

4 days ago

Great short hike with incredible views!

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.

5 days ago

Throw some extra weight in your backpack for a good time. It’ll be worth it.

One of the best hikes/climbs. :) In my first try I got to all three peaks thanks to the beautiful weather today. It's demending, relatively hard. It's worth the sweat and effort. Exhilarating, exciting!

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

loved this hike! It took me a bit but the view was amazing!!!

Great trail, lots of tourists though.

This hike was gorgeous at the top with beautiful views of water and Waikiki. The only negative thing I could say is that this hike was definitely harder than other people have described. I am a runner and in great shape and this isn’t a walk in the park. I saw people in flip flops and Sandals and I was shocked. There are a lot of crowds and I would definitely recommend coming early.

Very cool hike

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!

This is a legit hump. Prepare to get your heart rate up! Enjoy the views.

on Koko Head Crater Trail

9 days ago

Hard, but worth it !

9 days ago

Let me add some details. When people say get there early, 8:15 on a Sunday morning is not early (when we got there). The parking lot was full, several buses were parked and the place was jammed. We went back out and parked across the street from the entrance at the Community College Park lot. Easy walk in from there. For the actual hike, you basically queue up and march up the path/stairs. During the hike up and down you are single file because people are going both directions constantly. In the 1.5 miles up and down we probably passed 500 people? 1000? Just a lot of people. I prefer hikes where miles covered+dogs seen > number of people seen so this wasn’t for me. Still gave it three stars for the views and the fact that the queue actually moved at a decent speed. My wife also recommends using the bathrooms at the community college park as well since the bathrooms inside Diamond Head had lines out the door.

My wife and I hiked this and it was a great view from the top. It is relatively busy hike with numerous tourists, but worth it for the view.

The place is certainly historic and an icon for the area, but it's not a trail I'd hike again with anyone given the number of tourists that frequent the area. Recommend any diamond head crater seekers to gauge the number of buses in the area before committing to the hike.

The views are great and would have been better with a sunrise but cloud cover didn't allow. Also, wear good shoes, lots of uneven terrain and stairs.

Very crowded. Go for the view at the top.

11 days ago

Definitely a favorite. Unlike hikes where you can feel every mile, this hike felt a lot shorter than it actually was. Astounding views. Gets your heart pumping and your adrenaline racing.

You have to park a few roads away from where the trail begins. If you start to drive past the security booth, the guard will stop you and let you know that cars can’t enter but you can pass by on foot. You’ll walk a bit down the road until you reach the sign (very obvious) and immediately enter the forest, mud and all.

Soon the terrain switches to pine forest (someone must explain these elusive pine trees to me) and then becomes more rock-like, with lots of boulders, dirt, and trees to hold on to. The trail grows steeper and even though there were many ropes, I found that the terrain wasn’t quite as thigh-burning (90 degree angled) as others. The rocks you’d climb were at a 45 degree angle - nice and steep but more cardio-focused than muscle-focused.

As you reach the first peak, you have to boulder a little to get to the top, and then walk along a rock-ridge. The wind feels great and the height is exhilarating. It’s definitely not for children or anyone afraid of heights. Many people go on to the second and third peaks but from what we heard, the second peak is lower and less impressive than the first (it has an unimpeded view of the island), and the third is much more dangerous for a similar view. It’s a lot steeper than the first and unless you’re an experienced climber with your own rope, it’s not recommended.

We chose not to do the second/third peaks and instead enjoyed the first peak for a while, then headed down. We ran into numerous helicopters along the way (on this hike and others), at least one being a rescue chopper. They get so close!

I highly recommend this hike for people who love heights. Overall I’d say it was a moderate hike, took us about 3 hours round-trip including the 30 min. photo break at the top, numerous conversations with other hikers we ran into, and idle chitchat.

Instead of starting at the parking lot where the trail starts, we parked in the neighborhood past Diamond Head Rd. and started walking from there, which doubled the length of it (but not the elevation). This way is nice because you get to walk through the tunnel and don’t have to pay for parking.

Even though the hike is fairly easy and there are a lot of tourists, it’s extremely enjoyable. The terrain is constantly changing and presents you with little surprises. You wind up and around the mountain for most of the hike until you reach a few sets of steep, manmade stairs, and then scamper through a tower with a few levels before coming out the top. An amazing view of Waikiki and other parts of the island ensue.

My favorite part was running up the stairs, it was a good little workout. Even if you’re an avid hiker I highly recommend this one, it’s a perfect break from high intensity hikes yet still satisfying.

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

A good quick hike. I would definitely go early morning as our group went in the afternoon and it was very crowded and hot. But overall a good hike to see the island.

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