Explore the most popular river trails in Hawaii with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

14 hours ago

It was beautiful but we got lost and things got a little sketchy for us.

Incredible!! Only did the first two miles to beach, full of gorgeous views the whole way. You can continue up to a waterfall an additional 1.8 miles from the beach. Any further along the trial and you need a permit to continue. We reached the parking lot at 830 and there was plenty of room in the farther second lot, but this fills up fast and people start parking along the road. Bathrooms at the trailhead and the beach at 2 miles. Several stream crossings but able to stay dry with balancing. Recommend hiking shoes or waterproof hiking sandals with straps, though saw plenty doing it in sneakers. Nice to get out early but also be sure to catch some views post noon on the way back, as the light changes and water turns a beautiful azure blue.

So much fun! Lots of much & the water was amazing! So worth it!

As the locals say “1 mile down-10 miles up”! Worth the leg burn down. Beach and waterfall views are awesome. Think Stairmaster going up! Pack water, snacks and wear good shoes. Go earn that beer! Recommend the nachos at Big Island Brewing in Waimea for post-climb refuel.

While there might be hordes of people on this trail during the weekend, it is still gorgeous and fun. Tourist confusion on where to go after the entrance can also be entertaining. To the right of the parking lot is a human size hole in the fence that leads down a gravel road which is a more direct path than what is shown on the map. Or you can zig zag through the bamboo and jump a fence or two.

The plus side of the heavy traffic is the large amount of garbage to collect along the trail, very rewarding.

If it's raining or wet, think twice about going around the crater ridge unless you have cleats and rope. Mildly treacherous mud climbing and sliding will ensue. A light amount of rain had all of the falls raging, making the third one impossible to cross the standard way, instead requiring dangerous and fun mountain goat gymnastics up both sides to make it to the top. At that point you can go left to find the exit route, or go right and try to hurt yourself. Results after 6 hours: bruised, cut, sore, mud covered, smiling.

As always, please continue leaving as much of your trash on the trail as possible, it gives me great satisfaction to collect it.

I feel like I shouldn't even check in here as we didn't actually do the hike. Wouldn't have known where the trail was if one of the local vendors at the top hadn't told us. Another vendor told us we would get fined $300 for doing the hike. That in conjunction with the heavy rain we've had the past couple days, we chickened out, but the views are still gorgeous from the top. I'm starting to think it would've been worth it. Next time!

I’ll climb the stairs again Sat, Mar 17th for the 233st time.

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

4 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. Both times the projectile broke the skin. 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”.

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

Nice views, but the trails I came here for are closed off due to storm damage in 2016. Looks like there are people working there, perhaps to try to fix it, but they gave no estimate of when trails would reopen.

Was hard to get to, especially since there is some recent construction going on and they put up a few fences, but was an overall fun hike and the waterfall was worth it. Wasn’t very difficult, but you do have to cross the stream a few times.

The Brochure to Kamananui Valley Road.


5 days ago

I believe the 'secret' hike they are talking about is the Iao Tableland Trail. One has to hop over the railings at the gazebo point, and follow a feint trail to the back wall of Iao. From there you have a spectacular 360 view of Iao valley and towards Wailuku.


Paddling on the Wailua River was nice but I would not do it again considering the slippery and muddy trails, crossing the tributary with a rope, the crowds at the falls plus the costs of renting the kayak with a guide.

A beautiful hike! Able to see the coast line, which is one of the best parts of the island. It was a bit muddy when we went in March, but with careful footing it was not too bad. Would recommend this hike.

6 days ago

Beautiful views into the canyon with distant waterfalls along the way. There were mosquitos below the tree line (a little past the halfway point). We stopped at the the river for lunch. Hiking back up was strenuous. Bring at least couple liters of water. Also good hiking shoes and hiking poles are recommended.

One of the best hikes I have been on. Most of the reviews and you tube videos are pretty misleading about the dangers. Crawlers ledge is not a big deal. At no point did I feel like I was in much danger. Yeah if you fall it would be bad but honestly by the time you get there (mile 7, 8 or 9 not sure) you have pretty well been tested. Just keep your eyes on the trail as you go and stop walking if you want to look around. The river crossings were not a big deal either. I know that can change but just do what the signs say. If it’s really muddy and fast looking don’t cross. If the river is moving rocks (you would hear) don’t cross. I feel like people make a big deal about that stuff more to seem extreme or daring than to warn people. No body wants to see anyone get hurt. Be smart but don’t let the dangers stop you from going. It is an extremely rewarding experience. It would be even more so if you were scared of those things and did it anyway. The thing that surprised me about the hike was how hard it was. I have done some 20 to 25 mile days before so we thought about doing it in one day but decided we wanted to camp at the beach. Good thing to because by the time we got there we were ready to call it. I don’t know if it was the humidity or the constant up and down but it was a hard 11 miles. I saw some people recommended staying at the camp at six miles. If you have 3 or 4 days and your worried about the difficulty that’s probably a good idea. Take two weeks if you need to. It would be worth it.

Holy cow this thing is hard, first and second waterfalls are what one normally expects, but third is almost rock climbing followed by a climb along a ridge with winds threatening to blow you off, do not attempt of its raining! All that said, beautiful trail, amazing sights, and the view from the peak! Definitely do this hike if you can handle it!


7 days ago

Thoughts upon completion: COUNTERCLOCKWISE! Do it counterclockwise. Not for comfort, but for safety. The counterclockwise route puts the hard, crazy incline, narrow track stuff mostly on your uphill, and then, with the exception of some slippy, narrow channel through mud stuff right after the summit, it's mostly accessible downhills, some stairs, mostly plodding. But, geeze, we were talking about what it would have been like to go down the stuff we went up, if we had gone clockwise, and folks, I think it would have been ridiculously unsafe at the least, impassable at most.

On the counterclockwise route, there's a sharp left turn out of a musclewood grove near the end, that's the one major left you can see on the route map. Easy to miss, and if you miss it you end up in the burbs in Hawaii-Loa. If you do this, you have to walk down the hill the highway, then back up the Niu valley to the car. Not sure how many miles that added to the trek, but it was a few.

Let's see...oh, spikes would have been nice. Bring spikes. Not impossible without, but there are some steep downhills on the ridge between peaks where it's like, mud, slide, dropoff to either side. Spikes would have been nice.

Beyond that, omfg, as the kids say. This hike is amazing. The views defy description, camera and memory. It is ILL to see half the island from a single point. Honolulu looks fake from the distance, like toys. Kokohead looks tiny. Super great hike. Tiring, bring more food than you want. Give yourself hours, we took 1:00-8:00. Although, as mentioned above, we tacked on 2-3 hours/miles at the end, and took our time on the ridge to avoid, well, death. (It's not that bad, you're just not gonna wanna jog up there.) But with 2 liters of water and a few kind bars, nuts, fruit things, we were solid.

If you got the feet, do this hike.

Spent a leisurely 6 days (Feb 2018) there and back doing all side and waterfall trails. Take your time to enjoy the views. Caught a break with little rain but trail had been closed for several days prior to our start which made for awesome waterfalls but very muddy and slippery conditions

Best hike on the island - tons of mud and tons of fun - if you are old and slow and take lots of videos and it is rainy - plan on a 10 hour hike

8 days ago

Very challenging, but well worth the hike!!!
Continue past Makaleha Falls (extra 1/2 mile) to the right until you come to Hidden Falls...you’ll be glad you did...spectacular water fall! It’s been raining a lot lately so Hidden Falls was impressive! This one will go down as one of my “All-time Favorites!”

Fantastic views, muddy in wintertime, nur worth it. Long and exhausting because of the high humidity. Crawlers Ledge is not difficult at all.

My wife and I hiked around 3 miles along the trail before we headed back. The trail is beautiful with plenty of vista points along the way.

my wife and i plan to hike the Haiku stairs next week (3/12-16/2018). It will be the first time for us. I have read lots of reviews and comments and have done some research but i am sure it will be a lot more to find out once we are there. Please give us any last minute tips and advises. Appreciate.
My email address is timdvo@yahoo.com

I am looking to do this hike on April 30th. This is most likely to be the hardest hike I have ever done. I would love to have my wife with me but she isn’t sure if she can do it. ¿Is it really that hard? Can anyone share a video of what the hardest part looks like? Pm email: carlosh822@gmail.com

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