Best time to visit Hawaii

Moanalua Valley Trail to Haiku Stairs

This staircase has nothing in common with a Japanese poetry genre

Moanalua Valley Trail to Haiku Stairs in Hawaii - Best Time
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© Tavis Wong

The Haiku Stairs or so-called Stairway to Heaven is a steep hiking trail on the island of Oʻahu. It consists of 3,922 steps that span along Ko'olau mountains.

The history goes back to 1942 when the contractors for the U.S. Navy started construction of the Haʻikū Radio Station. This secret facility was meant to be used as a transmitter of the radio signals to Navy vessels that were operating all over the Pacific ocean. To obtain the required height for the antennae, the Navy stretched them across the natural amphitheatre of Haʻikū Valley. Last but not least, they needed "an easy” access to the top of the ridges, so they set wooden stairs up to the hill. Later a timber staircase replaced the ladder. The remnants of the wooden ladder may still be found beside the metal steps.

The station and track were closed to the public in 1987. Owned by the Hawaiian board of water supply and located on private property, haiku stairs are considered to be illegal to shin up. They are in desperate need of repair, and there are dangerously slippery areas especially when it rains.

Moanalua Valley Trail to Haiku Stairs in Hawaii - Best Season

Several people were arrested, and a lot more were cited for climbing the stairs. However, many daredevils still hike the stairs on a daily basis. Local people have even installed "booby traps" to stop hikers from passing through their property to reach their aim.

Moanalua Valley Trail to the Haiku Stairs is the only legal trail, and it is recommended for very experienced hikers. It has some sections of nearly vertical, rope and muddy sections. Keep in mind, the adventurers MUST be respectful to neighbourhood residents living in this area. All the irregularities such as parking violations or noise complaints will result in a fine.

The trail is accessible all year round, but mind that the conditions can be various: humid, muddy, chilly, hot, slippery and so on. Therefore, this exhausting hike is better to be done in the drier season which is June to October. Summer is the peak tourist season, July and August are the hottest months. So the most pleasant period is June and September–October.

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