There really is a stairway up to heaven from Earth, and even though it won’t take you to the pearly gates in a nice white robe, it sure feels like you’re looking down on the planet from heaven itself. The Haiku Stairs are an abandoned stair set that dates back to the days of World War II. It was originally built to serve as a communication point for ships throughout the Pacific by way of radio, and the natural amphitheatre setting provided the perfect location for the top-secret site.
The stairs started as nothing but a trail across the Ko’olau Mountain Range, 3000 feet above the beaches of Oahu. The American Navy then upgraded the trail with a ladder, then on to a wooden staircase. Once the staircase was put in place, the original trail breakers referred to the climb as a ‘sissy climb’, although after the Navy decommissioned the base in the 50s the stairs were replaced by a metal staircase and ramps, which turned out to be very slippery when wet. What’s interesting about the stairs though is that they’re entirely illegal to climb, and they may be ripped down in the near future. The nearly 4,000 step climb is still done by sneaky hikers though, slipping past the security guard and climbing in the dark for the sunrise experience of a lifetime.
Unfortunately, a storm over the 2015 Valentine’s Day weekend did some damage to the stairs, actually trapping some hikers up on the mountain range overnight. They were rescued by Honolulu fire fighters the next morning, noting that the stairs were impassable in some parts.
THE MAJORITY OF THE TREK IS NEARLY VERTICAL
Located on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, this staircase, which reaches a peak of nearly 3,000 feet, is forbidden by the Hawaiian government due to liability issues and land access problems….. a guard was even present during the day (though many people now say the guard is gone).
YOU WOULDN’T WANT TO LOOK DOWN
Even with all the restrictions, it doesn’t stop the thrill seekers, they say it’s worth the risk of being arrested. There are many parts to the hike that are pretty terrifying, but one of the scariest moments are early on, when you’re forced to climb a ladder vertically up a steep mountain….
THERE’S 4,000 STAIRS IN TOTAL
MANY PEOPLE START THE HIKE EARLY IN THE MORNING WHEN IT’S STILL DARK SO THEY CAN CATCH THE SUNRISE
The steps up the steep mountain actually use to be all made of wood… if you can believe it. However, in the mid 1950’s those wooden steps were replaced with sections of metal steps and ramps totaling approximately 3,922. Just imagine walking around on wooden steps, that would be even more terrifying…..