Stairway to Heaven – Oahu Hiking Trails

Stairway to Heaven – Hiking Trails

stairway-to-heaven

Stairway to Heaven – Wikipedia

The Haiku Stairs, also known as the Stairway to Heaven or Haiku Ladder, is a steep hiking trail on the island of Oahu.

The trail began as a wooden ladder spiked to the cliff on the south side of the Haiku Valley. It was installed in 1942 to enable the construction of antenna cables that would be strung from one side of the cliffs above Haiku Valley to the other. A building to provide a continuous communication link between Wahiawa and Haiku Valley Naval Radio Station was also constructed at the very peak of Puukeahiakahoe, elevation at about 2,800 feet (850 m). These extraordinary antennae transmitted very low frequency radio signals from a 200,000-watt Alexanderson alternator located in the center of Haiku valley. The signals could reach US Navy submarines as far away as Tokyo Bay even while the submarines remained underwater. Testers for RCA picked up signals on Long Island, and the signal also reached India, 6,600 miles (10,600 km) away.

When the Naval base was decommissioned in the 1950s, the United States Coast Guard used the site for an Omega Navigation System station. In the mid 1950s, the wooden stairs were replaced by sections of metal steps and ramps — by one count, 3,922 steps. The station and trail were closed to the public in 1987. Despite the closure, some hikers ignore the No Trespassing signs and continue to climb, contributing to the local community’s misgivings about reopening the structure.

In 2003, the Haiku Stairs were repaired costing the city $875,000.As of early 2012, land usage rights issues have not been resolved. The City and County of Honolulu has stated that there is currently no plan to open the stairs for public use, citing liability concerns.

Stairway to Heaven Driving Directions:

Stairway to Heaven – Hiking Oahu Trails

Ranger Contact: Wawayanda State Park 973-853-4462
Distance: 18 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,800 ft
Hike Time: 5.5 hours
Difficulty: Expert
Trail Condition: Well maintained trail