The Stairway to Heaven: Haiku Stairs

Image Credit Flickr User Kevin McCarthy

Image Credit Flickr User Kevin McCarthy

Back in 1942, the U.S. Navy began construction of the Haʻikū Radio Station: a top secret facility that was to be used to transmit radio signals to the Navy ships that were then operating throughout the Pacific. They needed a radio transceiver and they needed it to be really high, so the peak of Puʻukeahiakahoe mountain in Hawaii was chosen. A building to provide a continuous communication link between Wahiawā and Haʻikū Valley Naval Radio Station was constructed at the peak of Puʻukeahiakahoe, elevation about 2,800 feet (850 m).

This is the top. These antennae were used to communicate with the naval fleet during World War II. Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

This is the top. These antennae were used to communicate with the naval fleet during World War II.
Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

To accomplish construction, they needed “easy” access to the top of the ridges, so they installed a wooden ladder up the mountain. The pathway is still there today.

The stairs are divided into 4 or 5 sections with platforms to rest on between each. unrealhawaii.com

The stairs are divided into 4 or 5 sections with platforms to rest on between each.
unrealhawaii.com

You can see drop offs here on the ridge. Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

You can see drop offs here on the ridge.
Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

Most people refer to it as “Stairway to Heaven” but the official name, the one you’ll find on the trail head sign, is Haiku Stairs (or Haʻikū Stairs).

Image Credit Flickr User Canuck

Image Credit Flickr User Canuck

A clear view of Kaneohe. unrealhawaii.com

A clear view of Kaneohe.
unrealhawaii.com

There’s a lot of hype around this hike because one: well, it’s amazing and two: it’s illegal to hike it due to the safety concerns. The station and trail were closed to the public in 1987. However, some hikers ignore the No Trespassing signs and continue to climb 3,922 steps.

The view to the south. You can see the three peaks of Mt. Olomana on the left. Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

The view to the south. You can see the three peaks of Mt. Olomana on the left.
Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

The view to the north. You can see Kaaawa at the top. unrealhawaii.com

The view to the north. You can see Kaaawa at the top.
unrealhawaii.com

Image Credit Flickr User Kanuck

Image Credit Flickr User Kanuck

Here’s another section of the stairs. Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

Here’s another section of the stairs.
Image credit: unrealhawaii.com

Yet, there is a legal way of climbing this stairway to heaven. The Friends of Haiku Stairs, a volunteer group, offers legal “tours”, as long as you can contribute your time while climbing to clean up trash and help to eradicate invasive species.

– via unrealhawaii, kuriositas, haikustairs.org.

2 Comments
  1. December 18, 2014
  2. January 22, 2017

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