Stairway to Heaven (Haiku Stairs) - A Mighty Hike to Touch the Sky
We found a legal way to reach the Stairway to Heaven. A long and muddy ridge but you could almost touch the sky! So worth it!
Time: 8 hours
Ever since I saw a video of this impossible hike circling around Facebook, I’ve been dreaming of going and doing it. When I found out it was a forbidden trail, I was really devastated. Because no matter how much I love to climb mountains safety and respecting the rule is always a must.
In January 2019, my friends and I decided to go on vacation to Oahu. I saw this as a sign to look more into the Stairway to Heaven hike because there’s gotta be a way! After checking a few sites online, voila! I found a legal way!
You need to have a GPS or Google maps to locate the trail head. We entered Moanalua Valley Trail on our phone. After exiting the highway, we drove through a residential community and parked at the parking lot at the end of the road. The parking lot is quite small so it’s a good idea to come early. They open at 7:00 am.
Lex Go Hike Experience
We got to the parking lot around 8:30 am. We followed the gravel path going up a hill towards the green gate that closes access for vehicles. People can easily get through the gate by ducking down to avoid the railings.
From here on the hike starts on a long but entertaining walk on an old road. We saw lots of beautiful tropical plants. Some of the trees were covered with vines and I’ve never seen leaves so huge! Everything is green and vibrant. It was really refreshing. We could also hear different sounds coming from birds and other animals. A lovely and relaxing start to a big hike.
We passed by about 12 - 14 streams. Sorry I lost count! There were some areas where the road was so muddy it can go up to your ankle. We had to find an alternate route adjacent to the road to find dryer ground. We walked until the end of the valley where there is no more open path. The trail starts in an opening through the forest. We were told that from here the trail is not very visible and there’s a few turn to get to the ridge.
Ok, I have to admit in this part of the trail I was not prepared. I did not realize that we would lose our phone signal and internet access. Without our online guide, I had no idea where to go. We felt hopeless and decided to go back to the parking lot to download the map. Luckily halfway back, we found other hikers who had the map downloaded and we decided to go with them. So that’s a learning lesson for me!
Once we start the ascend to the ridge the climb got steeper. Thank God for the trees covering the sun making it easier to climb up under the shade. A few occasional breeze also cooled us down. As the climb got higher the trees got smaller and eventually all we can see are small shrubs and grass. I looked back and I can see the entire valley. It was so lush and beautiful.
There were some obstacles along the ridge but it made the trail quite memorable. The path also got muddier as we climbed higher due to rain from the night before. In some parts, the ridge gets very narrow but there are guide ropes you can hold on to for dear life. A few challenging section includes a vertical climb where you have to pull yourself up using guide ropes. A little bit of upper body and leg work are required in these sections.
This hike through the valley took us about 5 hours to get to the top. It is long and challenging hike for sure. The heat of the sun once you climb higher can get intense too. So I suggest to bring lots of water and take your time to breath and enjoy the view.
As we got closer we could see the view of the radio station. This is the mark of our end destination. After swimming in more mud I could not recognize my shoes. When we finally got to the radio station, my eyes were watering because I could not believe that we were actually there. The feeling was so surreal! I had to take a few breath to take in all that I was seeing. It really is impossible until it’s done!
We enjoyed the view of the city of Kaneohe, a portion of the Pacific Ocean and the the tiny cars you can see on the highway. We took our time to relax and chatted with a few other hikers who were equally captivated like us. It was such an overwhelming experience being on top of Stairway to Heaven! The best view do come from the hardest climb! Kudos to my hubby E and friend Gerard for conquering this mighty hike with me! We could almost touch the sky. Lex Go Hike!
Lots of water
Extra clothes, socks
Downloaded map - via All trails - Moanalua Valley to Haiku Stairs