The Stairway to Heaven in Oahu, Hawaii

One of Untapped’s most popular Google Keywords is the “Stairway to Heaven,” and it doesn’t refer to the Led Zepellin song. The Stairway to Heaven, also known as the Haiku Stairs, is a series of 3,922 steps in Oahu, Hawaii on the Koolau Mountain Range. The staircase was built by in 1942 by the U.S. Navy and its scenic views made it a popular tourist attraction. The Stairway to Heaven was closed off in 1982, and scheduled to re-open in 2001 after an $875,000 renovation but local residents opposed access in a NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) move. Hikers ignored the signs placed by the city, the city hired security guards to block access, so hikers then accessed the Stairway to Heaven in the middle of the night.

Read more about one of our writers’ experience hiking the Stairway to Heaven at 2am.

Hawaii’s Stairway to Heaven hike, also known as Haiku Stairs–3,922 steps crawling up Oahu’s Koolau Mountain Range–was built in 1942 by the U.S. Navy. The scenic voyage became an instant attraction, but the trail was closed to the public in 1987 because of disrepair. The city of Honolulu spent $875,000 repairing the stairs, predicting a safe trail ready to open in 2002. However, when repairs were complete, the city was hesitant; residents of the neighboring property complained about the visitors and fought the reopening. During this time, hikers ignored the warning signs and the city eventually employed security guards to stand at the base of the stairs and prohibit entrance.

Stairway to Heaven: not your average hike.