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The Haiku Stairs

May 13, 2013

Having only a couple of states left at the beginning of the year meant I had to make sure to finish my visits quickly so I can start work on finishing the provinces next. I took a weekend trip to Hawaii with my Mother and it was a fantastic time, we got to do so much and it was great to spend time just her and I. One of my major goals for the trip was to hike what a friend told me was a hike only done by the locals, The Haiku Stairs. As it turns out she was correct and when I saw the other 10 people on the stairs that morning I think all but two lived on the island.

A little about the stairs I found is that they were built to maintain the radio towers on top of the mountain and that they also lead to the highest point on the windward side of Oahu. I missed the US geological survey marker of the highest point but only because I did not know it was that high until I was chatting with a coworker back in the office the following week. The stairs are mostly just that and I think the trail is just over a mile and something like 4000 steps climbing 2800 feet to the Ko’olau summit. It is important to note that the stairs have been closed to hikers for sometime, since 2008 I think, but breaking the rules is worth it to complete this beautiful and challenging hike.

I asked about the stairs when I checked into my hotel and was informed that they were closed but, with a wink and a nod that if one was to try to climb the stairs that I should be careful with my car in the neighborhood where you park since car burglaries were frequent. My mother was a bit concerned about the thieves possibility and the hike being forbidden, but she only partially discouraged me since it was easy to see my committed excitement. I tried to call my rental agency and ask to add the optional car insurance, that I always skip, but they said I would have to drive back to the agency so I threw caution to the wind knowing no one really wanted my Focus hatchback.

I planned to attempt the hike my first morning after flying all day to get there from Dallas in order to have a couple more chances if I was thwarted by the security guard at the bottom of the hill. My research revealed that the guard arrived at 6am so I planned to be there at 5:30 but was a few minutes late then totally misjudged the amount of time it would take to get to the stairs from the neighborhood. I pretended not to notice the sign in the predawn light. (Picture is after completing the hike)


Making my way up the drainage ditch, through the bamboo forest, up the hill to a hole in the fence took 30 minutes. From there it is a short walk down a paved road to the trail head where I found a guard in his truck and initially felt very defeated for being late. I steeled my reserve and began formulating a sob story for the guard about the recent death of my fathers girlfriend, which had actually occurred the day before. Walking towards the stairs quickly and quietly past the truck it appeared that the guard was leaned back and having a snooze, so I rushed up around the fence that blocked the Haiku stairs.

Working around the fence and realizing how muddy and wet everything would be added to my caution but looking up at the stairs I did not really get an impression of just how steep or how long the stairs were. I started up with a vengeance and will just tell the rest in pictures since the hike explains itself. The Haiku stairs was one of the most beautiful and fulfilling hikes I have taken.








Might have had better pictures if I was not hiking solo but make do with what you available.  The stairs were the highlight of Hawaii for sure but Mom and I still got to enjoy some other pretty cool things which I may post about in a bit.  I did film a bunch of the hike also and may try and get it up on youtube after some editing.

From → Goals, travel

One Comment
  1. Curt permalink

    I’ve done the stairs twice. They are pretty awesome!!

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