Hiking Oahu – Stairway to Heaven Hawaii

Hiking Oahu

Hiking Oahu – Stairway to Heaven Hawaii is by guest blogger, MT,  a champion East Coast Surfer who is attending the University of Hawaii this summer. Be sure to subscribe to Hawaii Discount Blog to keep up with her Hawaii adventure “University of Hawaii – Hawaii Tours and College Life.

“Hey, want to go to Hiking Oahu at the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii tonight?”

“Sure! What is it?”

“Don’t worry – it will be fun. We are leaving at 2am.”

 Oahu Hiking Stairway to Heaven Hawaii


Boy, I was in for a surprise. I truly did not know what I was getting myself into on this hiking Oahu adventure. My alarm woke me up, I grabbed my rain jacket, back pack, and hopped in a car full of adventurous souls. The car ride was silent while we were all still waking up. The reggae music was drifting into the back seat as I noticed the rain starting to come down. It was probably the hardest I have ever seen it rain in Oahu. Speeding along the H1 we pull off into a neighborhood.  Before we pile out of the car Shawn announces, “Shhhh, we have to be quiet while we walk to the trail head. If the neighbors wake up they will call the cops. Also if we park to close, they will try and tow us. Oh yeah, and we have to beat the security guard to the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii trail or else he will turn us away!”

We parked a mile from the entrance of the private property that we had to cross through to get to the trail head. Silently we successfully make it to the gate which was conveniently not closed all the way. Shawn read his directions out loud, “ Take a left at the first fork in the road. Then take another left at the next fork in the road. Then it is on your right.” Easy enough right?

We silently walk through the dark along a dirt rode. Pass the first fork, on the way to the next fork in the road the rain starts to pour down… I’m starting to wonder if we should head back or if it is even safe to continue this hiking Oahu adventure. Right as that happens we happen upon another group of explorers looking for the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii trail head. They asked us if we knew were it was and we told them our measly directions. We agreed to split off down the last fork in the road. At the end of the road there was an old abandoned building. The building was dilapidated and filled with graffiti.

Around the back of the building there was a narrow path leading into the woods and Shawn said, “I think this is it…” As we start walking on this unmarked trail I had a feeling that we were in the wrong place. We were trudging through the dark in the middle of this unknown forest with only two flash lights and five people. It was so dark without the moon and even darker in the back of the line with no light. The trail circled around and soon we found a hole in a fence and the trail stopped. My watch beeps and it hit four o’clock in the morning and we still have not found the trail. All five of us gather and deliberate what to do. Maybe we got the directions wrong and we were supposed to take the way the other people went.

Back off the hiking Oahu trail and down the road again. We make it to the other fork in the road and start going back up. All of the sudden this huge creepy building looms in background. It keeps on growing and growing it height and nearly every possible inch of this building was covered in spray paint. Once we get to it my friend informs me that it is called the Omega Station. She read about it while researching Stairway to Heaven Hawaii. Apparently the TV show Lost filmed there multiple times. Realizing that we were not on the right path we all decided to go look in the Omega Station. It was creepy. Everything was cement and metal. Walking up the stairs we enter into the first floor. Industrial chains hang from the ceiling. This old government factory has so much graffiti every where. It even smells like fresh spray paint. The walls had holes punched in them and random shards of glass littered the ground. More stairs led up to the second floor which lead to the outside. Outside there were even more stairs that led to the third level. Finally, there was a ladder to get to roof. Climbing up the rusty ladder I noticed that the cement walls were sticky with fresh paint. We were on top of the Omega Station! The night was beautiful we could see the whole valley but my clock beeped 5am we still didn’t know where the trail head started. The security guard was probably already there waiting.

Determined to just find the start we head back. Lauren was the only one who had service on her cell phone and she looked up the real directions. We had to take a left through a bamboo forest and on our right would be the security guard and his tent. So we walk all the way back and the sun is starting to come up. We find the bamboo forest and start picking up the pace. On the other side of the bamboo forest we spot the guard’s tent and truck… “Guys, lets go look around! Come on, it won’t hurt.” After convincing them that I should at least look; I head towards the guard. The rest of the group stays behind while I go scope it out. The guard was not in his tent but he was in his giant truck completely passed out. Quickly I turn and motion everyone over.


Hiking Oahu Stairway to Heaven


We made it to the start!!!! After three hours of tromping around in the dark we made it!! We couldn’t just stop now. The sun was coming up and I still wanted to see the sunrise. Onward we go on our hiking Oahu adventure! The stairs are metal, slippery, and quite rusty. They seem endless. Every time you think they end out of sight there are always more climbing higher. Now, since I am not a hiker because I was born and raised on very flat land below sea level, I started slowing down and losing the group. I let the guy who was behind me go ahead. The others were racing! Literally running up the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii. Soon everyone was out of sight. But don’t worry I got some great selfie pictures while I would stop and rest.

The stairway would sometimes morph into a ladder. I was literally climbing straight up the ridge of a mountain. Many times the rain would unleash from the sky. It was safe to say that I was completely soaked to the bone. But all of this Oahu hiking was worth the view. The adrenaline rush was incredible! I could not believe I was watching the sunrise from this beautiful endless stairway. These moments were definitely a gifts from Heaven. You could see the ocean from the stairs and the sun shining through the misting clouds.


Oahu Hiking Hawaii Sunrise


As the others sped on ahead I was making my way with at turtle like pace comparatively. On account of the time I did not make it to the end, but I made it to the first platform!! I was so excited. It felt like a major victory! And it was all before class started.


Stairway to Heaven Hawaii Hikie


At 6:45 we all start to head back. Going back felt more treacherous because the stairs had a down ward slope which made it easier to slip. Also my ankles like to shake while going down on hikes. Thankfully we all made it back safely. On the way back to the car I heard the other girls talking. “Ready to go sky diving today?” They are truly the crazy ones. I went back to the university and passed out after class.

Please note: The Stairway to Heaven Hawaii was originally built for the U.S. Coast Guard to allow access to the LORAN radio antenna on the top of the mountain. The termination of Omega Station operations also led to the cessation of stair maintenance. The state officially closed the stairs to the public in 1987 because the stairs became worn and dangerous. As of 2003, the Haiku Stairs have been completely repaired, which cost the city $875,000. Legal access is currently still on hold. There is no legal entrance to the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii / Haiku Stairs. If you arrive here for Oahu Hiking, expect to be turned away or cited by Honolulu Police. Parking in the residential area is limited and frowned upon by residents.

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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth has been blogging about the best Hawaii Activities for over 7 years. She loves sharing the Aloha Spirit.
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3 Responses to Hiking Oahu – Stairway to Heaven Hawaii

  1. A. Stone says:

    With the prevalence of blog posts like this and social media it should come as no surprise that this hike is getting more and more popular EVERYDAY. I’m a parent at the nearby charter school and a hiker so I understand both the desire to do the Stairs and I also understand the irritation literally hundreds of trespassers (sometimes on our school campus) causes the neighborhood. I’m posting here to encourage everyone to at least please use the Bamboo Trail mentioned in this post vs. going further up the PRIVATE road, getting lost, and/or accessing the Stairs by way of the trail near the school or that runs over a heiau. Better yet if we could all put pressure on the State/City to create an access point at Windward Community College that uses the access road behind the houses and open up this hike officially.
    When you at least use the Bamboo Trail, now clearly marked by a red KAPA sign on the left side of the PRIVATE road not far up from the gate, you lessen your presence and it increases your safety. I drive that road twice a day 5 days a week and I’ve seen several near misses as people run off the trail and into on coming traffic, when they trip and fall in front of cars, or when drivers are distracted. Also the sheer numbers of hikers have meant that the irritation factor is WAY up and it is becoming more and more common to see HPD get called to issue citations. It’s a great hike but not worth a $90.00 citation.

  2. A. Stone says:

    that should say – a red KAPU sign

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you A. Stone for your comments and concerns! This was a post from a guest blogger and I will reiterate “Legal access is currently still on hold. There is no legal entrance to the Stairway to Heaven Hawaii / Haiku Stairs.” Thank you again for reading our blog and providing this information to our readers!

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