Stairway to heaven: Don’t get arrested

As you may know the entrance for the stairway to heaven (aka the haiku stairs), is off limits to the public as it is on private property. With that being said, there is a LEGAL way to ascend to the top via the Middle Ridge/Moanalua trail.

Start by parking at the Moanalua Valley State Park at the end of a residential street and you will see this green gate. This is the start of the trail.

The hike for the first 2.9 miles is open and an obvious trail.

You will pass over approximately 17 cement slabs (keep in mind they were laying fresh cement when we did our hike so there will be more).

You’re going to come to a sign for a trailhead. THIS IS NOT THE TRAIL, but you’re going the right way!

In 15 feet or so there will be another opening to a trail on your left. Follow that, and you will immediately come to a stream you have to cross. There is no sign, but there was a piece of duck tape around a branch that was labeled trail! If that’s still there it’s a great marker TURN LEFT HERE!

After the stream it’s smooth sailing!

Below are some photos, along with some hiking hacks to help you with this hike:

Check the weather forecast; especially, for wind advisory and rain. This trail has very steep and skinny ridges to cross that can be super dangerous with high speed winds.

There are spots on this trail that would cause trouble after a lot of rain. Although, there are ropes that previous hikers have left tied to trees to assist with your ascent.

Do not attempt this hike if there are flash flood warnings as the water can rise quickly along the trail.

If you find this hat on the trail, let me know as it blew off my head on the way to the summit.

Another tip we’ve learned since being in Hawaii: If the locals aren’t doing the hike, there is probably a reason (this was the only local we saw the entire trek and he turned around at the trailhead).

Wear proper hiking boots as there were ankle deep mud areas that you couldn’t get around.

If you plan to hike up the middle ridge and go down the stairs, plan to have some form of transportation. Arrange a ride, park a car, or plan for an Uber. Below is a map of your options out to the neighborhood. *I found this map on google and do not take credit for the creation.

Your starting point and descent are quite far from one another (note the haiku stairs are not legal and you are subject to a fine if this is the way you choose).


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