The Stairway To Heaven hike or also known as the Haiku Stairs, is a pain in the ass, literally.
The Stairway is exactly that, a stairway 3,922 steps to the top with 4 landings, it took me about 3.15 hrs round trip on average with little stops of rest at each stop. It was originally was built for the US Coast Guard to access radio towers at the top. It was first made in wood and then replaced and repaired in 2003 even though this hike has been illegal since 1987. We hear that it’s illegal due to some political limbo.
Making something illegal does not stop me or others like me doing this hike multiple times- its a great hike that is easily identified, has railings and worth the views. That is more than I can say for most hikes that are poorly marked & Maintained.
There is a guard that watches the entrance during the week and weekends and if was particularly nice or off the clock, he would let you pass. In August 2014 the neighborhood asked authorities to crack down on the haiku hikers making the hike nearly impossible to get to without getting a citation and denied access.
I’ve done the hike 3 times; at 3 am, 6am and at 3pm. Watching the sunrise over the mountains is a really indescribable experience. You get so high into the mountains that you are surrounded by clouds and stand above the rainbows.
It doesn’t help that I forgot a flashlight and ended up walking alone in the dark for about an hour in the rain, but when that sun came up….it was like being born again!
The views are completely worth it.
As someone who has had a fear of heights to some degree her whole life, I wouldn’t really consider this hike to be very challenging in that area. The first landing is about 45 min up (at a slow/moderate pace) and that to me was the hardest part.
Some parts are so steep that you have to walk backwards on your way down.