Climbing Hawai’i’s Stairway to Heaven

For more photos and videos from the Stairway to Heaven, check out the #haikustairs hashtag and explore the Haiku Stairs location page.

In 1942, workers installing radio antenna cables assembled a series of wooden ladders along the sheer cliffs of the Ha’ikū Valley on the island of O’ahu in Hawai’i. The ladders extended to the 2,800ft (853m) summit of Pu’u Keahi a Kahoe. A little over a decade later, the ladders were replaced by nearly 4,000 metal stairs and ramps leading the way to a newly-established US Coast Guard navigation station.

Though the station closed in the 1980s, the Ha’ikū Stairs up the mountain remain. The path is known as the Stairway to Heaven, marking what many consider to be one of Hawai’i’s best—and most difficult—mountain hikes. In recent years, dauntless Instagrammers have made the trek up the stairs to capture the breathtaking view of the island from the top.