You will have to climb 3922 steps crossing the vertiginous peaks and ridges of the island of Oahu to reach paradise. “Stairway to heaven” is indeed the nickname of the most impressive hiking trail in the Hawaiian archipelago. However, access to these peaks has been prohibited since 1987. This does not prevent hikers from going there to enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas in the world.
Stairs to the old radio station
Originally, these impressive stairs were not designed for the pleasure of hikers in need of thrills. It was in the emergency of the Second World War that a radio station was set up in the service of the American Navy. To ensure effective communication across the island, the antenna had to be built at the top. A cable and stairs were built to reach the station. The cable is gone, but the stairs have survived to this day. Open to the public from 1975 to 1987, up to 20,000 visitors per year came to climb the steps. However for security reasons the access was closed and prohibitedand it still remains so today. Access is monitored by guards, some portions of the stairs are impassable. Many sightseers go beyond the law to enjoy the incredible view of the Hai’ku Valley or simply get a little adrenaline. A local association, friends of stairs , is fighting for the reopening of the site to the public . It considers that it is part of the Hawaiian historical heritage and recommends paid access in order to finance the maintenance of the stairs weakened by invasive vegetation and erosion. In February 2015, a strong storm having damaged the stairs , the debate on their conservation or not was revived in the paradisiacal archipelago.
One of the most impressive hikes in the world
The stairs are cut into 4 or 5 different sections between which there are platforms to rest on. The path is too narrow for us to meet face to face, you have to go over the ramp if a group is coming from the opposite direction. The elevation also puts a strain on the cardio of hikers. But all along the crossing one can only be delighted with the view of the Haiku valley, the steep surrounding mountains and the magnificent Pacific Ocean spread out at the foot of the mountains. At the top, there is the old radio antenna used by the Navy, then by the coastguards. Of course, it hasn’t been in operation for years. It’s a dangerous hike, but with breathtaking views. So, doesn’t all this tickle your adventurous soul?