“The Stairway To Heaven” — is one of the most extreme and beautiful hikes Hawaii (and America) has to offer.
For the past 26 years, the hike up the 4,000-step ladder has also been illegal, but that hasn’t stopped people — dozens a day — from making the trek up and down the steel steps that were once operated by the Coast Guard to catch a glimpse of the view at the top of Puu Keahi a Kahoe on the island of Oahu.The stepladder was built in 1943 during World War II to “provide access to buildings at the top of the ridge, used as transmission stations,” according to a tourism site called Best Places Hawaii.
The ladder scales “nearly vertical” heights over 2,500 feet from Haiku Valley to the top of Puu Keahi a Kahoe, so high that there are points in the hike where the peaks rise above clouds.
It was a popular hiking trail in the 1980s, operated by the coast guard, Though the hike is illegal, tourists (and some locals) attempt to scale the Stairway To Heaven every day.The Honolulu Board of Water Supply, The Huffington Post reports, “has jurisdiction over the hike and requires that anyone who goes up it sign waivers and present a $1 million liability insurance policy.”
In early 2013, a group formed to petition the city to reopen the stairs to the public, but the stairs remain closed.