Climb the Forbidden Haiku Stairs – The Stairway to Heaven

Tom’s Experience climbing the Haiku Stairs:

The Haiku Stairs is a very steep hiking trail on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The route was originally created in 1942 to enable antenna cables to be brought up to the summit for communication with submarines throughout the Pacific Ocean.

Entrance to Haiku Stairs

The trail started out with wooden ladders but in the mid 1950’s they replaced the wooden ladders with metal stairs and ramps. By one count there are 3,922 steps to the top. In 1987 the trail was closed to the public and the County of Honolulu currently has no plans for opening the stairs for public use.

Haiku Stairs

For us, this was quite the adventure. We started at 3:00 am in order to avoid the security guard. As we began up the stairs it started raining hard. We were instantly soaked through. The wind was also blowing very hard and we were all freezing. Our group wasn’t as prepared for the poor weather as we should have been but we just kept climbing the stairs and hoping we could warm up. As long as we kept moving we were fine and we would occasionally find refuge behind cliffs that would protect us from the wind for a moment.

Hawaiian Hikes

The stairs themselves are awesome and the views and the mountain are one of a kind. There are a few huts that you pass while climbing. The first had no roof and a very muddy floor. The last was on the summit and it had a roof but still a very muddy floor. When we got to the hut there were maybe 8 people already there trying to stay warm and getting a few more hours of sleep before sunrise. They had brought chairs to sit on which was very smart. The floor was mostly mud with quite a few puddles so if you plan on waiting for the sunrise you better bring something to sit on or plan on standing for a while.

Hiking the Stairway to Heaven

We were too wet and cold to wait for the sunrise so we decided to turn around. Make sure you dress warm if you plan on doing this hike and bring plenty of rain gear. Wearing gloves is also a must because the metal handrails can be cold and are slippery if wet. You will also need a headlamp since you must start this hike so early and you need your hands free to climb the rails.

Stairway to Heaven

The stairs can be steep (almost vertical) and if they are wet they can be very slippery; use caution if you are going to hike this trail. This is not an appropriate hike young children or dogs due to the danger of the ladders.

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: Due to the “illegal” nature of this hike, I will not be posting directions. However directions are very easy to find it you search it on the internet. If you do decide to do this make sure you are courteous when you are driving towards and parking for the hike to not upset the locals. The trail is 3,922 steps and climbs 2,200 feet to the summit. The trail is 2 miles and is an out and back (up and down) hike. The distance may not seem long but the elevation change is a killer.


Haiku Stairs Summit Hut = 21.395614,-157.823985

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Horseback the interesting Peekaboo Loop Trail

Tom’s Experience horseback riding the Peekaboo Loop Trail

My wife has always loved horses, so rather than hike the Peekaboo loop, we decided to experience this trail on horseback. The loop is 5.5 miles with an elevation change from the top of the canyon to the bottom of the canyon of 1555 feet. There are many different ways to reach the Peekaboo Loop, but the main trail and the trail the horses take starts from the Sunset Point trailhead.

Bryce on Horseback Peekaboo Loop Trail
The trail is similar to the Navajo and Queens Garden Loop just a little longer. The rock formations that we rode past were just amazing and the trail itself was very exciting. The hoodoo formations are just unreal and you almost feel as if you are no longer on earth while spending time among the otherworldly rock formations.

Peekaboo Loop Trail on HorsebackThey train the horses and mules to walk right near the edge of the trail so that you are able to get the best possible views of Bryce Canyon. That makes it a little scary when the trail drops off and we were sitting on a horse with little control over where the horse was placing its feet.

Peekaboo Loop HoodoosWe did this with my whole family and everyone really enjoyed the scenery and the horses/mules they put us on. Horses are available to rent on a guided tour at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon.

Wall of Windows Bryce CanyonThere are restrooms in the lodge at the start of the trail and also at the canyon floor near the half way mark. Dogs are not allowed on any of the off road trails in Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Canyon National Park Peekaboo Loop

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: The trail starts at Sunrise Point in Bryce Canyon National Park. The trail is 5.5 miles with an elevation change of 1555 ft. Horses and mules use this trail but other than that the trail is very well maintained.


Trailhead = 37.627114,-112.167342

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 Please comment below to share your experience on the Peekaboo Loop trail or in Bryce Canyon. Don’t forget to register to receive the Travel Tom’s Newsletter by submitting your email in the bar above.