The Most Unbelievable and Illegal Hike You’ll Ever Do

The Most Unbelievable and Illegal Hike You’ll Ever Do

Stairway to Heaven Hike

The hike I am referring to is commonly known as the Stairway to Heaven or Haiku Stairs.

I’m not supposed to recommend this hike because it’s illegal BUT it was hands down the highlight of my trip to O’ahu, Hawaii so how could I not?

There are quite a few bloggers who have written about how to get there but I’ll give you my own summary as I had quite a different experience than every other blogger I’ve read so here we go!

Steps

We showed up on Kuneki Street in a cute little neighbourhood around 3:30 pm with not a real great idea of where we were to begin. Here’s the address of the area to park around:

stairway to heaven map

If you park anywhere directly adjacent to the gated road where you start, you will be towed, so I suggest parking a 5 min walk down Kuneki Street or in any of the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Be super respectful of the communities.

Where Kuneki St met Makena St there was an obvious gate that was wide open and an ancient street sign that said “Haiku” on it. We could see the beaten down path that was left around the right side of the gate from all of those people who embark on this hike in the middle of the night when the gate is closed.

As we started walking, there were many cars that passed us, which made me so nervous! One truck stopped next to us and immediately asked us if we were doing the hike. Unsure of what to say, he continued to tell us that this is a private road and if we did the hike we’d be arrested and given a $5000 fine.

This was BS but sketched us out nonetheless.

We continued on the road making a left at the first fork and a right at the second fork which brought us to some fallen down trees.

10 min later on the left side of the old road/path, we saw an opening in the woods with a red sign that said KAPU.

Stairway to Heaven

Walking along the dirt path we came across a fence with a hole in it. Under we went and eventually we got to another road. We could see the guard waiting and we prepared ourselves to make a break for it or just chat him up. We had no idea what was going to go down.

Here’s where the real fun began. I was basically peeing my pants at this point because confrontation and I are literal enemies and I obviously didn’t want to be arrested or fined.

The guards cannot arrest or fine anyone

We approached the guard and I think we asked if we could go up. Now that I write this, that was a dumb question. The guard responded by saying that this hike was illegal and if you are caught, the police can fine you $400 and you get a court date. During his spiel about obeying laws, I pointed up at the stairs and said, “there are people coming down the stairs right now.”

He was whistling a different tune in no time

He told us that we could go on up, warning us about the part of the hike where the handrails had fallen and the stairs were deteriorating. He mentioned his shift ended at 6 pm and then there would be a new guard so coming down would be more difficult. He said that if he was still there we had to be careful of a sensor and wait until he gave us “the coast is clear” motion.

So up we went!

Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven

 

It took us about an hour and a half plus one hour at the top to watch the sunset. There was NOONE up there with us, which was so ideal.

The Stairway to Heaven landscape was unbelievable.

 

stairway to heaven landscape

The stairs continued down a different way but we didn’t want to be too far from our car so we decided to retrace our steps. We happened to run into two sweet Instagrammers Sage and Megan as we were about to go down. If you follow Hawaii Instagram feeds you’ll know who these two are.

Descending is totally different than ascending because you’re staring straight down the whole time. Both my friend and I were glad we decided to watch the sunset because we were descending in the dark so we couldn’t see farther than the couple steps in front of us. Less sketchy if you ask me.

We got to the bottom and once again were sketching out because we knew there may be a cop waiting and a brand new guard. We saw a car as we passed through the gate at the bottom of the stairs and we said to ourselves “whatever happens, happens”. The lights from the car immediately turned on, illuminating us to the point of blinding us and I thought we were FOR SURE getting a fine. We got closer and there was a man standing. He briefly told us that he was worried about us and many people have to call first responders when they come down this late (it was 7:30 and pitch black). After a second of letting our eyes adjust, I realized we were talking to the same guard that said he was off duty at 6 pm. He started to point us towards the way out, which was a small hole in a fence that we didn’t come through before. I was skeptical because of all the talk about cops and the legality of the hike previously so I hesitated speaking. He then said, “I’ll just drive you out to your car.”

SAY WHAT!?

My friend and I looked at each other seemingly in agreement that this was not a setup. So we got in! He drove through two padlocked gates before getting to the road and we spent 10 min getting to know this kind man. We found out that he waited an hour and a half for us even though he had another job to go to! I don’t want to say too much on here and get him in trouble so I’ll leave it at that.

The sheer disbelief

So here are some exposed myths about the hike:

you probably won’t be fined, many people just walk right past the guards without speaking to them

it’s very easy to go during the day as the road gates are freely open

no guard will be there between 6:30 pm and 10 pm usually

you can sleep up at the top, there is a shelter

we didn’t run into any spiders contrary to some blogs we read

If you want to see more photos from this trip follow me @mariescholz or @aidangenik

Peace Out Home Dawgs!

The Cheapest Way To Get To Hawaii

The Cheapest Way To Get To Hawaii

the cheapest way to get to hawaii

There are a couple of ideas floating around that you need to be mindful of before starting your search for the cheapest way to get to Hawaii or anywhere else.

1. Those friends who tell you that you have to keep checking 10 different flight search engines, making sure that your web browser is set to incognito are using the least efficient way of searching.

2. Blogs that tell you to wake up at 3 am because that’s when prices mysteriously drop, makes no sense. What happens in other time zones? Do we all wake up at 3 am in sequential order? Of course not!

3. Forget the travel agents and the budget airlines, cheap flights come around more often than you think and finding them is as easy as the app Hopper!

 

Here’s my experience using Hopper to find the cheapest way to get to Hawaii!

 

When my friends all started booking their reading week trips to Cuba and Punta Cana I decided that I wanted to go somewhere different. Instead of throwing $1400 into a classic grad trip of binge drinking and sunburns I was going to throw that money at a crazy adventure. On the hunt for the cheapest travel costs for the greatest travel reward, I cruised the app store for some help. I passed on Tripadvisor and Expedia, only because my gut told me I needed to look for an alternative to the big companies. Hopper had the most user-friendly interface and kept things simple. I plugged in my dates and the price came out to around $650. The app told me to book now because prices wouldn’t drop anymore. Hopper recommended I change my dates to two weeks earlier which knocked $200 off! I frantically emailed my professors about assignments during those dates and received the all clear. I called up a friend and we booked it that night.

But get this, my friend booked his ticket seconds before me and got his round-trip ticket from Toronto, Ontario to Honolulu, HI for only $423 taxes in! Not only was it cheap but it was a direct flight with Air Canada. A double win. I had the unfortunate luck of getting my trip for $523 because the price went up in the few seconds my ticket was being processed. Nonetheless, still a steal.

Using Hopper

hopper logo

  1. Get your phone and download the app. Hopper calculates optimal times to book flights at their cheapest and it’s pretty spot on. If you use it well, it will change your life.
  2. Choose the Cheapest Airport. Think about a place you want to go in the next 4-6 months and choose your start and end airports.
  3. Choose the Cheapest Date. Hopper will show you exactly what dates are the cheapest which is why flexibility is important.

  4. Click start watching your trip. Now you can forget about the trip because Hopper does the work for you. You will be notified when the price of your flight drops to the lowest possible amount for the criteria you chose.

  5. Book at the optimal time! I call it literal magic.

Did you find a good deal on a flight through Hopper? Let me know!

 

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