History of the Haiku Stairs

Originally the Haiku Stairs were built during World War II (1942-1943) to provide access to build a new top secret Naval Radio Station strategically placed in the Haiku Valley because of the topography of the surrounding cliffs.  This high location allowed for long range transmissions as well as provided a natural protection by the surrounding cliff walls.



Before the stairs were built, It took the first climbers (Bill Adams & Louis Otto) 21 days to toil the route and reach the summit.  They left spikes in place as they made their way to the top.   These spikes were used to later hang sections of ladders on to make the trail more passable in the future.  These ladders were later replaced by wooden stairs and eventually the galvanized steel ladder was added.  In many places along the Stairway to Heaven today, pieces of the original wooden stairs are still visible.


Each steel section of the stairs is approximately 6 feet long and is made up of eight steps with metal handrails on either side.  They are each numbered and anchored to the mountain side with steel pins.   The average slope of each section is 30º.



In February of 2015 a landslide damaged the trail leaving the future of the Haiku Stairs in question.