Hawaii’s Famous Haiku Stairs Will Be Dismantled, Officials Say

The well-known tourist attraction is actually a huge headache for local residents.

Chances are that you're familiar with the Haiku Stairs. Located on the island of O'ahu, they make regular appearances in social media feeds, as they offer the perfect photo op, complete with a jaw-droppingly gorgeous view. Perhaps you were hoping to visit them one day yourself. Unfortunately, your chance to climb the stairs, popularly known as the Stairway to Heaven, might be gone.

Following a Honolulu City Council meeting, it's very likely that the Haiku Stairs will be removed sometime next year. The stairs wind through a 2,800-foot mountain trail in Kaneohe and sit on the eastern side of O'ahu. The stairs amount to about 3,922 steps and are lauded as the best view in all of Hawaii.

Originally built by the US Navy in 1942, the stairs have been made host to injuries every year since. In 1987, the heavenly stairway was made off-limits to the public, but that still hasn't stopped hordes of influencers, thrill-seekers, and tourists from trespassing to get to the stairs. Hawaii News Now says that council member Esther Kiaʻāina authorized the proposal to remove the stairs, saying, "Due to rampant illegal trespassing, Haiku Stairs is a significant liability and expense for the city, and impacts the quality of life for nearby residents."

One frustrated resident even told Hawaii News Now that he sees 200 to 300 trespassers each month on his security cameras at all hours of the night. He says he has spotted people creeping behind his neighbor's home, climbing over his fence, and walking next to his bedroom.

Councilmember Brandon Elefante told Hawaii News Now that in the past, the city has spent “nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars to remodel the stairs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in security costs." The ruling has been sent to Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, who is expected to approve removing the Haiku Stairs. Blangiardi has 60 days to make a final decision.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.