The 5 Most Terrifying Hikes in Hawaii

April 16, 2018

Hawaii is undoubtedly the hub for some of the country’s best hikes, with an abundance of waterfalls, unique flora and fauna, and views that look like they came straight off of a postcard. However, it has also become notorious for having some of the scariest and most dangerous hikes. In face, several popular paths in the islands of Hawaii have been shut down due to deaths and serious injuries. Even more have signs leading to the path, warning hikers that they are not liable for these risks. Still, the brave souls continue on, searching for the best thrills the island have to offer. Without further ado, here are the 5 most terrifying hikes in the state:

5. Queen’s Bath

This tempestuous spot comes in at number five only because the hike itself is pretty short. At a brief 0.6 miles, the walk to this deceivingly peaceful-looking cerulean tide pool will not wear you out, but it brings its own horrifying challenges. The path is often so muddy and slippery that hikers can barely walk. Once you get to the lava rocks, it’s easy to slip and slice open your leg. The destination is the most frightening part, though. The tide is unpredictable, and huge waves could come crashing down any minute. In fact, several tourists have been swept up in these rushing, intense waters. Now, Queen’s Bath has planted signs on the way down warning people about the tide and absolving the state from blame. This is definitely one to be avoided in the winter, when tides are at their worst.

4. Haiku Stairs (aka Stairway to Heaven)

These stairs were never meant to be a hike: in fact, that were only built during World War II to access a radio station antenna. The now-metal stairs are nerve-wracking. Some parts of the path require climbing straight up, while other stretches go along the narrow side of a cliff. This nearly 4,000-stair hike (3.922, to be exact) is also daunting because it’s actually illegal to complete. Already dangerous, the Haiku Stairs have been damaged in a storm, so portions are missing. Brave hikers must sneak in-often through drainage ditch- to avoid the guard. To make things even more terrifying, many people start the Stairway to Heaven climb at night to avoid said guard and watch the sun rise. This is definitely not a hike to try if you do not have sure footing!

3. Bolohead Ridge

If barely scooting along a crumbling, six-inch wide, steep path to a mountain sounds like a good time, then you might enjoy Bolohead Ridge. This rare hike has actually only been attempted two recorded times by humans. Apparently, goats often use it as an alternative path to Mount Ka’ala. The first brave souls, Dayle Turner and Steve Rohrmayer, named the ridge for its likeness to a bald man’s head. Their copycats spent a few days attempting to cross the ridge and even these fearless men ultimately concluded that it was “stupid.” Not even the thrill-seekers should go after this hike, which could fall apart at any moment.

2. Kalalau Trail

This 11.2-mile hike sounds terrifying enough in length alone! However, the real challenge comes at mile seven. Crawler’s Ledge, which is named after the fact that people get so scared while hiking this portion of the trail that they literally crawl, is narrow, rocky, and on the edge of a cliff. One wrong step or loose footing could mean almost certain death. Unlike some of the other hikes on this list, it’s pretty accepted and 100% legal, but that does not mean it is without incidents. People fall around the Crawler’s Ledge portion fairly often, and unpredictable flash floods have led to hikers getting stranded or else drowning.

1. Sacred Falls State Park

Don’t let its beauty fool you. Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources has created loads of images like this to dissuade curious hikers.

On Mother’s Day in 1999, Hawaii suffered a great tragedy. A mudslide in this beautiful state park led to 8 deaths and over 30 injuries. Now, it is illegal to hike Sacred Falls because of mudslides and falling rocks, which could hit an innocent hiker at any moment. Despite the illegality, many hikers go for the beautiful waterfall and stunning views- or to check it off a bucket list. However, the state continues to warn people against it, and reiterated in a video in 2015 that the park is off-limits. The scariest part of this hike is how normal it seems until rocks being to fall.