13 of the Scariest Staircases We’ve Ever Seen

4 min read

Staircases are an essential part of our lives, providing access to different levels of a building. However, some staircases go beyond their functional purpose and become architectural wonders or even sources of fear. From dizzying heights to eerie designs, these staircases can send shivers down your spine. In this article, we will explore 13 of the scariest staircases ever built, each with its own unique element of horror.

1. Haiku Stairs, Hawaii

The Haiku Stairs, also known as the “Stairway to Heaven,” is a breathtaking and terrifying staircase located on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. With nearly 4,000 steps, this staircase is not for the faint of heart. Originally built during World War II to access a radio station at the top of the mountain, it is now illegal to climb due to safety concerns. Despite the ban, daredevils still attempt the treacherous journey.

2. Umeda Sky Building, Japan

The Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan, features a unique escalator that takes visitors to an observation deck suspended between two towering skyscrapers. The escalator lacks any safety barriers, leaving passengers with a feeling of vertigo as they ascend through the open space. The view may be incredible, but it’s not for those who fear heights.

3. The Loretto Chapel Staircase, New Mexico

The Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is famous for its miraculous staircase. Built in 1878, the staircase is a marvel of engineering as it has no visible means of support. Legend has it that the staircase was constructed by a mysterious carpenter who disappeared without payment. The staircase’s design, with its 360-degree spiral and lack of central support, adds to its eerie allure.

4. The Glass Bridge, China

Located in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China, the Glass Bridge is not for the faint-hearted. This transparent walkway stretches over 1,400 feet and is suspended 984 feet above the ground. The fear-inducing design allows visitors to experience the sensation of walking on air as they gaze down at the stunning landscape below.

5. The Inca Stairs, Peru

The Inca Stairs, also known as the “Stairs of Death,” are a treacherous and vertigo-inducing set of stone steps leading to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. Carved into the side of a mountain, these steep and narrow stairs offer a challenging climb for even the most experienced hikers. The lack of handrails and the sheer drop-offs make this staircase a nightmare for those with a fear of heights.

6. The Staircase at Winchester Mystery House, California

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, is a mansion known for its mysterious and eerie features. One of its most chilling attractions is a staircase that leads to nowhere. This peculiar staircase was built by Sarah Winchester, the eccentric owner of the house, who believed that the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles were haunting her. The staircase was intended to confuse the ghosts and prevent them from finding her.

7. The Longest Staircase in the World, Switzerland

Located in the Swiss Alps, the Niesenbahn Funicular holds the record for the longest staircase in the world. With a staggering 11,674 steps, this staircase is not for the faint-hearted. It is a popular challenge for endurance athletes, who attempt to climb it as quickly as possible. The sheer length of the staircase, combined with the breathtaking mountain scenery, creates a truly daunting experience.

8. The Stairs of Repentance, France

The Stairs of Repentance, or “Escalier de la Repentance,” is a hauntingly beautiful staircase located on the island of Corsica, France. Carved into a cliffside, the staircase consists of 187 steps that descend to a picturesque beach. The eerie atmosphere and stunning views attract visitors from around the world, but the steep and narrow steps can be quite unnerving.

9. The Spiral Staircase, Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy, house one of the most famous spiral staircases in the world. Designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, this double-helix staircase is a masterpiece of art and engineering. The mesmerizing design and intricate details draw visitors in, but the narrow steps and lack of handrails can be intimidating for those with a fear of heights.

10. The Staircase at Blood Manor, New York

Blood Manor, a haunted house attraction in New York City, is known for its terrifying experiences. One of its most chilling features is a narrow and dimly lit staircase that leads visitors deeper into the darkness. The combination of eerie ambiance, unexpected scares, and claustrophobic surroundings make this staircase a nightmare for thrill-seekers.

11. The Staircase at Bran Castle, Romania

Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania, is often associated with the legend of Count Dracula. Within this Gothic fortress lies a winding and ominous staircase that adds to the castle’s eerie reputation. Visitors who dare to climb these steps can immerse themselves in the dark history and macabre atmosphere that permeate the castle.

12. The Abandoned Hospital Staircase, Italy

Abandoned hospitals are notorious for their haunting atmosphere, and the staircase in an abandoned hospital in Italy is no exception. With peeling paint, decaying walls, and a sense of desolation, this staircase evokes a feeling of dread and mystery. It serves as a chilling reminder of the building’s past and the stories that remain untold within its walls.

13. The Stairs of Death, Bolivia

The Yungas Road, also known as the “Death Road,” in Bolivia is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world. The treacherous journey is made even more terrifying by a set of stairs carved into the side of a cliff. Known as the “Stairs of Death,” these steps are the only way for pedestrians to navigate the steep and winding road. The lack of safety barriers and the constant risk of falling make this staircase a true nightmare.


These 13 staircases represent the epitome of fear-inducing design and eerie allure. From dizzying heights to haunted legends, each staircase has its own unique element of horror that can send shivers down your spine. Whether it’s the vertigo-inducing Umeda Sky Building escalator or the mysterious Winchester Mystery House staircase, these architectural wonders challenge our perceptions of safety and push us to confront our deepest fears.


1. Are these staircases safe to climb?

Most of the mentioned staircases are not safe to climb, either due to their deteriorating conditions, lack of safety measures, or legal restrictions. It is essential to prioritize your safety and follow any regulations or warnings in place.

2. Can tourists visit these scary staircases?

Some of these staircases are open to the public, while others may require special permissions or guided tours. It is advisable to research and plan your visit accordingly, keeping in mind any restrictions or safety concerns.

3. Are there any accidents or fatalities associated with these staircases?

Over the years, some of these staircases have witnessed accidents or even fatalities. The risks associated with these staircases should not be taken lightly, and visitors must exercise caution and adhere to any safety guidelines in place.

4. Are there any haunted stories associated with these staircases?

Several of these staircases have haunting legends or ghost stories attached to them. These tales add to the allure and mystery surrounding the staircases, captivating the imaginations of those who dare to explore them.

5. Can these staircases be considered architectural wonders?

Yes, many of these staircases are architectural wonders, showcasing unique designs, engineering marvels, and historical significance. Despite their terrifying aspects, they continue to attract tourists and enthusiasts from around the world due to their captivating beauty and intriguing stories.

In conclusion, the 13 staircases mentioned in this article offer a glimpse into the world of fear-inducing design and eerie allure. They serve as a testament to human creativity and our ability to push boundaries, both in terms of architectural innovation and our willingness to confront our deepest fears. Whether you seek thrills or simply appreciate the beauty in the macabre, these staircases are sure to leave a lasting impression.

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