A rare and sacred landscape – Haleakala National Park is a national park on the island of Maui in the US state of Hawai’i. The attraction of the national park in Hawaii is the Haleakalā volcano, a dormant volcano that last erupted sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD.
A place to experience ancient and modern Hawaiian culture of land and people. This national park in Hawaii also provides a habitat for many endangered species found nowhere else in the world. Visit this special place and discover its scenic beauty.
Covering an area of 134.62 km2, of which 77.98 km2 are designated as wilderness areas, the national park is divided into two distinct sections: the peak area and the coastal Kipahulu area.
An extremely winding but well-developed road leads up the mountain. The peak area features the park’s main attraction, the huge Haleakala Crater at the top of the volcano. The famous Haleakala Observatory also awaits you at the summit. From here you have a breathtaking view over Mauri Island and can discover the sky in the Haleakala Observatory.
Haleakala Park is known for its unique volcanic features, numerous viewpoints and uninterrupted views of the night sky. It is one of the best spots in the United States for amateur astronomy, binoculars, and telescopes. If you have forgotten these, you can rent a telescope from local dealers.
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Maui Crater of Haleakalā Volcano
This huge crater of the 3,055 meter high Haleakalā volcano has an area of 49 km². It is undoubtedly the main attraction of Haleakalā Park. The crater is 11.25 km wide, 3.2 km long and about 790 meters deep. The interior of the crater has been eroded by millennia of heavy rainfall and consists of numerous volcanic features with multiple volcanic cones.
Two main trails lead into the crater from the summit: the Halemau’u Trail and the Sliding Sands Trail. These trails also lead to basic accommodation such as the Wilderness Cabins: Holua, Kapalaoa, Paliku and two campgrounds.
Every morning many visitors come to the top of the volcano to watch the spectacular sunrise. Likewise, several visitors come every afternoon to watch the equally amazing sunset. If you are one of these visitors, we recommend that you dress warmly, as it can get very cold at the top of Haleakalā Volcano at these times. A very well-developed road leads up to the summit, on this way there are many attractive views of a beautiful landscape.
Maui Coast Kipahulu
The second section of the national park is called Kipahulu and is located on the coast of Maui. There is no direct route from the top of Haleakalā to the coast. To get to the coast of Kipahulu Valley one has to drive a winding coastal road.
When visiting this section of the park, it is a good idea to use the hiking trail to Waimoku Falls, which starts at the Kipahulu Visitor Center. This hiking trail is about an hour long. Other attractions on the Kipahulu Coast include several pools along the Palikea Stream. These pools contain rare native freshwater fish.
Flora and fauna in Haleakala National Park
Because the island of Maui consists of a volcanic region, all of the plants and animals that live here are pioneer plants. Some of them got here naturally from the sea and have adapted to the environmental conditions. Today, Haleakala National Park has more endangered species than any other national park in the United States.
The park is home to the Haleakala Observatory, a major observation site near the visitor center. From here you have an excellent view of the mostly very clear sky. This site has been operated by the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy for more than 40 years. One of the observatory’s missions is to track the Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS).
Visitor Centers in Haleakala National Park
To get more information about the park and the volcano you can visit one of the three visitor centers: Park Headquarters Visitor Center, Haleakalā Visitor Center or the Kīpahulu Visitor Center. All three are open daily and display many cultural and natural history exhibits. You can also get information about guided hikes and register for camping in the wilderness.
Hikes in Haleakala Park
Many visitors want to get to know the park area on a guided hike and learn as much as possible about the region in the process. Or explore Haleakalā National Park on your own, but please note that you stay on the designated trails to protect the rare nature.
In the summit area of Haleakalā National Park there are over 48 km of hiking trails with breathtaking views. There are short distances but also hikes lasting several days through the native bushland. Explore these trails, spot native wildlife and explore the geological history of the volcano.
The Kīpahulu area has approximately 4.8 km of hiking trails through a lush, green tropical coastal landscape.
Campgrounds in Haleakala National Park
Two campgrounds Hosmer Grove Campground and Kīpahulu Campground are located in Haleakala National Park.
Kīpahulu Campground is located on the east side of the island in the Kīpahulu area accessible from the Hāna Highway.
Hosmer Grove is on the way to the summit, high on the windswept slopes of Haleakalā. Both places work on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are also two primitive wilderness campgrounds in the park, the Hōlua Campsite and the Palikū Campsite
History of Haleakala National Park
Initially, the area was protected in 1916 with the volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea as part of Hawaii National Park. The area has been separate from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park since 1961 and is managed independently. In addition, the park has been recognized as an international biosphere reserve since 1980. Its name Haleakalā is the Hawaiian word for “house of the sun”. According to legend, the Maui’s tried to catch the sun here to lengthen the day.
Opening hours & entrance fees to Haleakala Park
The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is only closed in extreme weather events.
Admission to Haleakalā National Park is $20.00 per vehicle and is valid for three days. Motorbikes pay $15.00, cyclists and hikers $10.00.
Driving into Haleakala National Park
Located on the island of Maui, Haleakalā National Park stretches from the 10,000-foot (3055 m) summit of Haleakalā on the mountain’s southeast flank to the Kīpahulu Coast near Hāna. Park entrance and the 10,000-foot summit can be reached from Kahului via Route 37-377-378.
Driving time to the summit from:
Kahului approximately 2.5 hours
Wailea approximately 3 hours
Lahaina approximately 3.5 hours
The Kīpahulu Coast can be reached via Route 36 to 360 to 31. Driving time from Kahului is approximately 4 hours.
Both sections of the park are not directly connected by road, but both can be reached from Kahului. Please note that there is no parking in the park. The last parking option is in the town of Pukalani.
Address of the Haleakalā National Park attraction in Hawaii
Haleakalā National Park
Kula, HI 96790