Haleakala National Park

Phone (808) 572-4400
4.5 stars from 20 reviews
Address 30,000 Haleakala Hwy, Kula, HI 96790
Dormant volcano with incredible views at it's 10,000 ft summit.

Features
• General: National Park • General: Photo Opportunity
• Hiking: Level: Difficult • Hiking: Nature Walk
• Sightseeing: Great Views • Sightseeing: Volcano / Lava Flow

Matt Anderson's Take
Haleakala National Park is part of the United States National Park Service and is located on the island of Maui. This is one of Maui's most popular tourist destinations, with around 1.5 million visitors each year, and covers and area of 33,265 acres with 19,270 acres of pure wilderness. The name Haleakala means "house of the sun" in Hawaiian and if you've ever seen a sunrise here you'd know why! According to Hawaiian legend, the demigod Maui actually imprisoned the sun here in order to create longer days.


In 1916, Haleakala National Park was originally part of the Hawaii National Park along with the volcanoes of Mauna Kea and Kilauea Volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Later, in 1961, The Big Island parks where broken out into their own park system now known as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


Haleakala is actually a volcano, which is dormant, that last erupted sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD. The volcano summit area makes up one section of the part while the coastal Kipahulu area makes up a second section.

The big draw is Haleakala Crater which is 7 miles across and 2 miles wide and almost 1/2 of a mile deep. Hikers can take either the Halemau'u Trail or the Sliding Sands Trail from the summit into the crater and can stay in one of three cabins overnight (advanced reservations required).


The number one reason people come here are for the views, and there is no better time for a view than sunrise. Okay, maybe sunset is just as good! And, if I'm being fair, the views during the day are pretty spectacular as well. Start at the Haleakala Visitor Center where you can get more information on all there is to see and do here along with any current conditions you'll need to be aware of.


The Haleakala Observatory is close to the Haleakala Visitor Center and is an important observation site that offers researchers excellent viewing conditions of space due to the clear skies at this height. The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy manages this site and has been running astrophysical experiments here for over 40 years.


If you want to come for the sunrise it's no longer as simple as getting up before the crack of dawn and driving up. This place has become too popular for its own good and you now need to make a reservation at Recreation.gov. Supposedly, this is being done for "visitor and employee safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and provide a quality visitor experience at the summit during sunrise hours (3am to 7am)" and not just so they can get an additional $1.50 per car (in addition to entrance fees). Since you can reserve your spot 60 days in advance, it probably is better than getting up early and being turned away because it's full but it still stinks of a Disney vacation where you have to reserve anything you want to do months in advance.

Note that you can only buy the one day sunrise ticket online, not at the park, and it's only good on the day you reserve it for and cannot be transferred. If you don't have a reservation they won't let you enter the park until after 7:00 AM. you must have your reservation receipt and your photo ID to get in for the Haleakala sunrise. The actual park entrance fee is separate from the $1.50 reservation fee and can be paid with a credit card on the day you visit and is good for three days (but the sunrise reservation is only good for one day).


Beyond the sunrise, another popular attraction here is Hosmer's Grove. This is a unique forest of alien-like trees that include the Cedrus deodara from the Himalayas, the Japanese Cryptomeria japonica, Australian eucalyptus, and several other North American species of trees.


If you head over to the Kipahulu region of the park, which requires taking the famous (or infamous depending on your level of car sickness) Road To Hana to the southeast side of the island. This is where you'll find the popular Seven Sacred Pools / Ohe'o Gulch and some hiking trails.
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Matt Anderson
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Erik G
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 32
Likes Received: 1
Beautiful location with amazing views. We left early in the morning on our first full day since we had not adjusted to the time change. Made it in time for a beautiful sunrise. Even though you are in Hawaii you better dress warm on this adventure. I really got a kick out of the sign on the way up the summit that says turn headlights on in clouds.
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Aimee T
Joined: Jan 2018
Reviews: 21
Likes Received: 0
Seeing the sunrise from Haleakala is a must do on Maui. It's simply breathtaking and unlike any other sunrise you could imagine.
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Brett D
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 56
Likes Received: 1
Haleakala Park is the place to see the beauty that Maui has to offer. We got a very early start to the morning and the ride up to the top was a little worrisome as it is narrow in some places so use caution. Once at the top it is beyond words as to how awesome it is. Everywhere you look is a view worth seeing and we took lots of pictures so take your cameras you do not want to miss sharing this with friends back home.

When we last visited we did not know you now have to make reservations due to congestion of the road leading up as so many now visit this spot. So make plans as soon as possible to book you day to visit you will not be disappointed. Also make sure to be very careful driving down.
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Monique
Joined: Feb 2017
Reviews: 5
Likes Received: 0
The most breathtaking view I ever had! We saw the sunset over the clouds and what a magical feeling it was. Especially being at 10,000 ft elevation. We spent the night stargazing and it was most amazing seeing the Milky Way with your two eyes, loved every second of it. If you're a stargaze this is a must!
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Vickey W
Joined: Mar 2017
Reviews: 123
Likes Received: 46
So worth losing some sleep over to see. A great start to a very early morning. Awesome to see and made for some really great pictures and videos. Take a jacket and dress warm as we froze.
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Kim S
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 10
Likes Received: 0
Beautiful beyond description! I have a deathly fear of heights and was not thrilled about driving 10,000+ feet up but I had rented an SUV and just decided to go for it. Roads are paved and well maintained with numerous areas to pull over to let more confident drivers pass. There are several spots to stop and look out down on the clouds, which is pretty weird. Being I don't like heights, I left the photography to my son here.

Once you are at the Crater (or Cinder Cone), the views are beyond stunning! It doesn't look real and is like nothing you have ever seen. We are from Michigan and kind of laughed at the warning that is can be cold up there. Many of the wimpy Californians had heavy coats on but we actually were a bit cold when the wind kicked up in the back of the viewing area. This is something not to be missed!
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Colleen E
Joined: Oct 2016
Reviews: 4
Likes Received: 0
We drove up to the volcano and enjoyed the views while we were up there and you could see everywhere! It was a very neat to be able to see so far. We could even see the Big Island as it was soooo clear.
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Christina K
Joined: Sep 2016
Reviews: 3
Likes Received: 0
If you are planning a trip to Maui, don't miss a Haleakala sunrise. You will need to leave your hotel around 3 a.m. so it is a good idea to plan your Haleakala trip for the day after you arrive because you will not have adjusted to the time change yet. Leave early, bring a lot of warm clothes because it gets pretty cold in the high altitude. Get your spot early because the closer it gets to sunrise more and more people show up. The most important thing here is DO NOT LEAVE AS SOON AS THE SUN RISES! Plan on sticking around for a while. There are many photo opportunities here as every view from here is beautiful. I've never been here to see the sunset, but since you can see so many stars on the island, I would suggest trying that out too if you have time on your trip.
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Reggie
Joined: Jul 2016
Reviews: 29
Likes Received: 8
This extinct volcano offers stunning views of Kauai, on sunny days. Be aware that it may be fogged in at the top. The road up is somewhat winding and narrow and can have frost on foggy days. watch for bikers coming down. Do stop at the interpretive center, learn about the Silver Sword plant and watch for it up higher. If you hike in the old volcano, do take lots of water. DO NOT go hiking on foggy days as it is very easy to get lost. Enjoy some of the Hawaiian plant shops on the way down. Stay Safe!
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Mark H
Joined: Feb 2016
Reviews: 1
Likes Received: 0
I have had the pleasure... err experience of driving up to the Haleakala Visitor Center twice now. The first was in a powerful Dodge Challenger & the second in a large Nissan SUV. I must admit that I was not enjoying the drive up either time. The first half of the drive is not bad, but there is no shoulder on the road & once you pass the National Park HQ, the guardrails seemed to disappear. That being said, after all the switchbacks and slow drive up, the view is breathtaking.

It is well worth the drive up the 10,000 feet for the view alone. Both times that we went (2013 & 2015) were in December. While the sea level area was enjoying temperatures in the mid 80's, the temperature at the Visitor Center was a very windy 42 degrees. For the adventurous type, you could easily make a day trip out of it, with hiking, mountain bikes, zip line, & more among the offered activities. My tips: Have a small vehicle & a jacket, but whatever you do, don't forget your camera!
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