While visiting the Hawaiian islands on our honeymoon we spent part of our time exploring Maui’s resorts, shops and beaches. But our visits to the natural settings, such as Haleakala National Park, were the ones we remember most. Haleakala, aside from being fun to pronounce, was breathtaking and like stepping back in time, or walking on the moon. The top is very quiet, vast and barren, looking into the dormant volcano crater. It made us feel quite small – and even cold. The elevation at the summit is over 10,000 feet, meaning that you can experience temps in the 30′s at the top – so pack a sweatshirt to go with that bathing suit, which would be more advisable in the coastal region where things get steamy, wet and lush. A third option allows you to travel down into the wilderness of the mountain, revealing its unpredictable beauty. Quick and easy or slow and leisurely, you can get away from the present and step into the past.
The view. Sunrise bike rides down from the summit. Sunset hikes and guided star gazing at night. Sitting on top of clouds, gazing across to other islands, rain forest greens and desert reds, not to mention clear ocean blues. Forgetting your binoculars and camera while visiting Haleakala National Park would be regrettable.
$10 per car, $5 per motorcycle or $3 per person (free under 16) via foot or bike or motorcycle passenger. Day pass is actually good for 3 days.
Families with young kids will like:
Discovering endangered and unusual plants like the silverswords.
Families with teenagers will like:
Testing out the freshwater “Seven Sacred Pools” in Kipahulu at the coast.
Other travelers will like:
Taking a horseback ride into the dormant crater (private tour companies).
Easy site seeing:
Driving to the summit or meandering on the Road to Hana to the Kipahulu coastal region.
Best hotel in the park:
None inside the park. Hotel Hana is about 10 miles from the Kipahulu section. Resort hotels in Wailea are about 20 miles away from the summit and plenty of other lodging is nearby.
Best campground in the park:
Kipahulu Campground provides drive-up accessibility, basic camping facilities, ocean waves to lull you to sleep and close access to provisions in Hana or swimming at the freshwater pools.
Hike in with your pack to bare bones, wilderness camping or reserved cabins down the mountain at Holua (closest hike) and Paliku (difficult hike to rain forest edge). Hike to reserved cabins at Kapalaoa farther down the mountain wilderness. Auto accessible campsites at Hosmer Grove (chilly) near the summit and Kipahulu Campsite on the ocean off the Road to Hana (BYO H2O).
Best months to visit for weather:
Best months to visit to avoid crowds:
April, May, September, October
Nearest major cities:
More info from the National Park Service:
By Molly G. @ The Bumbles Blog
Photo credited to Molly G. @The Bumbles Blog