Home to the world’s largest dormant volcano, multiple ecological zones, and otherworldly landscapes, Haleakala National Park offers a splendid variety of things to do.
In this guide, we’ll tell you about the best time to visit Haleakala National Park, the best hotels near, entry fees, etc. , for a perfect fun-filled vacation. Let’s get started!
|Park||Haleakala National Park|
|Things to do||Hiking, Waterfall, Drive and many more|
|Hotels Near Haleakala National Park||Grand Wailea, Wailea Beach Resort|
|Camping Location||Multiple Locations|
Where Is Haleakala National Park?
Haleakala National Park is located in south-central Maui island, Hawaii. You can take routes 37, 378, or 377 to reach the park from Kahului.
Also, the Kipahulu area is located at the east end of Maui between Kaupa and Hana, which you can reach by taking Highway 36.
You can expect to drive three-four hours if you decide to take these routes.
About Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park is home to the Haleakala Volcano, which was thought to be 400-600 years ago.
At the moment, the volcano is dormant, and there’s no potential threat of erupting anytime soon.
Located in the Maui state of Hawaii, it has two distinct sections: The Summit District, where you’ll find the famous Haleakala and red crater views, and the Kipahulu District, where you’ll find the famous waterfalls, subtropical rainforests, and popular Maui activities.
More than 1.45 million visitors come to visit the Haleakala National Park every year to hike across the old lava fields, enjoy the scenic coastal views, and or spend a night under one of the darkest skies.
History of Haleakala National Park
Long before the Haleakala region was designated as a national park, the Park supported the Native Hawaiians living in the Haleakala landscape for around 10,000 years.
In 1841, the formal expedition was sent to explore the area, and they spread the word about the beauty of the Park.
The Park became famous worldwide, with crowds of tourists visiting the Park in the following months.
The increasing popularity of the Park led to the establishment of a national park in 1916 and an international monument as a part of the Hawaii National Park.
The Park was separated and made into a separate park in 1961.
In 1980, the Haleakala National Park was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve to preserve this beautiful land.
Read: Redwood National Park
Things to do in Haleakala National Park
Here’s an overview of the top 5 things to do in this Park both at Summit and Kipahulu District:
Haleakala Summit Sunrise
The sunrise at Haleakala Summit is one of the most spectacular views to witness in the entire Park and Maui as well.
Looking across the blanket of clouds and seeing the first rays of sunlight at the top of Haleakala is a phenomenal experience that can’t be described in words.
When the weather is favorable, the summit of Haleakala sits higher than the clouds and offers a jaw-dropping view of the island of Maui and the Pacific Ocean below that you’ll never forget.
Road to Hana
The Road to Hana is a narrow one-lane scenic road that takes you through some of the gorgeous areas of the Park worth exploring.
But it is not for everyone as it is ridiculously thin and mean for only adventurous souls.
The road drives past along the Maui’s southeastern coast and provides access to the many vital trails and highlights of the Park, including Waimoku Falls, Pipiwai Trail, and Kipahulu campground.
The best time to drive the road is in winter as the crowds are much less and you can enjoy the views in peace.
No visit to this Park is complete without hiking to the Haleakala Crater.
It is one of the most popular tourist attractions that provide a bird-eye view of the central valley and flora and fauna that are found nowhere else in the world.
The Sliding Sands Tails is one of the most popular trails that travels 6-miles through the rim of Haleakala and ends on the crater floor.
On your way, you’ll walk on the dusty, sandy trails in a landscape that looks like Mars.
Once you reach the crater, you’ll be awe-struck with the stunning scenery and views from there.
This majestic 400-feet tall waterfall is situated at the head of Ohe’o Gulch and is one of the tallest waterfalls that can be seen without a helicopter other than Alaska Falls.
Visitors can take the 4-mile Pipiwai trail to get to the falls, which take 4-hours to complete.
Along the way to the falls, you get past a colossal banyan tree and much smaller falls that have magical views.
La Perouse is an oceanfront archeological site in the Park considered sacred to the Native Hawaiians.
The jagged lava fields of La Perouse’s got created from the most recent eruption of Mount Haleakala in the 1790s.
Visitors can take the Hoapili trail from La Perouse and travel south to the beautiful pristine bay with crystal clear waters.
The aquatic life is also abundant in the bay, and it’s an excellent spot for swimming and kayaking.
Best Time to Visit Haleakala National Park
The ideal time to visit the Park is from August through September, when the weather is warm, comfortable and rain is unlikely.
Also, the summer is the cheapest time of the year. If you want to beat crowds, the best time is from December till January as the summer crowds have faded and the weather can still be pleasant.
Map of Haleakala National Park
Before heading towards the the Park, it’s a good idea to download the map of the park to get a grasp of the area.
Since the Park has two different regions, you can easily get lost, and a map will help you become more familiar with the roads, trails, and main points of interest. Click here to download the map.
This Park has two wilderness tent camping areas accessible only by trails for authentic backcountry camping and hiking adventure.
Holua Cabin is located in the shrubland near Koolau Gap, while Paliku Cabin is nestled at the east end of the valley at the base of the rain forest.
Both campgrounds are primitive and require reservations. The Park also has two drive-up campgrounds located in the Summit district.
Both campgrounds are equipped with modern amenities and available on a first-come-first-served basis.
Click here to make a reservation.
This Park is famous for its highly unpredictable and wide range of weather patterns.
The temperature can vary from 70°F in Kipahulu to a low of 30°F at the summit on the same day. In Summit District, the temperature drops about 3°F for every 1,000-foot rise in the elevation.
The average temperature throughout the year ranges from below freezing point to 50 to 65°F. On the other hand, the weather in the Kīpahulu District is milder and more humid.
The daytime temperature averages between 70 to 80°F throughout the year, with 187 inches of rain annually. Make sure to check the current weather for any alerts before visiting.
Best Hotels Near Haleakala National Park
If you’re looking for quick access to the Summit Area, the Upcountry Maui area offers the best summit access.
South Mui provides the best access to beaches in the Kipahulu district. Here are some best hotels to stay near the Park:
- Wailea Beach Resort
- Hana Maui Resort
- Grand Wailea
- Royal Lahaina Resort
- Banyan Tree B&B Retreat
- Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
Entry Fee & Reservations
The entry pass for this Park is $30 per vehicle, $25 per motorcycle, and $15 per person or bicycle, valid for three conductive days.
The same pass can be used to visit both districts of the parks. Suppose you plan to stay longer, and your visit to the Summit and Coastal District will be more than three days apart.
In that case, it’s better to go for a Hawaii Tri-Park National Pass, which covers Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park and Pu’uhonua’ O Hōnaunau National Historical Park as well. You can also purchase passes at the entrance of the Park.
Checklist for Items to Pack
Here are some essential travel items you should bring with you for a day of adventure in the Park:
- Day backpack
- Comfortable seasonal clothes
- Rain Cover
- Sleeping bag
- Hiking shoes
- Waterproof shoes
- Sun hat & Sunscreen
- Plenty of water
- Trail mix/snack bars
- Bug Spray
- First-aid kit
- Map & Compass
How much time Should I Spend in Haleakala National Park?
We’d recommend spending at least one day in each district to experience the highlights of each one.
From Where did the Haleakala National Park get its name?
The name Haleakala means “House of the Sun,” derived from the legend that the demigod Maui imprisoned the sun there to extend the day.
Can I Drive to the Haleakala Summit?
Yes, you can drive to the Haleakala summit, and there’s no hiking required to get to the top of the summit.
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