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Haleakala National Park

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Kipahulu Area- Haleakala National Park extends from the 10,023 foot summit of Haleakala down the southeast flank of the mountain to the Kipahulu coast near Hana. The park is divided into two sections, the Summit Area and the Kipahulu Area.
Summit Area- Haleakala National Park extends from the 10,023 foot summit of Haleakala down the southeast flank of the mountain to the Kipahulu coast near Hana. The park is divided into two sections, the Summit Area and the Kipahulu Area.

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General Information

Trail to Falls
Copyright: Marshall Hall - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Trail to Falls
Description - Haleakala National Park extends from the 10,023 foot summit of Haleakala down the southeast flank of the mountain to the Kipahulu coast near Hana. These two sections of the Park are not directly connected by road, but both can be reached from Kahului.

Attractions - Haleakala National Park includes 28,655 acres, 19,270 of which are designated wilderness. The park preserves the outstanding features of Haleakala Crater, which include the unique and fragile ecosystems of Kipahulu Valley, the scenic pools along Ohe'o Gulch and many rare and endangered animal species.

Hiking and walking are very popular within Haleakala National Park. In the Summit area two trails lead into the wilderness: Sliding Sands Trail and Halemau`u Trail. There are also many shorter trails available in this area. At Kipahulu, all trails start at the Ranger Station/Visitor Center. Picnicking, viewing historic sites and swimming are also popular activities in the Kipahulu area of the park. Both areas of the Park offer guided walks and programs on the geology and natural and cultural history of the area.

A variety of camping opportunities are available at Haleakala National park. Hosmer Grove Campground and Kipahulu Campgrounds have picnic tables, barbecue grills and outdoor pit toilets. Two Wilderness campgrounds, Holua and Paliku, lie within the park boundaries. These sites are accessible by foot and contain primitive camping facilities without water. There are no open fires allowed in the Wilderness and a permit is required to camp within its boundaries. Three wilderness cabins are maintained by the National Park Service for visitor use by advanced reservation lottery. They are accessible by foot. At Kipahulu, a primitive campground near the ocean is available without a permit on a first come, first served basis.

Stop at one of the several overlooks on the Park road or take a short walk away from the traffic noise to watch the clouds. The visual horizon in many places in the Summit area is up to 115 miles out to sea. Even cloudy skies can offer amazing sights including rainbows, moonbows and halos seen around your shadow. Haleakala offers one of the most easily accessible places to watch planets, stars and moons after dark.

Several private companies operate tours within the Park. They include downhill biking on the Park road, horseback tours of the wilderness, and guided hikes. Check the yellow pages of the Maui phone book, the activities desks at hotels and resorts, or consult the Hawai`i Visitor's Bureau for information.

Recreation - Visitors to this island park can participate in a myriad of outdoor activities. At Park Headquarters, Haleakala Visitor Center and the Kipahulu Ranger Station/Visitor Center have cultural and natural history exhibits. Rangers are on duty during business hours to answer questions and help you make the most of your visit. The most popular activities in the park include backpacking, camping, hiking, horseback riding, nature walks, stargazing, swimming, wildlife viewing and viewing scenery.

Climate - The weather at the summit of Haleakala is unpredictable. Temperatures commonly range between 40 and 65F, but can be below freezing at anytime of year with the wind chill factor. Weather changes rapidly at high elevations on Haleakala. Intense sunlight, thick clouds, heavy rain and high winds are possible daily. Visitors should wear lightweight, layered clothing that will keep you warm even in wet weather and sturdy, comfortable shoes.

The weather in Kipahulu is usually warm and rain is common. Flash flooding of the pools and streams can be hazardous to swimmers and hikers. Mosquitoes can be prevalent in this area.

Location - The Summit area of Haleakala is a three hour round trip drive from Kahului via roads 37, 377, and 378. Follow the signs posted along the Highway.

The Kipahulu area of the Park is at the east end of Maui between Hana and Kaupo. It can be reached via Highway 36, a curvy, often wet road. Kipahulu is about 90 miles from the resort areas of Wailea or Kaanapali, and 60 miles from central Maui. Driving time is about 3-4 hours each way. An extension of this road, Highway 31, goes around the dry side of the island, past Kaupo and on to Ulupalakua. It is only partially paved and can be hazardous or closed during periods of stormy weather.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Jack Davies
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: BACKPACKING HALEAKALA, APRIL 2004 Star date: Saturday, April 10, 2004 The day started off gloomy and soon turned to steady rain at the Banana Bungalow in Wailuku, Maui. Thoughts of cancelling my trip were in the back of my mind, but a new hostel friend (with a car!) offered to take me the 28 miles to the summit of Haleakala where the Sliding Sands trail head is, and promised to bring me back if I decided not to go. We arrived at the trail head at 11:30 AM shrouded in clouds and rain, but my meteorological training gave me some hope I would descend below the cloud base in a short time, so I gamely donned my rain slicker, shouldered my 35 pound backpack and started off into the fog and mist. Immediately upon cresting the rim of the crater and starting the 4000-foot descent, I was enveloped by an almost eerie silence punctuated occasionally by some kind of squawky bird sound somewhere out there. After walking about 3 miles, and descending slowly on a well-travelled trail, I broke through the cloud and could see all the way across the crater to the Kalapawili Ridge where I would camp.. some 7 miles ahead of me. I stopped for lunch at the Kaialaoa cabin (7 miles) and enjoyed the company of a pair of Nene Geese who were showing their two chicks how to forage in the grass around the cabin. I peaked in the windows, and saw evidence of people staying there, but they were nowhere around. The last 3 miles was a bit of a challenge, as the trail turned into a rock scampering sojourn across a lava field, but the emerging view of the top of the Kaupu Gap was exhilarating. Reached the campsite at Pilaku around 5ish, and talked briefly to a girl who was staying in the cabin with 4 other people from Oahu. She offered a bed in the cabin, as there was one extra, but I was determined to sleep in my tent and experience the “bone chilling” night ahead. Bone chilling it wasn’t, as it only got down to 9 degrees C. which is warmer than most summer Rocky Mountain camping. By the time I set the tent, made some dinner and crawled into my sleeping bag it was 6:30, and I somehow managed to sleep 12 hours until 6:30 the next morning. Star date: Sunday, April 11, 2004 Awoke to the sight of the sun spilling over the Kalapawili Ridge and bouncing off the far walls of the soon to be travelled Kaupu Gap. After brewing a large cup of coffee, and finding the cistern where I would filter water for my day, the friendly girl arrived with two Easter Eggs for me. What a nice surprise, and a welcome addition to the Granola bar I was planning for breakfast. I learned two things that day. One, if you want to admire the view, stop walking! While gazing to the sea some 8 miles distant and 6000 feet below me, I slipped off the trail into some tall grass and brush that immobilized me like a beetle on it’s back. I was glad there was no one around to laugh at me, but at the same time wondered what would have happened if I couldn’t get back on the trail. Finally had to shrug out of the pack and scramble back up to level terrain. The second lesson was: Gore-Tex lined boots are fine for keeping water out, but it also keeps sweat in! By the time I reached the half way point where I would leave the National Park and continue through private ranch land… my toes were feeling like broiled “piggies in a blanket”. By now it was approaching 27 degrees. I spied a water catchment tank for cattle wandering the area, and bravely shucked my clothes for a refreshing dip. I had to keep reminding my self that there were no poisonous or creepy critters living in Hawaii, and was relatively confident there were no fresh water eels either. My goal for the day was to reach the small settlement of Kaupu and eat dinner at the Kaupu General Store. Well, so much for goals… it took me much longer than expected to reach the road, and by the time I got there the store was closed. I had read that the locals allowed tents at the “Aloha” church, but I had no idea where it was. Next to the store, a kinda “Hippy Happening” was going on, so I asked if anyone knew where I could camp. I was directed to “Pierre-O” who turns out was the church caretaker, and he not only gave approval, he also offered me a shower!! Oh man, what a glorious feeling to stand under cold water cascading down my plump shamelessly nude body, surrounded by people painting their faces and listening to Led Zeppelin. A local gave me a ride to the church (2 long miles away) and I set up camp, made some dinner and retired to my tent. It was a blustery night and intermittent rain punctuated the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks, but I slept like a baby. Star date: Monday, April 12, 2004 All night I could smell a sweet essence floating out of the near by trees, so in the morning I couldn’t resist searching out the source. You wouldn’t believe the ecstasy of finding guava tress full of ripe guava fruit. I gorged myself for awhile before I remembered that the lack of “facilities” along the next stretch might prove disastrous if I had to make a dash. Alrighty then… 8 miles along the narrow unpaved road along the coast to the Kipahulu Visitor Centre where I would camp for the night. How hard could it be? I mean, after all, if I got tired surely someone would stop and offer a ride. Right. Although nearly a dozen cars passed me that day, nary a one offered me a ride, and I was too proud to stick out my thumb… so I walked the whole way. It was an easy walk though, and I was able to find lots of shady spots perched on one lane bridge abutments. At one point, I rounded a corner at my blistering 2 mile an hour speed, and to my amazement, I saw a sign professing fresh brewed coffee! Woo Hoo! I enjoyed a cup of fresh ground, locally grown mountain coffee sharing conversation with the two hilariously funny gay guys running the “joint”. They kept looking at my sweat stained body and remarking how brave I was for an older type hiker person. When I asked how much further it was to Kipahulu, one said, “Oh my gawd dahling, it’s got to be about a mile and a half, but I”VE NEVER walked it”! Reached the state campground early afternoon, found the best shady spot, set up camp and laid around reading my 50 pound pocket book I had lugged with me. Star date: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 6:00 AM, blissfully sleeping. “Snorkel, slurp, rustle” … oh my God it’s a bear! Wait a minute dummy, you’re in Hawaii… “mmmmoooo”, it’s a cow! Spent the next 10 minutes yelling, “shoo cow” through the tent walls. Oh well, as I was fully awake by now, and as it would be another 8 hours before my ride would arrive I decided to go for a swim in the ocean. That’s when I saw the sign - Death By Drowning Happens Once in a Lifetime! Being a mountain boy, I prudently forego the swim, and spend the day lazing around the 7 sacred pools, which there are not 7 and they aren’t sacred. My ride arrived at 2:00 PM, and we stopped in Hana for a bag of Maui chips and a coke. Such sweet nectar ha ha. After a shower and a shave back at the Banana Bungalow, I treated myself to a big T-bone steak at Squeaky’s Restaurant by the hostel, and retired to the common room to re-live the adventure over and over to all the spell bound European wind surfers. - 30 -

More Information

Contact Information:
Haleakala National Park, P.O. Box 369 , Makawao, HI, 96768, Phone: 808-572-4400
, HALE_Interpretation@nps.gov

Additional Information:
Maui - Maui is the second largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. On its shores and mountains are many sites of natural, cultural and historical interest.

Haleakala National Park - Official agency website
Mystic Volcanic Landscapes - Nice photo gallery of the volcano.


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