Hiking in Haleakala National Park can be a fun and rewarding experience as in other national parks. It is a great way to both see and experience the park.
Haleakala National Park stretches from the rugged Kipahulu coastline up through rainforest and shrubland to the summit of the volcano. Much of the rainforest and upper slopes are designated wilderness, ensuring that the primeval character of the area will remain. Though many people refer to the summit's cinder landscape as a "crater", it is actually a valley carved into the volcano by thousands of years of erosion during a period of dormancy. Renewed volcanic activity has partially filled in the valley with cinder cones and lava flows, which can be viewed from the Haleakala Visitor Center if weather permits. To experience different perspectives of the Park, plan to hike in.
The 27 miles of trails in the Haleakala wilderness cover a land of great contrasts, not only of terrain, but also of topography. Weather changes rapidly. You may be exposed to intense sunlight, and then engulfed in thick clouds and heavy rain. Haleakala rises to 10,023 feet, with a decent to the valley floor of 1,400 feet to 3,000 feet. Trails are strenuous at this elevation due to the lack of oxygen and altitude sickness is a concern. Be on guard for the symptoms; nausea, headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Pregnant women and people with heart or respiratory conditions should consult with their doctor before visiting the Park.
Temperatures commonly range between 40� - 65� F, but can be below freezing at any time with the windchill factor. Hypothermia (life-threatening loss of body heat) is a danger due to the combination of exertion and exposure.
Hikers must be properly equipped. No food, supplies or gas are available in the Park. The Park trails are not wheelchair accessible.
|Sliding Sands||Haleakala Visitor Center parking lot||4.0 miles||This trail descends 2,500 feet through a cinder desert to the valley floor in. The return trip is difficult due to the steep grade, elevation, and reduced oxygen. Allow twice the time to hike out as it takes to hike in.|
|Halemauu||8,000 foot parking lot 3.5 miles above Park Headquarters||9.0 miles||The first mile gradually descends through native shrubland to the valley rim. Two miles of switchbacks then descend 1,400 feet to the valley floor. Sliding Sands and Halemauu trails eventually join after about 9 miles, and are also connected with short spur trails.|
|Kuloa Point||Kipahulu Ranger Station||0.5 mile||Kuloa Point is a windy bluff overlooking Oheo Gulch. Crashing surf and views of the Island of Hawaii are a five minute walk from the Ranger Station. Enjoy a picnic on the grass next to the remnants of an ancient fishing shrine and house site. Explore a Lau Hala thatched building and envision an earlier time. Check at the station for current trail and swimming conditions. Be alert to water conditions as flash flooding may occur within minutes. Obey posted warning signs. This trail is an easy loop towards the ocean along pools and waterfalls and back to the ranger station.|
|Papwai||Kipahulu Ranger Station||4.0 miles round trip||This is a moderately difficult hike through the rain forest up to Waimoku Falls. The trail ends upstream, near the base of 400 foot Waimoku Falls. Take a picnic lunch, snack, insect repellant and water along on this three hour hike.|
|Hosmer Grove Nature Loop||0.5 mile||120 ft||Brochure available at trailhead guides you through forest and shrubland, with good birding opportunities. Good for families with small children.|
|Leleiwi Overlook||0.25 mile||40 ft||Views down to cabin and trails below. Uncrowded. Good photography.|
|White Hill||0.4 mile||140 ft||Rocky trail to top of volcanic cone. Views of cinder cones and Hawaiian shelters. Starts right outside of Haleakala Visitor Center.|
|Sliding Sands to first switchback||0.66 mile||30 ft||Panoramic views of cinder cones and lava flows. Feel the solitude and quiet the wilderness has to offer. Starts by entrance of Haleakala Visitor Center parking lot.|
|Halemau'u to Valley Rim||2.2 miles||400 ft||Experience several ecosystems as you stroll through native shrubland to a tradewind-exposed cliff which overlooks the cloud forest below.|
|Sliding Sands to Ka Lu'u o ka' O'o||5.0 miles||1,400 ft||Images of the multi-colored cinder cones, ever-changing clouds and 'ahinahina (silversword) reward hikers willing to take this steep trail.|
|Halemau'u to Silversword Loop||10.0 miles||1,400 ft||Journey through the shrubland down steep switchbacks, and across a rough �a �a lava flow to a field of 'ahinahina (silversword).|
|Sliding Sands to Halemau'u Trailhead||11.00 miles*||3,000 ft||Journey through the shrubland down steep switchbacks, and across a rough �a �a lava flow to a field of 'ahinahina (silversword).|
All Distances are Round Trip
Ask at Park Headquarters or Haleakala Visitor center about alternatives for shorter hikes; even short walks offer spectacular views on clear days.
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