Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Haleakalā National Park

  • Published 2022/05/06

On the Hawaiian island of Maui, Haleakala National Park is the site of the dormant Haleakala Volcano and rare Hawaiian geese.

You may enjoy the views of the West Maui Mountains from the Leleiwi and Kalahaku viewpoints on the high Crater Road.

The Ponds of Ohe’o, freshwater, and falls nestled amid a forest area, are on the coast of Kpahulu.

They maintain, administer, and interpret these unique treasures in collaboration with the community and other collaborators for future generations’ knowledge, experience, and motivation.

Tourists can watch the dawn above the clouds and go into the crater, but the park offers more than just viewing the peak of a volcano.

Check out this list of the best things to do in Haleakala National Park.

Relax and Enjoy the View at Leleiwi Overlook

Gorgeous sea of clouds from Leleiwi Overlook

Bandersnatch /

The Leleiwi Overlook offers magnificent views into the crater, the Kaup Gap, and down the Koolau Gap to Maui’s north side shoreline.

The word Leleiwi means “bone altar.”

While the people preserved the name on earlier levels of the crater, the term’s origin has been forgotten.

Viewing deck of Leleiwi Overlook

Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0 US, via Wikimedia Commons

On a clear day, one may look down to Maui’s north coast via the Koolau Gap to the left of the overlook.

The slopes of the new Halemauu route, built by the CCC, may be seen meandering down the cliffside towards the left of the Ko’olau Gap.

Don’t miss out on a fantastic time relaxing while taking in the gorgeous scenery.

Thick clouds over Leleiwi Overlook

Nature’s Charm /

Drop by the Haleakala Visitor Center

Exterior of Visitor Center

Stephanie A Sellers /

Haleakala National Park includes three visitor centers, each of which is an excellent place to start while visiting the park, offering cultural and historical displays.

At 9,740 feet above sea level, the Haleakala Visitor Center welcomes visitors to the park’s summit region.

Name sign of Visitor Center

Happy Hour Photography /

Officers and staff are on hand to assist you in organizing your visit to the park.

Check out the current weather conditions, trekking info, ranger-led programs, and gift stores.

Before visiting Haleakala National Park, stop by the Haleakala Visitor Center for more information and schedule your trip to this fantastic tourist destination.

Aerial view of Visitor Center

Sheri Armstrong /

Book an Excursion at Skyline Hawaii Tours

If you’re on a trip that includes an adrenaline-pumping activity like ziplining, you need trustworthy people guiding the route.

Skyline Hawaii has developed a global-wide program to ensure that they meet safety standards.

Skilled leaders manage the eco-adventures at Skyline Hawaii.

They have completed eighty hours of training, “helper guiding,” and CPR and AED training from a Red Cross certified teacher.

Their guides are well-versed in Hawaii’s rich tradition, culture, and the islands’ sensitive ecology that they work so hard to protect.

While safety is always their top concern, fun and education are close behind.

They promise that your trip will be one of your most unforgettable holiday experiences.

Watch Beautiful Scenery at the Summit District

The road of Summit District

sightalks, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing can better prepare you for the sights, sounds, and sensations you will encounter at the peak of the Haleakala volcano.

Many rare and indigenous species live and thrive on the summit.

It’s also one of the rare sites in Hawai’i that’s easily accessible.

The Summit District offers a variety of experiences for visitors.

Many people prefer to go hiking in various habitats.

You can camp here, but you should study the park’s laws and regulations and current circumstances before preparations.

To experience the isolated and windswept peak, you shouldn’t have to travel far or stay long.

Make an appointment to see the dawn in the park or go to enjoy the stars in the evening.

The Summit District’s isolated and severe environment requires careful planning and situational awareness.

Take a Picture of the Waterfalls at Kīpahulu District

Aerial view of Makahiku falls at Kīpahulu District

Jayjay Adventures /

Tourists may experience the marvels of Kpahulu in various ways.

For centuries, indigenous people have settled this section of the shore.

This place is still an essential element of their culture.

Waterfalls, vast ocean panoramas, and Hawaiian culture await visitors to the Kpahulu District.

Closer view of Makahiku falls at Kīpahulu District

Tracy Immordino /

You may reach the Kpahulu District of Haleakala National Park by traveling 12 miles beyond the town of Hana on the famed Hana Highway, which circles the island of Maui’s northeast coast.

Take a trip down the Ppwai path to examine the streams and see if you can identify some fresh-water shrimp and rock-climbing goby.

Come by the Haleakala Wilderness Area

With its 24,719 acres and various microclimates, the Haleakala Wilderness Area is an unusual and stunning terrain.

Over millennia, melted lava, erosional forces, and the water have worked together to build the terrain that is now Haleakala National Park.

Two mountain trailheads provide a route to Haleakal’s Wilderness Area: Halemauu Trailhead at 2,438 meters and Keoneheehee at the peak at 2,969 meters.

At night, the sky fills with stars, and rare seabirds sing a melancholy song.

The Wilderness routes take you from an arid desert landscape punctuated with soaring volcanic cones to cloud forests brimming with vibrant flora and animals.

See Beautiful Surroundings from the Kalahaku Overlook

Gorgeous landscape view at Kalahaku Overlook

MNStudio /

The Kalahaku Overlook, sitting at the end of the pali or cliff, is a small building overlooks the vast Haleakala crater.

It features the 14 puu (hills), the famed hinahina (silversword), and, if you’re fortunate, an uau (Hawaiian petrel).

At 9,324 feet, the rim overlook offers a spectacular view of the crater floor and hikers investigating the cinder cones below.

View of Haleakala crater from Kalahaku Overlook

Zane Vergara /

Don’t miss the Kalahaku Overlook for some pictures of Haleakala’s crater bottom and the best area to glimpse a rare silversword plant.

You may find a viewing area with placards explaining the many sorts of volcanic formations and the Koolau Gap and the Kaupo Gap.

Kalahaku Overlook is a highly recommended Haleakala stop with beautiful vistas and the opportunity to see some of Haleakala’s unique vegetation and wildlife.

Check Out Famous Pathways at Haleakala Crater

Daytime view of sliding sands trail at Haleakala Crater

Tammy Allen /

Haleakala Crater, the volcano’s top, and the summit region comprise the summit area.

In Haleakala National Park, hiking inside the crater is a must-try.

One of the most famous pathways in the park, the Sliding Sands Trail, begins just on the edge of Haleakala and finishes on the crater floor.

A hiker walking along sliding sands trail at Haleakala Crater

Raphael Rivest /

As you go into the crater, you’ll be walking on dusty, sandy pathways in a scene that seems like it belongs on Mars.

You may trek up slopes and cinder cones to get a better perspective once you’re within the crater.

Most people trek part of the Sliding Sands Trail around, but you may connect the Sliding Sands Trail with the Halemau’u Trail to traverse the crater and go up a separate rim area.

Halemau'u Trail at Haleakala Crater

Tracy Immordino /

Create Unforgettable Memories with Haleakala 5-Line Zipline Adventure

Drive to the peaks of Maui’s iconic Haleakala volcano for the ideal activity to include in any trip to upcountry Maui.

This adventure combines five scenic zip-line crosses and an Indiana Jones-style swing footbridge across a towering forest.

While you fly through the treetops, discover Hawaii’s environmental richness and Maui’s long ranching heritage.

Feel the thrill of each thrilling zip-line crossing that gets longer on every line.

Take in the breathtaking sights of the lush forest.

The local partner is passionate about preserving Hawaii’s natural environment and wants you to enjoy the natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands.

Watch the Sunrise at Haleakala Summit Area

Sunrise at Haleakala Summit Area

Brester Irina /

The Haleakala Summit, perched far above the clouds, has a commanding view of Maui’s island and the Pacific Ocean far below.

The summit section of Haleakala National Park has about 48 kilometers of hiking paths to explore.

Each path exposes Haleakala’s fascinating landscapes differently, ranging in difficulty from simple ten-minute wanders to long-live overnight treks.

Hike amid the native shrubs and trees for native forestry birds and rare flora, or travel the aeolian cinder desert to learn about the summit’s geological past.

The sunrise or sunset at Haleakala Crater will be unforgettable on a clear day.

Go Camping at Hosmer Grove Campgrounds

A tent on the grounds of Hosmer Grove Campgrounds

Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0 US, via Wikimedia Commons

Hosmer Grove Campground is in Haleakala National Park’s Summit District, upon the hills of Haleakala at almost 2,134 meters in height.

Hikers may explore the crater’s various features on more than 18.6 miles of routes that go down into it.

The Hosmer Grove campsite has a self-guided route that starts and ends there.

A pathway at Hosmer Grove Campgrounds

Forest & Kim Starr, CC BY 3.0 US, via Wikimedia Commons

Also, due to the paths’ soft sandy character, expect to spend twice as much time hiking out.

Each campground features one picnic table and an outdoor fireplace with a connected grill, where you may bring charcoal.

If you’re a bird watcher, the early morning hours provide excellent views of the area’s numerous native species, making this a lovely early morning stroll.

Tour the Keoneheehee (Sliding Sands) Trail

Direction sign of Keoneheehee Trail

Alexanderphoto7 /

In the first 4 kilometers, this rugged terrain drops 853.5 meters to the valley level.

The Keoneheehee (Sliding Sands) Trail begins at the Haleakala Visitor Center parking lot’s bulletin board.

Colorful mountains and craters from the Keoneheehee Trail

Raphael Rivest /

They recommend hiking the first four kilometers of the path to the Ka Lu’u o ka O’o cinder cone for an excellent half-day climb before turning around and returning.

The round journey is about an eight-kilometer hike that will feel longer due to the elevation.

Furthermore, The Keoneheehee Trail goes to the Kapalaoa cabin in nine kilometers and the Paliku cabin and campground in 16.7 kilometers for overnight visits.

Daytime view of Keoneheehee (Sliding Sands) Trail

Alyssa Shimizu /

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Iao Valley State Monument

View of the stunning Iao needle

Felipe Sanchez /

Kuka’emoku, also known as the Iao Needle, is an erosional phenomenon that rises suddenly at about 365.8 meters from the valley floor and is seen from a paved 965.6-meter walk.

The distance between Iao Valley State Monument and Haleakala National Park is approximately 33.1 miles and is just about an hour’s drive.

Take a brief stroll through a botanical garden to learn about the flora introduced by the Hawaiians who lived in Iao Valley.

Hiking trail of Iao Valley State Monument

Felipe Sanchez /

This area is rich in culture and religious significance.

Here, King Kamehameha I’s soldiers defeated the Maui army in the Battle of Kepaniwai in 1790.

Learn about the plants that Hawaiians brought with them on the Iao Needle Lookout Trail and Ethnobotanical Loop.

If you enjoy Hawaii’s tropical vegetation, Iao Valley State Monument is the spot to visit.

Japanese garden at Iao Valley State Monument

Vacclav /

Take a Dip at Alelele Falls

Most tourists pass by Alelele on their way to more renowned local attractions, such as the Oheo pools, leaving this waterfall calm and silent.

It’s an 80-foot slot-canyon waterfall located at the bottom of a forested reserve at the foot of the mountains beyond.

Alelele Falls is in Kipahulu, Maui, a quick ten-minute stroll up historic Hawaiian terraces.

Alelele Falls is roughly 39 minutes and 19.5 miles from Haleakala National Park.

While seeing the area and discovering the most remarkable sites and things to do near Haleakala National Park, take a refreshing plunge into this magnificent attraction.

See Mountain Ranges in West Maui Mountains

Scenic view of West Maui Mountains

Tyler Rooke /

The West Maui Mountains, also known as the West Maui Volcano or Mauna Kahlwai, which means “holding home of water,” are a highly eroded shield volcano that encompasses the western portion of the Hawaiian Islands of Maui.

It is one of the few roads in West Maui that can compete with the Road to Hana.

Gorgeous daytime view of West Maui Mountains

Natalie J Murphy /

The trip from Haleakala National Park to Maui Komohana takes around an hour and a half, but there’s a good chance you’ll witness several breathtaking landscapes along the route.

You’ll go through farms, around rocky mountain ranges, across lush jungle, through valleys, and alongside stunning beaches.

A few spectacular stops are the Olivine Pools, Nakalele Point and Blowhole, and the majestic, gorgeous Kahakuloa Head.

A beach at West Maui Mountains

Tim Roberts Photography /

Final Thoughts

Visiting Haleakala National Park should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Otherworldly scenery, maybe the prettiest dawn on the planet, and breathtaking views combine for a unique vacation experience.

There are a variety of Haleakala tours available, including hiking to the peak, biking down, and flying above the crater.

Book your Haleakala adventure today, and don’t miss out on the incredible things to see and do in Haleakala National Park and surrounding tourist sites.

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