Haleakala National Park
Maui, United States
Haleakala National Park Maui Reviews
Haleakala National Park Mar 01, 2013
This is one of my favorite places in the world. First, Maui is just a very relaxed place. On the beaches of the Western coast, there are tons of people, but get to nature and you get some seclusion.
Haleakala National Park is broken up into two major parts: You can go see Haleakala itself (a large mountain) or you can go to the Hana side of the island and visit the Seven Sacred Pools.
In 2010, we stayed on the Hana side of the island and enjoyed the quiet. To get there, you either have to fly or take a VERY winding and narrow road, the Road to Hana (which is gorgeous).
There is a 2 mile hike (one way) to Waimoku Falls which is a MUST if you love nature. Along the way, there were tons of hidden caves, alien-looking trees, and smaller waterfalls. Half way through, the hike morphed into a wild bamboo forest. Arriving at the top, you were met by a huge waterfall. Well worth the hike!
The Seven Sacred Pools (O'heo Gulch Pools) also was a sight to see. We actually got to see a once in a lifetime experience in 2010. The pools had dried up, and on the day we were there, they filled back up. We were told by the ranger that he had never seen that before (the pools were rarely empty).
In 2012, we got to go back to Maui and stayed on the resort side of the island. One day, we got up really early and watched the sunrise on top of Haleakala. This is also something to not miss and as it was also gorgeous. There were two drawbacks:
1) You had to get up really early to get there in time
2) It was COLD. My kids were freezing.
Was it worth it though, YES!
This park was my favorite thing to do in Maui!
Part of the list US National Parks and Monuments
Part of the list US National Parks
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Sunrise at the top of Haleakala Jul 03, 2011
Sunrise over Haleakala is a spectacular scenery that is very hard to described in words....
Maui,also know as the "Magic Isle", is filled with many delightful surprises.One such surprise is witnessing the sunrise over Haleakala Crater.There is nothing more magical.Haleakala which means "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian towers 10.023 feet/3055 m and sits above a valley.From the bottom to the top is a one hour and 15 minute drive and you will drive through and above the clouds.It was amazing !!!!!
It was unbelievable to be above clouds.But remember to dress warmly ,particularly during the winter.
There is no food or drinks sold within Haleakala National Park,so you have to bring your own.
Haleakala National Park Service Trip Oct 21, 2010
First aid kit? Check. High SPF sunscreen? Check. Extra toilet paper, just in case? Check.
It was the day before a three-night camping trip into Maui’s Haleakala National Park and my oversized, steel-framed backpack was ready to go. Not sure if I could say the same about myself.
Haleakala towers like a guardian spirit over the rest of the island, dwarfing the opposing West Maui Mountains and the residential central valley below. The crown jewel of the park is Haleakala Crater, a former fire-spitting volcano that created what is now East Maui. These days it’s a gentle giant, welcoming visitors to wonder at its lunar-like landscape. The otherworldly terrain is a tapestry of red cinder covered in nature’s shrapnel of piercing lava edges. If Martians were to land here, they’d feel right at home.
Measuring 9,100 meters from its base on the ocean floor, Haleakala claims a spot in the record books as the world’s largest dormant volcano. Standing at the edge of Keonehe‘ehe‘e (Sliding Sands) Trail, it’s easy to lose perspective of your surroundings. That is, of course, until you squint down into the massive lava pit and realize those shifting specks you see down there are in fact people. I’d soon become one of them, weaving a path down the rocky trail.
I was there on a service trip with the Friends of Haleakala, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the park. Fueled by volunteer manpower, this grass-roots group is taking care of the park like any true friend would, including trips that range from invasive species removal to native planting to cabin maintenance.
It was one of those ideas that sounded good on paper. But as I stood atop the crater summit peering down into the bloodshot inferno, I survey what I had signed up for — roughing it in a remote cabin with limited fresh water and no electricity with a bunch of strangers. Not doubt, it’s not your average “walk in the park.”
Our group leader, Matt Wordeman, who also happens to be the Friends of Haleakala president, wastes little time getting on the trail. Matt has a body made for hiking, complete with a slender frame set atop legs that seem to start at his armpits. He’s a decidedly zero-fuss kind of guy. No GPS navigation or even a water hydration system — just an internal map and sturdy water bottle. In fact, he makes it a point not to wear a watch and leaves his music player at home.
“You can’t beat the sound of silence,” he explains unapologetically.
Slightly embarrassed about my own creature comforts, I tuck my iPod deeper into my pack, hoping nobody else notices.
“And we’re off,” Matt says, prompting the rest of us to shuffle in line behind him.
With our bulging packs mounted at our backs we march along Keonehe‘ehe‘e Trail, resembling an army of worker ants delivering crumbs to home base. Next stop, Kapalaoa Cabin.
The trail zigzags through rustic landscape dotted with moon-like peaks and prickly patches of silversword. It’s a place that exists as a world unto itself, bearing little resemblance to the Maui most people know. Absent are the palm trees and Pacific waters. Gone are the white sandy beaches and the fertile rain forests. The naked environment is more likely to be the backdrop of a sci-fi movie than the subject of a tropical postcard.
A few miles into the hike the terrain turns from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, transforming from a volcanic desert into a vibrant blanket of vegetation sprawling in every direction.
“This is Hawaii’s version of fall colors,” Matt says as he spreads his arms as if to dispense an imaginary hug. On either side of the pathway are fields of low-lying bracken fern painting the landscape in hues of yellows and oranges.
Moments later we arrive at our new home. My bag lands at one end of the bunk and my head at the other. Looking up at names carved into the wooden bed frame above I see the other brave souls who’ve made this trek. Burke has been there, along with Scott, Mark and someone with the initials K.M.
I wondered if they had the same experience upon their arrival — the aching calves, shriveled toes and a trio of bubbling blisters. All that, and the real work hadn’t even begun. Like a true pro, Matt hands me some moleskin and duct tape.
“It works,” he tells me with the confidence of seasoned hiker.
After a few minutes of surgeon-like artistry, my feet resemble a pair of miniature mummies, wrapped up and ready to go.
The following days we hike to areas known as Waikau and Honokahua. Like hunters stalking our prey, we scan the area for heterotheca, an invasive weed that at first glance looks like something that deserves a vase. Matt assures us that if left to flourish, this killer could threaten Haleakala’s unique ecosystem. He had gone over the drill the night before: remove the seeds, bag them, pull the weed, toss it, tally.
Like a game of Where’s Waldo Invasive Species Edition, we search out the yellow weed, camouflaged amongst evening primrose and lava rock. Other targets include telegraph weed, rabbits foot clover, cheat grass and bull thistle, all of which threaten to engulf the native habitat.
“Haleakala has the highest number of rare and endangered species of any national park in the United States and the main threat to those are invasive species,” says Haleakala National Park volunteer coordinator Melissa Chimera. “So what (Friends of Haleakala) are doing is a very high priority.”
And what they’re doing appears to be working. According to Matt, in the three years the Friends have targeted invasive species in the Waikau area, the heterotheca counts have steadily dropped.
“The first year we picked 4,000 plants, the next year we were down to 1,000 and this year we picked around 500,” he explains.
By day we volunteers were lean, mean, weed eradicating machines. As evening came the mood was more subdued, with some people taking naps, others reading a book, going for a walk or simply meditating outdoors.
“The wilderness made me miss civilization but it gave me time to think about my life and many other things,” says Kula resident and trip volunteer Scott Cohen. “In some ways it is a vacation away from civilization.”
After dinner I'd sneak outside for the nightly star show. Minimal light pollution and the extreme elevation make Haleakala ripe for stargazing. Thinking I was alone out there, I soon spotted fellow campers standing motionless in the shadows. We all paused there in silence, eyes wide open and heads tilted back.
Disconnected from modern technologies we were able to reconnect with another kind of world. It’s a natural wonderland where air conditioning gives way to cool breezes and ringtones are replaced by nene calls. The nene, an endangered native goose and Hawaii’s state bird, roam wild on the slopes of the crater. Once inside the park you’re on their territory, and it’s illegal to touch or feed the curious creatures.
By day four I’m not ready to leave. I reluctantly roll up my sleeping bag and gather my belongings, secretly hoping Matt would ask us to say another night. This coming from someone who wasn’t sure she could rough it in the first place. It’s like cleaning out your locker on the last day of school, saying goodbye to friends and wondering where all the time went.
With our backpacks bound to us like straitjackets, we begin our journey back to civilization. The hike out along the Halemau‘u Trail is more than seven miles of rough lava and shifting sands that finishes off with a 1,500 foot climb up a series of switchbacks. After four days of hiking more than 20 miles, Matt decides I’ve earned a trail nickname.
“We could call you Silver Toe, but that one’s already taken,” Matt tells me as I hunch over, peeling back the duct tape to survey the damage.
The blisters I once cursed are now like badges of honor. My still throbbing muscles, sweet misery. As I take a final look into the crater the irony hits. Just three days earlier I wasn’t sure I was ready to hike into the crater. Now, I’m not sure I’m ready to leave.
Qantas, Hawaiian Airlines and Jet Star fly non-stop between Sydney and Honolulu, with regular connections to Maui.
Friends of Haleakala hosts weekly service trips, with three- or four-night stays in the cabins. For details, visit www.fhnp.org. Cabin hires may also be arranged independently, although due to the high demand, a monthly lottery is held. Write to Cabin Lottery Request, Haleakala National Park, Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768.
Outside the park, the Paia Inn Hotel, has rooms from US $189 a night. This bohemian boutique hotel on the island’s north shore is situated on 40-minute drive from the park’s entrance. See www.paiainn.com for reservations.
Entrance into Haleakala National Park is US $10 per car for a three-day entry. For details, visit www.nps.gov/hale.
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