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Haleakala, Maui

  • 90+Audio Points
  • LocationHawaii, USA
  • Suggested Time1/2 Day Recommended

What to Expect

The drive to the Haleakala Crater, a dormant volcano on Maui, offers an incredible road trip available in very few places on earth, where you can drive from sea level to 10,000 feet in just a couple of hours. Many visitors drive to the summit to watch a sunrise, or sunset, but it is a spectacular place to go at any time of day.

As you drive from beaches into the upcountry with its fertile farming land, you’ll hear stories about the unique Hawaiian cowboys “paniolos” and the “hole in the sky”.

Then as we climb higher, trees and pastures give way to hardy shrubs and then eventually to a sandy and rocky moonscape. Along the climb we will discuss how volcanoes built the Hawaiian Islands and also share Hawaiian mythology about creation.

The National Park Entrance is at 7,000 feet. You will be excited to get to the summit, so it is recommended to drive to the top directly, and then stop at the view points as you return downhill.

At the summit, you can stare into the giant erosion crater or even take take a hike inside to get closer to dormant cinder cones. You will be amazed at the starkness and beauty of Haleakala on your driving tour.

Listen to the Tour Intro

Highlights

  • Haleakala Summit and Crater
  • Hosmers Grove
  • Kalahaku Overlook
  • Nene Geese
  • Pukalani
  • Silversword
  • Makawao - Upcountry

Map

Suggested Start Location

Hana Hwy 36 and Airport Road

Suggested Time

A half day to visit Haleakala National Park is about right. If you plan to take one of the hikes that are longer than 1 hour – then add more time

Driving Distance

50 miles from Kihei and Wailea – allow 2 hours. Or 60 miles from Kaanapali – allow 2.5 hours

FAQ

WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT HALEAKALA?

The drive to the Haleakala Crater, a dormant volcano on Maui, offers an incredible road trip available in very few places on earth, where you can drive from sea level to 10,000 feet in just a couple of hours. Many visitors drive to the summit to watch a sunrise, or sunset, but it is a spectacular place to go at any time of day.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DRIVE TO THE TOP OF HALEAKALA?

 It takes between 2-3 hours to drive to the summit of Haleakala, depending on where you are staying on Maui, so allow a generous amount of time to drive across from your hotel/resort.

DO I NEED A RESERVATION FOR HALEAKALA?

Due to the popularity of sunrise viewing at the summit and limited parking, Haleakala National Park requires reservations for each vehicle entering the park before sunrise. Reservations can be made in advance through the National Park Service. Reservations aren’t required for any other time of day.

IS IT BETTER TO VISIT HALEAKALA AT SUNRISE OR SUNSET?

If capturing the first sun rays rising over the horizon at 10,000 feet sounds like a once in a lifetime experience you don’t want to miss out on, then you need to plan ahead to visit Haleakala.

Reservations are mandatory for sunrise, as parking is limited. No reservations are required at any other time so it’s also awesome to go during the day with the sun directly overhead or to view sunset, or even stay later into the evening to view the stars.

IS HALEAKALA WORTH THE DRIVE?

The drive to the Haleakala Crater, a dormant volcano on Maui, offers an incredible road trip available in very few places on earth, where you can drive from sea level to 10,000 feet in just a couple of hours. You’ll be excited to get to the summit, so it’s recommended to drive to the top directly, and then stop at the view points as you return downhill.

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