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- Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
- Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
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Every year, more than a million tourists visit Haleakala National Park, home to the world's largest dormant volcano. The entire park occupies 30,000 acres of land in Upcountry Maui, though most visitors focus on a few specific areas of the park. Of course, there's the mountain: Haleakala's summit stands more than 10,000 feet above sea level (in fact, you can see it from any point on the island). Travelers recommend planning your visit to the summit in the morning to see the sunrise (keep in mind you'll have to make reservations online in advance and you'll be required to pay a small fee). A fairly winding road (Route 378) will lead you to the top. No matter when you visit, be sure to wear warm layers. The air up top is thin and chilly, according to past visitors.
Once you reach the top of Haleakala, you can keep going down into the mouth of the volcano. The Haleakala Crater measures 19 square miles and offers a stark glimpse into Hawaii's early beginnings. Trails into the crater will lead you past a desert-like landscape, making for unique photo opportunities. But don't limit yourself to just the volcano. The park's most popular trail, Pipiwai, is actually at sea level, meandering 4 miles (round-trip) along Maui's southeast coast to the Waimoku Falls and the Pools of 'Ohe'o. The hike takes three to five hours to complete, but you'll walk away with some stunning photos. Note: The Pools of 'Ohe'o in the park's Kipahulu District are closed due to rock slide concerns. Check the National Park Service website for updated details.
Haleakala National Park is located in southern Maui and welcomes visitors 24 hours a day. If you're driving to the park, set aside several hours for the journey (it's about three hours from Wailea). There is no public transportation to or in the park, but several operators offer tours to and from the park; if you're not driving, consult your hotel concierge for tour recommendations. You'll find three visitor centers: The Park Headquarter Visitors Center sits near the northern corner of the park along the road to the summit, the Haleakala Visitor Center can be found near the top of the mountain and the Kipahulu Visitor Center sits along the southeast portion of the park (at the head of the Pipiwai trail). Each visitor center features its own hours of operation. You can enter the park on foot or by bike for $12 per person, on a motorcycle for $20 or in a car for $25; admission is valid for three consecutive days.