Haleakalā National Park

Located on the south-central region of the island, the dormant volcano Haleakalā, rising 10,023 feet from sea level, is visible from nearly anyplace on Maui.

My daughter Amanda and me in Haleakala Crater (1992)

The crater at the Haleakalā National Park on Maui is rich with stories of ancient and modern Hawaiian culture and protects the bond between the land and its people. The park also cares for endangered species such as the ʻāhinahina (Haleakalā silversword), the ʻōpeʻapeʻa (Hawaiian hoary bat), the Haleakalā flightless moth, and nesting seabirds, species which exist nowhere else in the world.

This dormant volcano (last eruption between 1460 and 1600 AD) is the stage for a breathtaking range of landscapes and skyscapes. Haleakalā means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, and legend goes that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer. 

The main feature of the park is undoubtedly the famous Haleakalā Crater. It is huge: 6.99 miles (11.25 km) across, 2.0 mi (3.2 km) wide, and some 2,600 ft (790 m) deep. The interior of the crater is dotted by numerous volcanic features, including large cinder cones.

Best Time to Visit

There is no really “bad time” to visit Haleakalā National Park, but certain seasons are more optimal than others.

Winter is the busiest season at Haleakalā. From December through February, the park experiences high visitor rates because the weather in the islands is nearly perfect during this time of the year, with temperatures in the low 80s (upper 20C).

However, if you are planning to visit the crater at sunrise, bring some warmer clothes (see photo above). The elevation is very high, and it gets very cold and windy up at the summit. For a sunrise visit be sure you bring long pants, a hat, and a warm jacket.


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