4 Best Hikes in Haleakalā National Park

Haleakalā National Park Overview

Haleakalā National Park is located on the island of Maui and extends from the summit of the dormant Haleakalā volcano to the Kīpahulu coast. The summit and coastal areas are two very different, very distinct parts of the park. The coast is what you picture when you think of Hawaii with beautiful waterfalls, lush vegetation, and swimming areas that make you think you’re in paradise. The summit district, however, looks like you just stepped onto Mars. The rich colors and rocky landscape will be like nothing you have ever seen before and visitors can spend time hiking down into the cinder. Check out the list below for the 4 best hikes in Haleakalā National Park and enjoy your visit!

StateHawaii
Nearest Metro AreaHonolulu, HI
Area Size30,183 acres
EstablishedAugust 1, 1916
Hiking Trails39 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Best Hikes in Haleakalā National Park

Pīpīwai Trail
Waimoku Falls
Waimoku Falls, Photo by Thomas

This top hike has several highlights along the way including a massive banyon tree, a thick bamboo grove, and 400′ tall Waimoku Falls. Hopefully, you will arrive after a recent rainfall so water gushes over the ledge. Either way though, this is one of the best hikes in Haleakalā if not all of Hawaii. The trip to get to the trailhead is almost as rewarding as the trail driving on the curvy and scenic Hana Highway. The parking area is right next to Kipahulu Visitor Center.

  • 3.4 miles out and back
  • 750′ elevation gain
  • Moderate
Sliding Sands Trail
View of Keonehe‘ehe‘e (Sliding Sands)
View of Keonehe‘ehe‘e (Sliding Sands), Photo by David Fulmer

Descend from the crater rim and take in the otherworldly landscape that this park has to offer. This is one of the best hikes in Haleakalā and gives hikers the opportunity to turn around at any point. Do not forget that the trip back up will be twice as hard! It is 2.5 miles to the Ka Lu’u o ka O’o cinder cone which is a nice place to turn around to make for a great day hike. Be sure to plan accordingly as the weather at the top of the crater is extremely cold. Many people do not realize the temperature drop due to the significant increase in elevation and arrive in their normal Hawaii wear! The trailhead can be located right next to the Haleakalā Visitor Center.

  • 5.0 miles out and back
  • 1500′ elevation gain
  • Strenuous
Kūloa Point Trail
Kūloa Point
Kūloa Point, Photo by Kirt Edblom

Gentle trail that will take hikers to the mouth of the ‘Ohe’o Gulch. From here you will ascend the southern edge of the gulch to get to the 7 beautiful freshwater pools that flow into each other. Swimming is extremely popular and visitors arrive early to get a more secluded experience. The ‘Seven Sacred Pools’ are gorgeous but conditions can be hazardous so be safe! The trailhead is next to the Kipahulu Visitor Center in the same parking area as Pīpīwai Trail.

  • 0.5 mile loop
  • 50′ elevation gain
  • Easy
Halemau’u Trail
Halema'u trail segment
Halema’u trail segment, Photo by Kahunapule Michael Johnson

Hikers have the option to turnaround at any point on this trail, similar to Sliding Sands. The trail itself is rocky and steep at times as you hike in the native shrubland exploring the geologic history of the volcano. The most popular spot to turn around is about 1.1 miles from the trailhead at the crater viewpoint. The trailhead can be found at a parking area off of Crater Road.

  • 2.2 miles out and back
  • 400′ elevation gain
  • Moderate

Featured Image: Haleakala Sunrise Maui Hawaii Haleakala National Park, Photo by Mferbfriske

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