Check Out Haleakalā While Visiting Maui.

Of course, when you go to Maui, you want to visit a beach or two—it’s a given. But you may be wondering what else there may be to do while you’re here. If you’ve had enough beach or just want to find more of Maui’s amazing natural beauty, we’ve got the place for you.

Check Out Haleakalā While Visiting Maui.

What Is Haleakalā?

Haleakalā is one of the world’s largest volcanic craters. The volcano is actually dormant, last erupting more than 400 years ago. Red cinder cones and black lava beds line the crater’s floor.

Situated in the south-central part of Maui, Haleakalā formed from a shield volcano. This area incorporates 75% of the Island. Because of its elevation, Hawaiians gave the area this name because it means “house of the sun.”  

Hawaiian folklore describes the demigod Maui who lived in the crater. Assisted by his grandmother, Maui captured the sun and slowed its journey across the sky to make the days last longer. It’s appropriate, since many people make the journey to Haleakalā to see the incredible sunrises and sunsets.

At more than 10,000 feet above sea level, the top of Haleakalā is visible from anywhere on the island. It takes roughly two hours to get there from nearly anywhere in Maui. But hiking up and down the volcano can.

The Haleakalā National Park

More than 30,000 acres are included in this national park, most of which is wilderness. The centerpiece of the park is the Haleakalā Crater. Included are the ʻOheʻo Gulch (also known as the Seven Sacred Pools), the Kipahulu Valley on the southeast side, and the summit depression. Sliding Sands Trail and Halemauʻu Trail are the two main trails that lead into Haleakalā.

Kipahulu Valley is another part of the park, but there is no way to drive to it directly. Additionally, Kipahulu Valley Biological Reserve works to preserve the native animal and plant species. Much of this area is closed to the public, and the only accessible area is a drive on a winding road.

The park is also host to a range of native plants that only thrive in this area, such as the Silversword. However, feral deer, pigs and goats that roam the park have endangered many of the native plants and destroyed much of the property.

Because the hiking trails go downhill from the car parks into the crater, the return trip up be difficult even for the most experienced outdoors enthusiast due to the thin air and high elevation. Dehydration is a possibility during a 2,000 foot hike. The summit’s an average temperature is generally between 40F and 65F year-round.

Learn more at the National Park Service’s website for Haleakalā.

Seeing Stars

While Haleakalā may not be as well known for beautiful flowers or tropical fruit groves, it’s one of the most coveted spots for ground-based telescopes. The lack of big-city lights and the area’s elevation of 10,010 feet, dryness, and lack of wind are ideal for astrological exploits.

The area is host to the Haleakalā Observatory, which is jointly owned by Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawai’i. Although they operate on the property, they share space with:

  • Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
  • Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGTN), including
    • Faulkes Telescope North, which offers remote access to a laboratory-grade telescope to schoolchildren in the UK
  • Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS)
  • TLRS-4 Laser Ranging System is part of the International Laser Ranging Service (ILRS)
  • Zodiacal Light Observatory
  • The National Solar Observatory’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST)

West of the observatory are facilities operated by the FAA and the US Department of Energy, as well as a small site for the Haleakalā Amateur Astronomers.

Headed to Maui? Stay In A Comfortable Han Kai Maui Condo

Hana Kai Maui’s comfortably designed beachfront condos on Waikaloa Beach are a great place to visit all year long. Whether for a week, a weekend, or a stopover on the way to Haleakalā, you’ll enjoy our relaxed atmosphere.

Call to book your next reservations at 1-800-346-2772, or book directly online. We’re open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Hawaiian time to answer all of your questions.