View of Volcanic Crater at Haleakala National Park Maui

Where is Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is named after a dormant volcano located on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Popular sites around the summit of Haleakala within Haleakala National Park include the Haleakala Crater and Hosmer’s Grove. However, the national park also protects another section of land called Kipahulu. This area of the park contains acres of rainforest. Facilities contained within the national park include a visitor center and several hiking trails. The nearest city to Haleakala National Park is Pukalani. The national park is also located near several other outdoor areas on the island of Maui. These outdoor areas include the Koolau Forest Reserve, the Kahikinui Forest Reserve and Wai'anapanapa State Park.

How Large is Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park covers a total area of more than 33,265 acres. As stated previously, these acres are divided into two sections: the summit area and the coastal rainforest area. Over two thirds of the park’s total area is protected and contained within a wilderness area. The main feature of the park is the impressive Haleakala Crater, which is technically an erosion valley. The Haleakala Crater is almost seven feet across, two feet wide, and over 2,600 feet deep. The summit of Haleakala sits at an elevation of over 10,000 feet. The park’s visitor center sits at an elevation of around 9,740 feet. On average, Haleakala National Park receives just over one million visitors per year.

Gorgeous Sunny View of Maui Hawaii

Haleakala National Park Weather

The weather of Haleakala National Park varies between the summit and coastal area. The summit area normally sees temperatures between 45- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit. However, weather near the summit is highly unpredictable. Freezing temperatures have been known to fall upon Haleakala during the middle of summer. The summit is also frequently bombarded with storms and rain showers. The Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park frequently experiences warm days and rainstorms. Upon occasion the area also experiences damaging floods after severe rainfall. Individuals planning to hike around the summit or Kipahulu areas during potential adverse weather should check with park rangers working in the park for potential dangers.

When did Haleakala Become a National Park

Haleakala National Park first became a national park in 1976. The total area of the park’s land increased in 2005. The national park was created to protect and manage the several fragile ecosystems found across the land. The land possessed by Haleakala National Park was once possessed by Hawaii National Park in 1916. This national park was split in 1961 with the creation of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The name Haleakala is Hawaiian for “house of the sun,” and according to local Hawaiian legend the demigod Maui imprisoned the sun here extending the hours of the day. During the summer, visitors of Haleakala National Park will experience between 15 and 15 and a half hours of sunshine.

Things to do in Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park offers visitors the opportunity to experience the wonders of the island of Maui. Visitors will also be able to explore the summit of Haleakala and the fragile rainforest of Kipahulu. The most intriguing and popular experiences found in Haleakala National Park are listed below. 

Start at the Visitor Center

The visitor center at Haleakala National Park is located within the park’s summit area. The center contains various exhibits and educational displays that discuss the park’s geology, geography, ecology, and history. Visitors looking to orient themselves within the national park should start their park journey at the visitor center. Park staff working in the center can point visitors in search of several landmarks in the park in the right directions and distribute park maps and other helpful brochures.

Sunrise View of Volcanic Crater in Haleakala National Park Maui

Join an Interpretive Program

Haleakala National Park offers a variety of interpretive programs throughout the entire year. Visitors interested in learning more about the park’s geography, history, ecology, and other topics should look to join one or more of the programs offered during their trip. Specific programs offered at Haleakala National Park include nature walks, conversations about traditional Hawaiian legends, and explorations of the various endangered species that reside within the park. The schedule for these interpretive programs varies throughout the year, but normally is posted from week to week in the park’s visitor center. Occasionally, the schedule can also be viewed on the park’s website.

Hike around in the Park

Haleakala National Park contains a variety of hiking trails spread across the summit and coastal regions of the park. Hiking trails in the summit region of the park total over thirty miles in distance. Several of these hikes meander throughout the Haleakala Crater granting hikers an unforgettable experience. Trails in the Kipahulu region traverse various portions of the coastal rainforest. Visitors hiking in this region of the park should be careful to tread as light as possible on the fragile rainforest. Several hikes in the Kipahulu region grant visitors views of waterfalls and the bamboo forest.

Stargazing in Haleakala National Park

After dark, the summit area of Haleakala National Park offers visitors additional recreational experiences. Stargazing is a popular nighttime activity at the Haleakala summit. From the summit, visitors will see tens of thousands of stars with their naked eyes. Visitors will also be able to come face to face with the Milky Way. Visitors hiking to the summit at night should remember and respect that the area is a sacred place in traditional Hawaiian culture.

Wildlife Viewing on Maui

Haleakala National Park provides a home to more endangered species than any other national park in the United States. A large portion of these species are endangered songbirds that inhabit the island of Maui. These birds include colorful species like the ‘apapane, the ‘I’iwi, and the Akohekohe. Visitors looking to spot these species or others known to inhabit the park can ask rangers working in the park’s visitor center for more information and direction.

Camping in Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park contains various backcountry cabins and two drive up campgrounds that visitors can occupy overnight. The two drive up campgrounds operate on a first come, first serve basis. The Kipahulu Campground is located in the coastal region of the park, whereas the Hosmer Grove Campground is located in the summit region. The cabins located in Haleakala National Park do require advanced reservations and are only accessible by hiking. Visitors should make their reservations several months in advance.

Top of Haleakala Volcano at Haleakala National Park Maui

When to Visit Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is open throughout the entire year, and visitors can plan a trip to the park during every season. Temperatures in the park remain consistent throughout the entire year.  During the wet season, Haleakala National Park may experience rain every day of the week. Visitors traveling to the park should be prepared to face at least one day of rain during their visit to the park. Visitors planning to camp in one of the park’s first come, first serve campgrounds should plan on arriving at the park before noon to confirm availability.

Must Have Items to Bring to Haleakala National Park

Like most national parks, a trip to Haleakala National Park requires visitors to undergo a system of packing and planning. Visitors planning a trip to Maui and Haleakala National Park should keep a few essential items in mind. The following list includes those essential items and some additional items that will make your trip that much more enjoyable. 


Water is one of the most essential items for normal existence. Therefore, of course during trips that require extensive recreation and time outdoors water will be even more essential. Campers and hikers planning to summit Haleakala should bring additional quantities of water to prevent dehydration. Bringing an assortment of high energy snacks may also prove to be a good idea. These snacks can be especially helpful after a long hike.

Sturdy Hiking Boots

Every visitor planning to traverse the multitude of trails found in Haleakala National Park will want to arrive at the park with a sturdy pair of hiking boots. These hiking boots will be highly effective during hikes to the summit of Haleakala. Visitors looking for added comfort and protection should opt to purchase a waterproof pair of hiking boots to combat the sudden rainstorms of the island.

Rain Jacket

Not bringing a rain jacket to Haleakala National Park is like locking your keys in your car. You can get to your destination, but you are not going to enjoy how it happens. Sudden rainstorms are common across the national park throughout the entire year. During the rainy season, these storms become even more prevalent and unpredictable.

Digital Camera

Visitors looking to document their trip should look to purchase and bring along a digital camera. Several spots within Haleakala National Park are perfect for photographs. These pictures can be looked back on and passed on for years to come.

Camping Supplies

The easiest way to keep all of the camping supplies you need for your trip to Haleakala National Park organized and accounted for is through the use of a camping checklist. These checklists can be utilized during the initial stages of packing and again before leaving for the park. 

Where to Stay in Haleakala National Park

Visitors looking to stay within the boundaries of Haleakala National Park will need to decide between camping in one of the park’s backcountry cabins or occupying a campsite in one of the two drive up campgrounds. The backcountry cabins require visitors to make a reservation in advance. Visitors looking to stay outside of the park will find various hotels and other lodging establishments spread across the island of Maui. The closest city to the park is Pukalani.

Food Nearby Haleakala National Park

The closest restaurants and stores selling supplies to Haleakala National Park can be found in the city of Pukalani. Visitors looking for more options or something specific can make the drive across the island to some of the larger cities. Kahului is one of the more developed cities on the island of Maui. The city is about an hour drive away from the park. 

Airports Near Haleakala National Park

The main airport on the island of Maui is the Kahului Airport. The airport is located about 30 miles and an hour drive away from the park. From this airport visitors can connect to a variety of larger international airports.

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