Haleakala National Park

This page last updated May 2007

(c) 2004 - 2007 Jim Yuen

Haleakala National Park is one of the best backpacks in Hawaii. Located on the Island of Maui, it is an area of cinder cones, lava flows, native plants and birds, and lots of silence.

Camping permits are required to stay overnight in any of the three wilderness cabin and two campsites. See the Haleakala website for more info (below). Cabins require reservations at least three month in advance. They are quite popular and costs $40-60 each depending on occupancy. Each holds up to 12 persons. Cabins have water, bunks, woodstove, and fuel.

The campgrounds in the crater are seldom filled and you can sign up at Park Headquarters upon arrival. There is also a campground in Hosmer Grove near the Halema'u Trailhead and Park Headquarters.

Two main trails enter Haleakala, the Sliding Sands Trail (4 miles) and the Halema'u Trail (9 miles).

Going counter-clockwise, a four-day, three-night trip starts at the Sliding Sands Trailhead to Kapalaoa Cabin (5 miles). The next day follows the trail to the Paliku Cabin and campgrounds at the far end of the crater (5 miles). The third day returns by the north trail to Holua Cabin and campgrounds (6 miles). The fourth day follows the Halema'u Trail to the park exit (4 miles).

Alternatively, you can go from Paliku campsite and descend through the Kaupo Gap to the coast (14 miles and hard on the knees). You are out of the park now but you can camp on the coast near Kaupo Church (a peaceful and lovely spot but lacking in fresh water). From there follow the road to the Seven Pools area where you reenter the national park and can camp again.


There is no potable water on the trail. Carry at least two liters of water. Carry water purification gear (filter, chemical or boil). Hawaii has leptospirosis and giardia both, so don't take chances. At the cabins and campsites, there is catchment water. Check with the Park Headquarters as to the availabilty of water.
Daytime temperatures range from 60's to 70's. Night temps drop quickly once the sun goes down (6PM). There is little twilight as Hawaii is only 21 degrees above the equator. It's almost like turning off the lights.
Haleakala is at 10,000 feet, the crater floor is at 7,000 feet. Expect nights to be in the 40-60 F range.
Do not plan to hike out the Sliding Sands Trail. It is aptly named.
Use sun-screen and a hat. You are much closer to the sun at 7,000 feet and will burn much faster..
Bring maps and compass; for the techie, a GPS is handy but not essential.
Cell phone coverage is non-existant.
Check the various guide books for more info; also the web.
http://www.nps.gov/hale/ - National Park Service official site

Jim Yuen, 2007

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