About Haleakalā National Park From Kahului, follow SRs 36, 37, 377 and 378 sequentially to the park headquarters on SR 378. The 27-mile drive through plantations and ranch land (watch for stray cattle) reaches an elevation of 7,000 feet at the headquarters.
Called “the House of the Sun,” the park encompasses the summit of Haleakalā, Kīpahulu Valley and the ‘Ohe‘o area near Hāna. The dormant Haleakalā is on the upper slopes and makes up all of east Maui. Although many refer to the feature at the top of Haleakalā as a “crater,” it is actually a valley formed by erosion. The reddish hues of cinder cones and black lava flows characterize the scenic landscape.
Among the park's wildlife is the state bird, the rare nēnē (Hawaiian goose), which was reintroduced to the island in 1962 and might be seen around the eastern section of the erosional valley and near park headquarters. Native plants include the unusual ‘āhinahina (silversword).
Visibility varies during the day but is sometimes best before mid-morning, when the valley usually is free of clouds, and in the late afternoon and evening. Cloudy conditions prevail during midday but frequently improve for short periods, permitting at least partial views of the valley. Mornings are best for viewing Kaho‘olawe, Lāna‘i and west Maui. Weather permitting, afternoons offer the best conditions for photographing the area.
Drivers returning downhill from the summit should brake carefully, drive in low gear to prevent brake failure and stay within speed limits to avoid accidents.
Weather changes rapidly at high elevations on Haleakalā. Temperatures usually range between 35 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit but can be below freezing at any time of the year when the wind chill factor is taken into account. Intense sunlight, thick clouds, heavy rain and high winds are possible daily. Note: If it is raining anywhere on the island, watch for flash floods. Hikers and swimmers should evacuate an area immediately when streams appear to swell; flash floods rise quickly, creating hazardous conditions. Do not cross ropes or railings. Check at park visitor centers for weather and stream conditions prior to entry.
Note: Gasoline and food are not available. Rental car contracts prohibit driving beyond the ‘Ohe‘o Gulch on Pi‘ilani Hwy. (CR 31). West of Kīpahulu this road is not recommended for travel, particularly in wet weather. The road is narrow and has sharp curves; a four-wheel-drive vehicle may be necessary after heavy rains. Allow 3 hours minimum. Phone (808) 944-3756 for the Maui weather forecast.
General InformationThe park grounds are open daily 24 hours, except during extreme weather conditions. Park Headquarters Visitor Center is open daily 8-3:45.
SR 378 continues past the Park Headquarters Visitor Center 10 miles to the visitor center on the western rim of Haleakalā valley and climbs to the summit. There are 30 miles of well-marked hiking and horseback riding trails in the valley area; there are no roads other than SR 378. The trails are rough in spots, and since the temperature on Haleakalā averages 30 degrees cooler than at sea level, hikers should dress accordingly. High elevations might pose a problem to those with heart, high blood pressure or respiratory conditions.
Several operators offer guided horseback trips into the valley.
Haleakalā Visitor Center, 10 miles past headquarters on the western rim of the valley, has exhibits and interpretive panels pertaining to geology and natural and cultural history. The center is open daily dawn-3. Nature talks are given daily. The Pu‘u ‘ula‘ula (Red Hill) shelter/overlook on the summit offers views of the neighboring islands and is open daily 24 hours.
ADMISSIONADMISSION (valid for 3 days) to Haleakalā National Park is $30 (per private vehicle); $25 (per motorcyclist); $15 (per pedestrian or bicyclist). A Hawai‘i Tri-park Annual Pass (which also includes Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park) is $55.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Superintendent, Haleakalā National Park, P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768; phone (808) 572-4400.
Points of Interest
Attractions Haleakalā Summit District
Haleakala National Park, HI
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