Haleakala National Park is Maui’s only National Park.  A visit to this park is a must when traveling the Hawaiian island of Maui.  From flowing waterfalls to bamboo forests to the volcano crater there are countless reasons to visit Haleakala National Park.

A guide to visiting Haleakala National Park

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Why Visit Haleakala National Park

Haleakala is named after the volcano on Maui and covers more than 27 square miles at the summit and 19 square miles at Kipahulu Valley.

There are many reasons to visit Haleakala National Park including a dreamy bamboo forest, waterfalls and an out of this world dormant volcanic crater!  View a map of Haleakala Park here.

Where is Haleakala National Park?

Hawaii is home to 2 different National Parks – Hawaii Volcanos National Park and Haleakala NP.  Volcanos NP can be found on the Big Island and Haleakala National Park is located on the second biggest Hawaiian island of Maui.

There are two different districts of haleakala National Park, the kipahulu district and the summit.  Each district has its own separate entrance, as you can’t connect within the park between the 2 districts.   

How to Get to Haleakala National Park?

Since there are 2 separate entrances, you will need to know how to access each park.

Things to do in Hana Maui

How to get to the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park?

The Kipahulu District of Haleakala National park is a remote district located in East Maui, 10 miles past the town of Hana.  There is only 1 road that takes you there so you can’t miss it.  From Hana town to the entrance should take about 30 minutes.

This entrance can only be accessed by driving the winding 52 mile road to Hana which connects Kahului to Hana town.  You’ve probably heard of the road to Hana as it’s one of Maui’s top attractions and for good reason.  Along the way you’ll pass by countless waterfalls, tropical vegetation and experience panoramic seascape views.

Don’t be fooled into thinking since it’s only 52 miles to Hana, that you can make it to the Kipahulu district in about an hour.  The Hana Highway consists of 59 one lane bridges, 620 turns and curves. It takes a minimum 3 hours to drive the road to Hana and that’s without stopping or without traffic…and you best be prepared for traffic. 

Plus you’ll want to stop dozens of times along the way.  Trust me, there are several roadside waterfalls cascading into pools that are just asking for you to swim in them!  This is an all day event.  I recommend staying the night in Hana and exploring Haleakala NP the next morning.

Travel Tip:  Driving the back way to Hana gets you to the entrance of the park sooner than the traditional route along the road to Hana.

Hiking Haleakala Crater in the Summit District

How to get to the Summit of Haleakala National Park?

The summit district is more accessible than Kipahulu but still takes 2-3 hours to get to due to the 36 miles of switchbacks you must traverse to reach the summit of Haleakala.

The summit of Haleakala is in an area referred to in Maui as Upcountry.  Upcountry is an area on the Haleakala side of Maui away from the shoreline.  To get to the summit, head towards Kahului via Route 37 to 377 to 378.

It’s pretty amazing, it’s one of the only drives where you start from sea level to 10,000 passing through several microclimates & within an hour!

The summit sits at over 10,000 feet where you are above the clouds.  Here you can enjoy some of Maui’s best hikes and see exotic plant life like the silverswords which are a rare and endangered plant that can only be found on Haleakala, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

A banyan tree on the Pipiwai Trail

When to Visit Haleakala National Park

Since Maui’s weather is a consistent 75-85 all year round you can visit Haleakala National Park all year round. Winter time brings more rain and is about 10 degrees cooler.

The summit of Haleakala is always cold and in the winter its even chillier.  Make sure you dress warm, especially if you are visiting the summit of Haleakala for sunrise.  Check out what to pack for Maui so you don’t forget any essentials.

Points of Interest and Things to do in Haleakala National Park

There are lots of things to do inside Haleakala Park, especially if you love hiking and adventure.

Sunrise over Halakeala Crater

Things to do inside Haleakala Summit District

  • Watch sunrise above the clouds at the summit of Haleakala.   You need to make reservations in advance and can do so here
  • Hike down Sliding Sands Trail to reach the crater floor.
  • Reserve a cabin and spend the night inside the crater.
  • Hike the easy half mile Rim hike to get a glimpse of a crater of a volcano.  Find out more about Maui’s best hikes.
  • Book a tour and bike down 26 miles from the summit to Paia town.
  • Stargazing!  You can’t get much better than this.

Things to do Nearby Haleakala Summit

The Pipiwai Trail, Hana Maui

Things to do Inside the Kipahulu District

  • Hike the Pipiwai Trail.  It takes you past ancient banyan tree, through a dreamy bamboo forest and ends the 400 foot Waimoku Falls. This is moderate and family friendly hiking in Haleakala National Park.
  • Swim at Oheo Gulch.  *Open dependent upon the National Park Service.
  • Have an ocean view campsite at the Kipahulu campground inside the park.
Venus Pools in Hana Hawaii

Things to do Nearby the Kipahulu Entrance

How Many Days to Spend at Haleakala National Park

Plan to spend 2 days at Haleakala National Park.  One day in each district.  If you don’t own a National Park Pass you can purchase one at the entrance of the park.  The pass cost $30 and is good for 3 nonconsecutive days in a week.  

Inside Haleakala National Park

Where to Stay Near Haleakala National Park

Staying near one of the park entrances will allow you more time to explore all of Haleakala’s wonders.  These are the top hotel picks on where to stay when visiting Haleakala National Park.

Where to Stay Near Haleakala NP Summit

Where to stay near Haleakala Summit

Get an early start for sunrise atop Haleakala Carter when you stay a Kula Lodge.  Nestled in the slopes of Haleakala, it’s a charming hotel that offers great views of Maui’s Upcountry.

Where to Stay Near Haleakala NP Kipahulu District

Where to stay near Kipahulu district of Haleakala NP

The Hana Hotel is a luxurious hotel nestled in a secluded paradise.  This is one of the best honeymoon hotels in Maui.   You won’t be disappointed by the splurge.

Haleakala National Park Cabin

Tips for Visiting Haleakala National Park

Crowds:  Staying near Haleakala National Park will give you an early start thus avoiding the crowds.

Don’t take rocks!  Leave rocks where you found them.  By leaving rocks in place we repeat Hawaiian beliefs and help nature thrive.

Bring your own snacks.  There is no food inside the park in both districts.  Stock up on snacks and water.  Food in general is also food is less abundant on the Eastern part of the island.

Make sure you have a full tank of gas.  Gas stations become less common the closer you get.

Pets:  No dogs allowed on trails.

What are your favorite parts of Haleakala National Park?  Let me know in the comments below!

Haleakala National Park Maui | Tips & TricksHaleakala National Park Maui | Tips & Tricks
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