Crater Trail via Sliding Sands Trail is a 5.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Kula, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Descend into the enormous and otherworldly crater of Maui's Haleakala National Park Maui's highest point is the summit of Haleakala, where you'll find the immense caldera of possibly the largest dormant volcano on the planet. This short hike descends into the crater to explore the dramatic history of the mountain with its many cinder cones and lava lava flows. Elevation gain: - 1,600ft (from 8,300 - 9,900ft) Tips: - The fee to use this park is valid for several days and allows you to explore the remote Kipahulu coastal area of the park on the same pass - check out our Pipiwai Trail Guide for more details of a spectacular waterfall and bamboo forest hike. - A surprisingly popular way to experience the mountain is to take a tour bus up the mountain in the dark, arriving in time to witness spectacular Hawaii sunrises. The additional novelty of this tour is the two-wheeled return journey .. a freewheeling bicycle kamikaze ride, snaking back down the mountain. Alternate Routes: - Haleakala's basin is so enormous that some folk hike in with a tent and spend days exploring the terrain. If you're in the mood for longer hike without an overnight bag, you might want to consider the 11 mile Sliding Sands to Halemau'u route. This one-way hike is best achieved by parking at the Halemau'u trailhead and hitching a ride up to the visitors center and the start of the hike. Now your 3,000ft of elevation change is purely downhill, and your ride awaits you at the end.
Unfortunately, the trail to Ka Lu'u o ka O'o off of the sliding sands trail is closed. Apparently it's been closed for a while, and it's not shown on the official park map. We went looking for it, and found the trail junction has been removed and a trail barrier established to make it look like there was no junction there. Beyond the old junction, there is a sign which says "trail closed due to emergency conditions"
Too bad, it would have been cool to walk around the rim of Ka Lu'u o ka O'o. But by the time you get to the junction, you're pretty close to it. The 2 miles to this point are pretty amazing to experience - going back up in the thin air..that was a different story :P
2 stars so people know what the situation is. But overall, it's a still a worthwhile hike.