Halalai'i and Pu'unaue Trail is a 12.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kula, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
There are two ways to get to the Park. You can drive up the mountain and see the view from up top, or you can go around the Hana side and visit the stream and pools at the bottom. Both are along major highways (Haleakala Hwy or Hana Hwy) so just keep driving and driving and you'll get there.
Truly the most beautiful sunrise ever... a must do... Add to your "Bucket List" now!!!
I took a few days after a business conference to hike the crater. I spent a night on the north side and a night on the south side. I found the transition from the volcanic landscape near the observatory to the alpine meadow at the far end of the crater to be truly amazing. Watching the clouds roll in at night and listening to rock slides as I fell asleep added to the adventure (not to mention a visit from a pair of nosey nene during breakfast on the first day).
My wife and I went here on our honeymoon and this is a must! We saw a beautiful sunrise here and then road our bike back down! It was AMAZING!
We hiked down Sliding Sands trail for about two hours, took a nice lunch break then headed back up. Gorgeous views of the crater -- it's really fun to watch the clouds roll in at the edges, then back out a few minutes later. If you time it right, you can catch a stunning sunset over the observatory, although beware of how freezing it gets! We left really warm clothes in the car, then chilled at the top until it got properly dark, which gave us a spectacular view of the starry night sky. Can absolutely recommend!
I've hiked the crater twice, both times down Sliding Sands Trail to Paliku cabin, overnighted there, then out on the Halemau'u Trail and up the switchbacks to the lower parking lot (8,000'). Smart idea to take two cars, leave one here, the other at the top (10,000'). Otherwise, someone has to hitch a ride back to start point. Prepare yourself! Plenty of water or filter or tablets, sunscreen, hiking boots, pack, etc., etc., etc. The descent from the top is not difficult, also not easy. Once on the crater floor, it's fairly flat over varied terrain...dirt, rock, boulders, gravel, sand...for several miles, then descends on a rocky path that is sometimes overgrown, sometimes rutted, sometimes hard to follow over smooth rock surfaces. At last! The cabin. Last year the cabin was well stocked. Not so this year. Our hike followed the resumption of service following the "government shutdown". Why couldn't they have told us when we checked in at the visitor center that the cabin had not yet been restocked? There was no wood to lay in a fire in the stove, no propane to supply the one burner but we didn't know that until we arrived at the cabin. We were creative enough to figure out how to heat up our food...won't go into those details, and how to keep warm overnight. The morning of the second day, we started out on the same trail we came in on until the wye with the Halamau'u Trail. On this trail, one ascends to the relatively flat crater floor, then opens on to a barren landscape, little vegetation, surrounded on all sides by vividly colored sand/gravel/rock. On we go, finally reaching the Holua cabin. After lunch and a short rest, we trudge on to begin climbing the never ending switchback trail out of the crater.
The posted distance from the Sliding Sands trailhead to Paliku is 9.3 miles. From Paliku to the Halemau'u trailhead is given as 10.2 miles. My travel times on the two segments were 5.5 hrs. and 6.5 hrs., respectively. This is not a hike for the faint hearted. It is, however, doable by anyone with a fair amount of fitness. Just be well prepared, allow plenty of time, and enjoy the unexpected beauty within the crater.
It's a long and winding road to the summit, but you will be rewarded with spectacular views and lots of hiking options. But there's no rush, you're on island time. Enjoy the views.
The summit was very foggy when we we there. It's and awesome drive.
We've been to the top of Haleakala twice at 10,023 ft (38 mi RT - Driving time to the summit from Kahului is approximately 1.5 hours), and the second time also drove the Road to Hana and Ohe'o Gulch - 55 miles Paia to Hana = 3 hrs and then around the south end of Maui on a brand new paved road (past the narrow dirt and patchwork paved road past Hana). Both are great drives and the hiking at the top, the 0.4 mi. RT P Ka'oao or White Hill Trail at the top overlooking the visitor's center, and the Sliding Sands trail (go as far as you want) takes you down among the cinder cones and Silver Swords (just remember it will take you about 1.5-2x as long to hike back up if you are not hiking one way and take plenty of water). From Ohe'o Gulch or the Seven Sacred Pools in the Kpahulu Area (Coastal), you can hike up the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls (2 miles upstream and muddy, one of best hikes on island with great views, about 2/3 of mile to Makahiku Falls overlook, just past this is a side trail photo op at **Infinity Pool another 100 yds past the Banyan tree is another side trail to another loud falls; next is two bridges with nice photo ops, then a bamboo forest which leads to Waimoku Falls. Highly recommend spending two days to see as much as you can!
My Favorite Hike of all time. I live in Hawaii and do an overnight hike 9 miles into the crater every year. It can get rainy, but the view and the nature and everything around you is so special. The view from the top at the scenic center is nice, but you miss so much by not going inside. Hiking into the crater is many times more rewarding, but you should bring AT LEAST a half gallon of water of this hike, and a filter or iodine tablets to refill. If you want to camp overnight, try to rent a cabin. if you don't rent a cabin, do NOT go without a tent. It can get rainy and if you get hypothermia, you are pretty far from any medical assistance.
Haleakala was amazing and crowds or not the sunrise from the rim of the crater was amazing.
We avoided the sunrise crowds. Spectacular views of the big island and the clouds rolling in. Hiked the shifting sands trail. Easy on the down. Not so easy on the return.
The sunrise is a MUST! you have to leave around 3am in order to get to see the sun rise at the top. There's usually a lot of crowds and make sure to bring something warm to wear because it's cold!!!
The 20 mile road zizgging from c.2000 ft up to the over 10,000 ft. summit is surprisingly very well maintained, with spectaular views! Very interesting landscape and flora at the summit. Visitors have been encouraged to go up before dawn, to view the sunrise which is supposed to be dramatic, but we went in the late afternoon while the traffic was light and waited for sunset. This proved to be a great strategy---the sun slowly setting into the thick clouds below was an unforgettable experience---we loved it! But dont linger too long if you want to catch a dinner in Wailuku (40 miles away)---IT TAKES MUCH LONGER GOING DOWN THIS MOUNTAIN---DONT RUSH!