Halalai'i and Pu'unaue Trail

HARD 58 reviews
#4 of 13 trails in

Halalai'i and Pu'unaue Trail is a 12.5 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Kula, Hawaii that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
12.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3211 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

road biking

trail running

walking

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

no shade

no dogs

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).

hiking
24 days ago

Great hike for people looking to go to the crater floor. We opted to turn back where the trail splits into a loop, which made the total hike 7.8 miles. This was a good alternative to 11-12 miles. The descent and ascent are gradual and the biggest obstacle is the weather. When I hiked it in late April the weather changed every few minutes from cloudy to windy to misty to downpour. Come prepared. There are no services along the trail. That said, weather permitting, there can be same great views of the barren landscape.

1 month ago

Waaaay more difficult than moderate. Bring waterproof layers and lots of water. Tough hike but worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing views. My wife and I loved the ability to make your own hike with the out and back trail. We felt like we were on Mars! Definitely recommend this. Be sure to bring plenty of water if you plan on going further. We opted for a 10 mile hike.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a great hike! Be prepared though because it is cold and your hike starts with a 2700' decent to the crater floor at the about 10,000 altitude so the air is thin. Give yourself plenty of time and bring adequate water and snacks. The hike back up can be very strenuous but it is worth the effort!

hiking
4 months ago

One of the most environmentally stunning hikes you can do on earth! You feel like you’re on mars, truly, with colours ranging from oranges, blues, purples and pinks mixed with charcoal black underfoot. Descending into the hike is easy...but remember what goes down must come back up and hiking back to the trail head close to 3000 feet is a real bun burner! It’s cold to start because you’re already at 10,000 feet altitude by the time you take your first step so dress in layers that can be gradually taken off, bring water & a few snacks. Not hard per se but just an extra effort to get back up the steady ascent. We’re going back in a few days to take more photos because it’s too good not too! Enjoy!

4 months ago

This trail is just AMAZING ! I hiked a lot around the the world , but this trail is the best I have ever done! It was crazy, you have the feeling that you are on the planet Mars!
It was a long hike, 14 miles, and it took me 6,5 hours to do it (with a break of 30 mn). You have to be well-equipped and bring a lot of water (at least 4 liters) and energetic bars because you will need them to go up...
Just do it and enjoy this incredible experience!

hiking
6 months ago

Magnifique! A ne manquer sous aucun prétexte.
Facile d’un point de vue technique, mais difficile par la longueur.

7 months ago

That was not a moderate trail and I agree with the previous comment that it was closer to 15 miles. Do not do this trail if you are not experienced, don't have enough water or food, sunscreen, layers and a lot of heart and determination! This was one of the most difficult hikes. It was deceiving going down sliding sands but remember you have to go back up! Oh ya don't wear sneakers! You will really be hurting. And you'll also get dirty. This trip was very secluded and felt like I was on another planet. The old craters like pu u pele is a beautiful sight to see.

hiking
9 months ago

Dude. This trail is NOT 12.6 miles long. It's around 15 with the whole loop and back up the mountain. Round trip took my friend and me 7 hours. Luckily it wasn't too hot down in the crater, but plenty of sun. Be sure to bring sunscreen and lots of water! If you're looking for views, I'd recommend just hiking a couple miles down the mountain and back. The whole loop is HARD not moderate. If do take the loop and go clockwise, there's a pretty cool lava tube that you can see, but that was the highlight of the loop. Lots and lots of sand and rocks.

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
10 months ago

If you ever have the chance to hike this or even part of this trail, you must! It's definitely one of the most memorable trails I've hiked. If you're an experienced hiker, hike as much of this trail as you have time to hike. If you're not an experienced hiker, at least hike a mile in to experience the trail and take in the amazing views. Wear layers! The elevation will make for a chilly start. It's such an easy hike in, you may forget about the elevation gain on the hike out...it's not an easy hike out, but totally worth it.

11 months ago

So beautiful!!!! We hiked down to the crater floor and also around the rim of the first crater. We then drove up for the sunset which was amazing! The hike back up is pretty rough, but checking out the view when taking breaks makes it worth the trip.

11 months ago

There are a number of short, unnamed trails worth exploring once you get down into the crater. The whole crater is great to explore as a long day hike or starting from the Holea campsite.

11 months ago

This is mislabeled as Easy; some people struggle to get back up to the summit. It's almost 3,000 ft gain in 3 miles.
There are a number of short, unnamed trails worth exploring once you get down into the crater. The whole crater is great to explore as a long day hike or starting from the Holea campsite.

hiking
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Was literally like hiking on the moon. There is no way to describe this hike and if you have the opportunity to do it don't pass it up. If you time it right you can watch the sunset after completing the hike with the other islands in view on top of haleakala.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

One of the most beautiful places I have ever been! Must come and do, prepare good, bring lot of water , food, and extra layer coz it get cold up on top! Views are from a different planet, more like Mars! It's whole day adventure! Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Great trail with though ending

hiking
Saturday, April 01, 2017

This was a phenomenal hike with breathtaking views. You truly feel like you're on Mars. The way back up to the top is quite a climate but definitely worth it.

hiking
Thursday, February 09, 2017

Like hiking on the moon, you can go down as far as you like, just be aware if you go down for 2 hours, it will take 3-4 hours to get back up. Take water as the wind and dry conditions will dry you out. Plenty to explore and see; this is the hike to take on Haleakala. You may encounter some horse droppings, only con about the trail. This one is not to miss.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

This trail was absolutely breathtaking. After arriving at the summit the views are awesome, and going into the crater has you feeling like you're on Mars. The temperature was cold at the summit, probably around 45 degrees, compared to 75 at sea level. We backpacked in for a 3 day trip, and keep in mind if you do to be prepared for cold weather and rain. Like I mean it gets cold at night, we experienced temps in the 30s, which was surprising. But this initial trail was great going down, but difficult if you go back up. Pack plenty of water. I've hiked many places and this was one of the most surreal environments I've experienced. If you have the chance DO IT, you won't regret it.

backpacking
Monday, November 21, 2016

Great hike with beautiful views!

You can go further than just the 2 miles each way the app says. We went about 4 miles each way but you can go even further if you wish.
It is downhill all the way out, so the return journey is obviously harder!

If you made it to watch the sunrise then make sure you take off the extra layers you were wearing because the sun will warm you up and it's warmer at the lower elevation.

backpacking
Thursday, November 17, 2016

Great hike with beautiful views!

You can go further than just the 2 miles each way the app says. We went about 4 miles each way but you can go even further if you wish.
It is downhill all the way out, so the return journey is obviously harder!

If you made it to watch the sunrise then make sure you take off the extra layers you were wearing because the sun will warm you up and it's warmer at the lower elevation.

hiking
Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Truly the most beautiful sunrise ever... a must do... Add to your "Bucket List" now!!!

hiking
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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).

road biking
Tuesday, January 07, 2014

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!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

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!

hiking
Saturday, December 14, 2013

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.

scenic driving
Saturday, April 20, 2013

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.

scenic driving
Saturday, March 23, 2013

The summit was very foggy when we we there. It's and awesome drive.

scenic driving
Friday, October 26, 2012

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!

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