Sliding Sands Trail

HARD 176 reviews
#2 of 13 trails in

Sliding Sands Trail is a 11 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kula, Hawaii that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
11.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,795 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

no dogs

Directions from Highway 378: Follow Haleakala Crater Road to the Haleakala Visitor Center. Park in the visitor center parking lot. The trail leaves from the eastern side of the parking area.

8 days ago

this trail is absolutely

17 days ago

Stunning views that we haven’t seen anywhere else in the world. We didn’t do the full loop. Way back up is hard with the altitude but worth the hike. Our 8 year olds and 11 year old loved it.

19 days ago

I added on the loop to see Kawilinau, which is a 65 foot hole into the abyss of the earth lol. I think that out me around 14 miles and I did it in six hours. I only had 1.5 liters of water and ran out, I would've liked at least 3 liters I think.

I don't believe sliding is truly a risk, I never slid once and the trail is mostly pretty wide, you aren't going to slide off into the crater.

I think the most dangerous aspect is the trail is so easy going down inexperienced hikers may feel like they can handle the trip. Going back up in the heat, I started at 8:45am, was definitely tiresome. I think anyone could do it if you have cat meat three liters of water, food, and plan on being at it all day.

As for the cold at top, I quickly warmed up going down and hiked back up without my shirt (sports bra) because I was so hot. I didn't put my shirt back on until about 3/4 of the way up. I had a clear, sunshiny day for my hike.

27 days ago

we did the 11 mile loop. so quiet (one of quietest places). very scenic, challenging, rugged. took about 5 hours. nice because so few other people on the trail given difficulty.

1 month ago

Amazing hike! Start early tho and if you can go on a cloudy/partly cloudy day! The trail has no trees and for most of it it is dark gravel! My friend and I did the hike starting from the top of the crater which lead us back to the lower parking lot!

1 month ago

strenuous; but beautiful, rewarding and very impressive; would definitely do it again; be prepared to bring layers of clothes; it can get pretty cold on the way back up; I got back around 430pm in overcast conditions and it was cold. - but hike is worth every effort.

hiking
1 month ago

DO NOT ATTEMPT IF YOU ARE NOT EXPERIENCED.

I did this hike June 27,2018, the weather was nice and so was the drive up to summit, however it was a long drive. This hike is for experienced hikers only, as going down into the crater is very easy and you will think that you can go further and further. Do not be fooled though, as the hard part is getting out of the crater. I would call myself decently experienced as I was in the Boy Scouts, but even I was exhausted after getting out of the crater.

One of the names for this hike is the Sliding Sands trail, this isn’t a lie, if you start to go off the trail you will slide down into the crater. Some points on the trail can be slippery due to the sand

So here are my tips for this hike:

Bring water, it may be cold and windy on the summit, but when you get far enough into the crater it will get hotter due to the sun beating down on you

Wear sunscreen, like I said it is sunny in the crater.

Bring trail snacks, you’ll probably be in the crater for a couple hours

Wear layers, but layers you can easily take off. It will be extremely windy at the summit, but in the crater it can be hot.

Overall this hike is extremely beautiful and I definitely recommend it, but only for experience hikers.

hiking
1 month ago

#1 thing to keep in mind when walking this trail is that it’s much more difficult to walk uphill than downhill, especially at 8,000-10,000 feet.
Hiked with my wife and 10 year old daughter about half way into the crater. They headed back up at that point, while I continued down almost to the bottom. There I took a side trail that leads to the top of the westernmost cinder cone. You can look down into the steep-sided interior of the cinder cone from its peak. Although it’s well worn, safe and easy to follow, I’m not sure how legit this little trail is in the eyes of the park service. It was amazing to watch the clouds ebb and flow from the crater gaps from that vantage point an hour before sunset. This is a unique, incredible place and every time I come I remember again how impressive it is.

2 months ago

Beautiful perspective views of the crater floor. Remember sun screen.

hiking
2 months ago

Very beautiful spot. We hiked to the end of the valley and then back up the hill. Be prepared for a substantial hike, part of which is about 5.5 miles all up hill continuously if you treat this trail as an out and back. Recommend getting there early morning to avoid clouds settling into valley/crater in the afternoon obstructing views.

2 months ago

This hike is hard only in the spot where you'll need to climb back out of the crater. This hike is beautiful start to finish. pretty cool too that you see plants that ONLY grow right there!

hiking
3 months ago

I've done it twice: once in 1975, when I was 24, and once a year ago. (You can figure out how old I was the second time...) First time was hot, sunny and dry, and I didn't bring enough water, so the hike back out was really hard. Second time was cold, cloudy, windy and rainy; we went maybe a couple-three miles down. I got chilled on the way back up, had to put the car heater on to get warm again. But both times beautiful--a cross between the Moon and Mars.

3 months ago

Book tickets online early to see the sunrise! They were sold out for over a month.

3 months ago

Amazing scenery. We hiked 1.5hrs down to almost the base of the mountain. The trek back up was challenging but rewarding. We left from just after sunrise and we are glad we did. Haze and clouds roll in at times in the afternoon and we weren't effected. Bring lots of water and good shoes. Enjoy!

3 months ago

Spectacular views! The trail itself is very well maintained and clearly marked. The footing is also relative good along the entire trail. The ascent is steady but not too steep. The weather does change suddenly. We descended in the sunshine and ascended in a heavy mist. We just wore tennis shoes and we were fine. Definitely remember to carry sunblock, water and bring layers. Getting there is also easy, which is nice!

4 months ago

Othwerwordly. Pack water and sunscreen. And your camera.

4 months ago

Breathtaking

hiking
5 months ago

I hate “awesome” as it is so inflationary used when things are truly terrific. But Sliding Sands Trail truly is awesome. Due to turning weather we had to do the entire hike in 3hrs 20 minutes but as the trail is easy terrain walking a good flat and evenly inclining, one could have breaks to take photos and enjoy the views and always have the head up to enjoy the scenery. We started in clouds, had sun, grumbling thunder outside the crater and hail in the last 50 Meters. So unless you can catche the perfect day, be prepared for changing conditions.
My favorites where the few plants that managed to hold out in beauty.

6 months ago

Great views. The hike back up to the crater rim is def more strenuous. Bring water and make sure to use sunscreen!!

hiking
6 months ago

Weather changed numerous times when we were on this trail. The views are nonstop amazing but be prepared with at least two liters of water and the right attire. The elevation change was pretty rough on us being from the Midwest. Overall it was fun and challenging!

backpacking
7 months ago

Stayed at cabins. Very tiring due to elevation and type of terrain. Don’t recommend going in and out in one day unless you start at 7am and move quick.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike, spectacular views. Used this hike as a warm up to upcoming Philmont trek with our Boy Scout troop. Elevation and change were great training.

hiking
8 months ago

Definitely one of the most difficult hikes I’ve done. I live in a place that’s pretty close to sea level so the 8-10 thousand foot altitude kicked my butt. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen if the sun is out because there’s literally no shade. The weather is a bit unpredictable - I went from cold to warm to cold to cold and wet so bring some layers. The trek back up is pretty steep and it’s quite long. I was BEAT. I would recommend this hike for intermediate to advanced hikers who have 4-5 hours to spend (I took 5 hours including frequent stops for pictures). The geography is pretty incredible and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s worth the effort!

8 months ago

2015. Incredible hike

8 months ago

It was the best hike we ever did (in general and on Hawaii). We've never seen soemthing like that before. Definitely worth it! But bring a lot of water and snacks with you. It took us 6 hours and we were totally exhausted after it. Don't forget sunscreen and something to cover your body. There is just a single tree on the whole way, so you will walk in the sun the whole time.

camping
8 months ago

The views are amazing, but it is a hard descent due to the looseness of the earth. Bring lots of layers and H2O. If you start feeling exhausted, bring to mind the couple of gentlemen I encountered doing this hike WITHOUT SHOES.

trail running
10 months ago

Start early and dress for the cold. The trail head starts at 9,000 ft. If you're training for a Spartan Race this is a good training ground - all down hill for the first 3.8 miles flattens out for as long as you want it to. Then it's ALL up hill. Best guess is 3,000 feet in elevation change between the peak and the base of the crater. Magnificent views. It's a technical run so it requires control on the downhill, so you can't just fly until you get to the bottom. But wait, there's more, most of the flat is sand. Great trek recommend to anyone.

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked a couples of miles down and then back
up. Well worth it, amazing views and photo opt.
Took us about the same time going down as up unless what most people say. Got to be carefull on the way down because of the sliding sand, you have much better grip on the way back up. Bring lots of water, at that elevation it will be needed, and make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and bring layers, it can get cold.

10 months ago

this hike was surreal, but I was not prepared the the high elevation. I would not attempt this as a amateur or intermediate skilled hiker. ensure you bring sunscreen and lots of water.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike and the weather was fantastic. We started early, 7:30am and definitely experienced a temp change throughout the hike so bring layers! Another good note worth mentioning is that the park itself doesn't open to hikers until 7am unless you've made a reservation to see the sunrise. If you plan to start out early, be sure you have a reservation or you will have to wait outside the park. There is also a $25 entry fee to get into the park.

We hiked down to the first cabin and hiked back up to the visitor center parking lot. We are both fit and it took us around 5 hours round trip. We stopped several times for pictures.

Be sure to wear sunscreen! We had SPF 50 on and reapplied once during the hike but still got burnt. Between two of us, we brought 3 liters and probably could have used a 4th. I'd recommend a minimum 2 liters per person.

Unfortunately this isn't too scenic but it's still very cool to hike into a dormant volcano!

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