Sliding Sands Trail

HARD 147 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
2795 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.

1 minute 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
2 days 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.

11 days ago

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

16 days 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!

16 days 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!

1 month ago

Othwerwordly. Pack water and sunscreen. And your camera.

1 month ago

Breathtaking

hiking
3 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.

3 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
3 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
4 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
4 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
5 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!

5 months ago

2015. Incredible hike

5 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
6 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
7 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
7 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.

7 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
7 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!

hiking
7 months ago

Nice hike. Very little shade but cool and comfortable. It felt like I was on Mars, not at all like the rest of Maui.

hiking
8 months ago

Did the whole 11 mile in and out - it was an interesting hike, challenging on the way back when we faced 15mph gusts of freezing rain. Barely made it back out but well worth seeing the strangely desolate and beautiful landscape.

8 months ago

we also only hiked about a mile down and went back up. the elevation certainly got to me ... unfortunately... because the hike is amazing and unique. a definite must

hiking
8 months ago

This is an amazing hike and I'd say definitely a must-do if you're on Maui. My husband and I hiked about a mile down, which I believe descends about 1,000 feet per what the park ranger told us. The landscape is incredible and unlike anything else I've seen. The views are spectacular. The hike in and down was relatively easy but remember you'll be going up on the way back out, so keep that into consideration when deciding how far to go in. It was definitely more challenging on the way back up and out. Wear layers as there can be temperature changes depending on the cloud cover and how far down you go. Bring lots of water and snacks. I would love to go back and backpack in for a night or two some day.

hiking
9 months ago

One of the best memories of my life.

hiking
10 months ago

Easy walk down. Slower walk up. being above the clouds makes for good views and pix.

hiking
10 months ago

This gently sloped trail on a wide path into the crater provides incredible sweeping views of Haleakala Crater and the neighboring areas. We hiked along this trail on a bright sunny day and started with very few clouds in the area but as we emerged back at the top of the crater at the end of the hike the clouds were starting to pour into the crater for some exceptionally spectacular imagery! It was very hot and I got the most sun I've ever gotten so far while living in Hawaii this past year. Despite wearing 55 SPF (!!!) sunscreen, I still managed to get sunburn for the first time while residing here. Higher elevation means much more sun exposure! Ensure you bring plenty of water with you on this hike as there is none available along the way and it is desert dry. Also, as the hike begins downhill and seems relatively easy at first ensure that you plan enough time in your trek to make the return trip as it's uphill and takes almost twice as long to return, especially on tired legs on the return trip. Since you're almost at 10,000 feet elevation it's a much more rigorous hike than what one would experience closer to sea level. The incredible views, the variation in color, the awesome rolling clouds in the afternoon, and being able to see some thirty to fifty miles from up there make this trek one of my most memorable experiences of a lifetime! Enjoy your adventure! We had most of this trail to ourselves!

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing views!

11 months ago

Great hike! I can't believe how few people there were. I'd rate this trail as easy, however it wasn't too hot for us on the day we went since it was cloudy. Just carry water - no need for hiking poles that I saw a few others using.

11 months ago

This is essentially the same hike as a couple other routes listed on Alltrails that cut through the crater. 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.

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