Haleakala National Park, Maui
Name: Haleakala National Park
What: A scenic national park known as the “house of the sun”
Where: Upcountry Maui to the southeastern coast
- More Info: (808) 572-4400; http://www.nps.gov/hale
Stretching across Maui’s southern and eastern coastline, Haleakala National Park is home to Maui's highest peak. Rising 10,023 feet above sea level, Haleakala's graceful slopes can be seen from just about any point on the island. Haleakala means "house of the sun" in Hawaiian, and legend has it that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.
The park is comprised of over 30,000 acres of public land, has three separate visitors centers and covers a range of natural environments. You can travel atop the highest peaks of Haleakala, hiking above the clouds and across otherworldly deserts. As the park stretches out to the coast towards sea level you can even visit lush tropical areas full of waterfalls and streams.
Many visitors and locals wake up early to drive up to the Haleakala Visitor Center (9,740 feet), the best spot to watch the sunrise. On a clear morning, seeing the sunrise from the summit of Haleakala is an unforgettable experience. Even those who’ve witnessed the event many times say they’ve never seen the same sunrise twice. Perhaps just as spectacular are Haleakala's sunsets and the bright, starry skies revealed at night.
The long, winding road to the summit of Haleakala takes some time to drive up, but is well worth the effort. There are numerous hiking trails that offer solitude and scenic vistas, while guided hikes provide an expert's guidance and insight. You’ll discover more endangered species here than any other park in the National Park Service. You may even spot a Nene (Hawaiian goose) or a blooming ahinahina plant (silversword) on your visit. Visitors can also camp here, with two separate campgrounds and cabins available.
For more information, visit the Park Headquarters Visitor Center at 7,000 feet above sea level. The Haleakala Visitor Center is at 9,740 feet atop its summit. At sea level, the Kipahulu Visitor Center is past Hana on the southeastern coast and is near the beautiful Pools of Oheo. See why Haleakala National Park is one of Maui's most popular visitor attractions.