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Maui, Hawaii: Haleakala National Park Map and Guide

Updated: Apr 5


Top Things To Do at Haleakala National Park Maui Hawaii


Ultimate Haleakala National Park Map & Itinerary


Haleakala means "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian and is home to one of the world's largest volcanic craters. Haleakala's peak is just over 10,000 feet elevation, which allows you to feel as though you can touch the sun as you watch the clouds pass by beneath your feet. With that being said, the peak on Haleakala makes for a great spot to watch the sunrise or sunset. While there are many different ways to experience Haleakala National Park, we have outlined our favorite way below in our perfect day trip guide to Haleakala National Park including a Haleakala National Park Map within our curated Maui GoogleMaps. However you plan your trip, Haleakala National Park is certainly worth visiting on your next trip to Maui Hawaii.


Fun Fact


Haleakala National Park is home to more endangered species than any other national park.


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7:00am: Sunrise at Haleakala


Have you ever seen the sun rise over an ocean of white, puffy clouds? Haleakala summit may be one of your only chances to witness this spectacular phenomenon. Of course, check your local weather app for the exact time of the sunrise on the day you plan on going to Haleakala summit. We recommend planning to get to the summit at least 30 minutes prior to the sunrise. This will allow you ample time to find parking, and make your way to a viewing platform.


The Haleakala sunrise has become so popular that the National Park now REQUIRES RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME. The purpose of these reservations is not a money-making scheme (reservations are only $1 per vehicle), but rather a way to minimize the crowds at the Haleakala summit where there is already limited parking. Entering the park between 3am and 7am requires reservations at recreation.gov.


Top Things To Do at Haleakala National Park Maui Hawaii

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How to get tickets:

  • 60 days prior to your desired Haleakala day trip, request a reservation at recreation.gov (this is a national park website).

  • Reservation Cost: $1 non-refundable per vehicle (not per person)

  • Required: To enter the park between 3am-7am, you must show your reservation confirmation email and photo ID at the park booth upon entry. Additionally, you must also pay an entrance fee upon arrival to gain access to Haleakala National Park.


Once in the park, make your way to the summit building (10,023 feet elevation). From the park entrance booth it is 11 miles to the summit building and takes roughly 30 minutes to drive the switchbacks up the volcano. Use caution as the roads are narrow without any shoulders or barricades and you will be making this drive while it is dark.


J&L Tip: Bring layers and warm clothes (hat, gloves, & insulated jacket) for optimal comfort while watching the sunrise. You may not be thinking about winter clothing while planning your trip to Maui, however, the average temperature at the Haleakala summit around sunrise can be below freezing!




Top Things To Do at Haleakala National Park Maui Hawaii

Top Things To Do at Haleakala National Park Maui Hawaii

8:00am: Sliding Sands Hike


After admiring the breathtaking colors of the Haleakala sunrise, head down to the Haleakala Visitors Center to start the Keonehe'ehe'e Trail (more popularly known as "Sliding Sands"). Sliding Sands is one of the top hikes in Haleakala National Park and is an 11 mile out & back trail with 2,795 feet in elevation gain. Although strenuous, do not let the mileage scare you away from this trail.


We hiked this trail down into the crater for about 2 miles until we approached a beautiful lookout. We took in the breathtaking views, vibrant colors, and awe-inspiring terrain at this vantage point and then turned around to begin our climb back out of the crater. Although I am sure all 5.5 miles of this trail are spectacular, we felt that we were able to view so much beauty in the first 2 miles. Cutting down this hike to 4 miles also allowed us to conserve our energy for more amazing hikes within Haleakala. If you have more time and would prefer to complete the entire trail, you may also consider camping at one of the two wilderness campgrounds that can be accessed via the Sliding Sands trail.



Haleakala National Park Map & Guide: Sliding Sands Trail

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Haleakala has more endangered plant species than any other national park. One of the most famous plants is the Haleakala silversword (pictured below). As we learned in one of our favorite books, Scenic Science of the National Parks, the silverswords have leaves that bear silver hairs used to protect the plant from heat and light at this high altitude.


Once in its lifetime (up to 40 years), the silverswords sprout a stalk that can grow up to 6 feet tall and is adorned with an incredible purple flower display. Once the silverswords spread its seed from the flowers, it marks the end of its life. Be on the lookout during the sliding sands hike as this is a great time to spot silverswords. You may even get lucky enough to spot one with flower sprouts.


Please Remember: These plants are endangered. Leave no trace while in the park to give the silverswords their best chance at survival.


Haleakala National Park Map & Guide: Sliding Sands Trail

Prefer a Guided Tour?

10:00am: Kalahaku Overlook


The Kalahaku Overlook provides a stunning view of the crater, as well as , panoramic views of Maui from 10,000 feet! With the Haleakala summit gaining larger crowds at sunrise & sunset, Kalahaku Overlook provides a less crowded alternative. Kalahaku Overlook is also another popular spot to find silverswords (endangered species), as well as, other native plants, animals, and insects that are able to survive in the harsh climate of the Haleakala crater.



Haleakala National Park Map & Guide: Kalahaku Overlook

10:30am: Leleiwi Overlook


The Leleiwi Overlook provides yet another epic view of the Haleakala crater. It requires a short 5 minute hike to the overlook where you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the crater. Similar to Kalahaku Overlook, Leleiwi is also a great alternative to the Haleakala summit building for sunrise or sunset with far less crowds. In fact, sunset at Leleiwi Overlook is your best chance of seeing the Brocken Spectre.