Hiking Haleakala Crater

For our first trip together to Maui in 2016 we decided to do some hiking and overnight in the Haleakala National Park. With the help of some friends who had experience in the Crater we decided on our route and place to camp. Our route went as follows:

  • Pick up our camping permit at the Park Headquarters Visitor Center
  • Park at the Haleakala Visitor Center
  • Hike the Sliding Sands Trail to the first junction
  • Turn left at the first junction and cut across the crater
  • Join up with the Halemau'u Trail turning left
  • Camp at the Holua Campsite
  • Hike out the next morning to the Halemau'u Trailhead
  • Hitchhike back to our car at the visitor center

You can view a map of the park HERE which will help put this into perspective. There are a lot of different routes and combinations of hikes that you can do. You can also spend much more than one night in the crater, which we hope to do at some point.

A few thoughts from our hike.

You'll feel like you are on another planet. You'll also completely forget that you're in Hawaii. No beaches in the crater! We heard from other hikers that inside the crater is one of the quietest places on earth, and we can attest to it's eeriness and calmness.

We had beautiful weather for most of the hike. On our way out the next morning we ended up in misty clouds that drenched us from head to toe for our hike up the ridge. Luckily at the trailhead where we finished we were out of the clouds and the sun warmed us up and dried us off.

Something we completely neglected to think about was sunscreen. Because of the elevation you are closer to the sun and we both got sunburnt pretty good on our faces. It's fairly chilly when you start the hike, but as you get lower into the crater it gets much cooler and at night the temperature was in the mid 30's so pack warm clothes and have a good sleeping bag!

For the photographers; I made the huge mistake of thinking I only needed one battery, since my Canon batteries usually last me a full day of shooting weddings. I think it was a combination of the elevation and the cold, but my battery was blinking red by the time we set up camp. Nothing worse than having to hold back on taking photos trying to conserve. What did help a bit was keeping the battery next to my body and in my sleeping bag to get a little extra out of it.

Other than that it is an amazing hike and one you should add to your bucket list. Enjoy the photos!