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Best things to do in Haleakala National Park

Updated April 26th, 2022
Visit the sunrise at Haleakala. Hike the Sliding Sands Trail to see the cinder cones.
Hawaii volcano hikers people walking hiking on mountains in Haleakala volcanic background landscape. Two young tourists couple on trek hike outdoors.
Image credit: maridav / 123rf

Haleakalā is one of Hawaii's most popular tourist destinations. The volcano is famous for its dramatic sunrises and sunsets, as well as its stunning views of the island of Maui. Haleakalā is also a popular hiking destination, with several trails leading to the summit of the volcano. Other popular activities in Haleakalā include stargazing, birdwatching, and picnicking.

Some of the best things to do in Haleakalā are to watch the sunrise or sunset from the summit of the volcano, go on a hike, or stargaze. Haleakalā is also home to several popular tourist attractions, including the Haleakalā National Park Visitor Center, the Haleakalā Observatory, and the Haleakalā Crater.

1. Watch the sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā

Watching the sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā is a breathtaking experience. The view is dominated by the towering peaks of Haleakalā, Maui, and Mauna Loa, with the sun slowly rising above the horizon. The tranquil atmosphere and stunning scenery make this an unforgettable experience.

2. Hike one of the many trails that crisscross the Haleakalā National Park

When hiking the trails in Haleakalā National Park, visitors will experience a wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems, from lush rainforest to volcanic peaks. The trails are well-maintained and easy to follow, making them a great way to explore the park. The views from the trails are stunning, and hikers will be able to see the many different types of plants and animals that live in the park.

3. Go stargazing in one of the darkest skies in the country

A visitor's experience when they go stargazing in one of the darkest skies in the country in Haleakalā is awe-inspiring. The starry sky is clear and the darkness is complete, making it easy to see all of the stars. The atmosphere is peaceful and quiet, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty.

4. Take a scenic drive along the Hana Highway

A visitor who takes a scenic drive along the Hana Highway in Haleakalā likely experiences breathtaking views of the Na Pali Coast, stunning valleys, and stunning waterfalls. They may also experience the unique cultural and natural history of this area.

5. Visit the Haleakalā Visitor Center to learn about the park's history and ecology

When a visitor visits the Haleakalā Visitor Center, they are able to learn about the park's history and ecology. The center provides a wealth of information about the park's geology, flora, and fauna. The center is also home to exhibits that showcase the park's natural beauty.

6. Go on a ranger-led hike or program

A visitor's experience when they go on a ranger-led hike or program in Haleakalā would be filled with excitement and anticipation. The hike would be a challenging trek, with the visitor's breathing and heart rate gradually increasing with each ascent. Upon reaching the summit, they would be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

7. Attend a ranger-led stargazing program

When a visitor attends a ranger-led stargazing program in Haleakalā, they may expect to spend some time outside looking up at the night sky. The program may include instructions on how to use a telescope, and participants may be able to see a variety of stars and galaxies. The experience may be relaxing and rewarding, and visitors may leave feeling inspired by the beauty of the night sky.

8. Take a scenic drive along the Piilani Highway

When someone takes a scenic drive along the Piilani Highway in Haleakalā, they may feel a sense of awe as they take in the beautiful landscape and views. The drive may also be enjoyable as the road is well-maintained and there are few traffic jams.

9. Visit the Maui Ocean Center

When a visitor visits the Maui Ocean Center, they will be able to explore different exhibits about the ocean and its creatures. Additionally, the visitor can learn about the center's conservation efforts and how they are working to preserve the environment.

10. Take a scenic helicopter ride over Haleakalā

The visitor would feel awe and appreciation as they take a scenic helicopter ride over Haleakalā. The view would be breathtaking, and the helicopter ride would be one of a kind.