Haleakala National Park Hiking Trail
If you’re looking for a great Haleakala summit hike- one that just may be the best Haleakala summit hike, in fact- then Sliding Sands Trail is the perfect trek for you.
Located inside Haleakala National Park, this trail is definitely not an easy hike, but your efforts will be greatly rewarded.
This extremely strenuous trail descends 2,800 ft. in the first 4 miles to the valley floor. The Keoneheehee (Sliding Sands) Trail starts at the bulletin board by the entrance to the Haleakala Visitor Center parking lot. For a good half-day (and yet still moderately strenuous) hike, we recommend the first 2.5 miles of the trail to the Ka Lu'u o ka O'o cinder cone before turning around and taking the trail back out. The round trip is a 5-mile trek, and given the elevation, it'll feel like it's longer. The final climb back up Haleakala's crater rim will also be more than enough hike for one day. Total elevation gain/loss between the trailhead and the cinder cone is approximately 1,400 ft.
— article continued below —
For overnight trips, Keoneheehee Trail leads to Kapalaoa cabin in 5.6 miles or Paliku cabin and campsite in 10.4 miles. On long treks to the central valley or beyond it is recommended that you hike the Halemauu Trail out of the valley due to the steepness and soft cinder base of the Keoneheehee Trail.
Haleakala Travel Tips
- Take water and necessities for hiking
- Wear proper clothing- it can be cold at 10K+ feet
- Wear sunscreen- the rays are harsh at this elevation
- Carry a hiking pole- it makes the climb back out of the crater much easier
- Prepare for this hike by getting a decent meal and good night's rest the day before.
A bit of wisdom from those who have lived and learned: hiking this trail with too little energy due to lack of food and sleep makes it about 10 times harder than it needs to be. So, for your safety and enjoyment, start out prepared and well-rested. Check out our Haleakala Packing List for everything you'll need to stay safe and comfortable- whether you'll be camping or just exploring on a day hike.
Visiting Haleakala is definitely a Maui bucket list adventure. Otherworldly landscapes, perhaps the world's best sunrise, and stunning views all around make for an unforgettable experience. We are proud to feature some of the best Haleakala tours- whether you choose to hike the summit, zip down on a bicycle, or fly over the crater. Book your Haleakala experience today, as these tours can fill up fast.
More Haleakala Information
Wondering where to stay near Haleakala and what to expect once you're there? Everything you need to know- from tips, hiking trails, sunset times, and silverswords- is all right here.