Haleakala Summit Area

Maui Hiking Trails

The summit area of Haleakala National Park is ripe for exploring, as it boasts over 30 miles (48 km) of hiking trails. These trails range in difficulty from leisurely 10- minute strolls to multi-day overnight trips, and each trail reveals Haleakala's fascinating landscapes in unique ways. 

You might hike in the native shrubland, looking for native forest birds and endemic plants, or in the aeolian cinder desert, exploring the geologic history of the summit.

Regardless of which trails you decide to explore, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of hiking only on the designated trails. First of all, it's the law and getting caught off the trail could land you in trouble. This is not the way you want to spend your Hawaiian vacation! Most importantly, trails are designated and marked because, as a park visitor, you are entering the home of some of the world's rarest plants and animals. Venturing off of the trails could damage or even kill any of these species. You could inadvertently step on seedlings or introduce an invasive species via your shoe soles into delicate areas. Additionally, please be aware that Haleakala is a sacred place for native Hawaiians and Haleakala National Park strives to protect sacred sites by keeping trails in safe areas. Remember to tread with respect when exploring these great trails.

One note: We are including the Hosmer Grove Loop trail in this list of summit trails. However, we recognize that the trail is only partially located within the park. 

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Hiking the Haleakala Summit Trails is a Maui must do activity.

Hiking the Haleakala Summit Trails is a Maui must do activity.

Haleakala Summit Trails

 
1. Pa Kaoao Trail- This short trail (less than .5 mile round trip) leads to the top of Pa Kaoao, a small cinder cone. The trail offers one of the highest vantage points in the park and gives spectacular views of the wilderness of the volcano. Stone shelters built by the early Hawaiians that explored Haleakala long ago are still visible from the trail. It begins just outside of the House of the Sun Visitor Center at 9,740 ft.
 

2. Halemauu Trail (Starting from the Summit)- A great full-day (or longer) hike, this is trail starts at 7,990 ft. and ends at the summit; however, we suggest you start at the summit and leave your car at the trailhead. This way, your car will be waiting for you when you complete your journey and trust us, you'll be glad it's there! The trail begins at the House of the Sun Visitor Center parking lot and descends 2,500 feet in 3.9 miles to the valley floor. Get an early start so you can get the most out of your hike and make it back to your car before nightfall. Please see our dedicated Halemauu Trail page for details about both portions of the trail (summit end and from actual trailhead). 

3. Keoneheehee (Sliding Sands) Trail- We think this is the best Haleakala summit hike. Note that this is a very strenuous trail that descends 2,800 ft. in the first 4 miles to the valley floor. The trail begins near the entrance to the Haleakala Visitor Center parking lot. If you prefer a less strenuous, approximately half-day hike, we recommend taking the first 2.5 miles of the trail to the Ka Luu o ka Oo cinder cone before turning around and taking the trail back out. This makes for a nice 5-mile trek, but it'll feel longer due to the extreme elevation. Total elevation gain/loss between the trail head and the cinder cone is approximately 1,400 ft. For more in-depth information about this hike, check out our Keoneheehee Sliding Sands Trail page.  

4. Hosmer Grove Loop Trail- Located just about one mile below the Headquarters Visitor Center you'll find the turnoff to Hosmer Grove. Here you'll find mostly non-native shrubland such as eucalyptus, spruce, pine, cedar, and more. The trail's highlight is a half-mile-long nature trail that winds through the forest. Keep your eyes peeled for at least four types of honeycreepers that make their homes here. Note that the Supply Trail can also be accessed from this point, leading uphill through the forest to connect with the Halemauu trail after 2.3 miles. Visit our Hosmer Grove Loop Trail page for more information. 

Upcountry Maui & Haleakala Tours

Haleakala and the Upcountry Maui region is a great place to explore; and we recommend doing so with an experienced guide. Here you’ll find our selections for the best Haleakala tours- whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure (think ziplining over a waterfall or zooming down a mountain on two wheels), or something more relaxing and subdued (think watching one of the world’s best sunsets). No matter how you want to experience the region, we have the perfect tour for you. Just make sure to book yours soon, as they can fill up rather quickly.

Upcountry Maui & Haleakala Information

Planning a trip to Haleakala often leaves visitors with a lot of questions: What are the Haleakala summit attractions? Which are the best hiking trails? Where can I get the best views? Here you’ll find the answers to these questions and more. There’s also a wealth of information about the region’s most popular trails and overlooks so you’ll know what to expect at each point.

Article Edited/Contributed by: John C. Derrick & Michele Lopez
Published/Updated:

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