Upcountry Maui & Haleakala Sights, Tours, & Information

Things to Do & Tips for Upcountry Maui & Haleakala

The term Upcountry Maui refers to the towns, ranches, vineyards, parks, farmlands, and visitor attractions on the upper slopes of Haleakala, including Haleakala National Park. Enchanting and rural, Maui's Upcountry is the heart of the island's agricultural industry, as well as a thriving artists' community.

Many compare the beautiful landscape of Upcountry Maui to the countryside in Scotland. You'll also be sure to discover several unique floral gardens in this part of Maui. Plus, some of the best views of the South Pacific anywhere on the island can be found from the high elevations of the upcountry.

John Derrick
Published on: 08-07-2020
Published by: John C. Derrick

Upcountry Maui & Haleakala Top 5 Things to Do

Best Things to See in Upcountry Maui & Haleakala Region

There are so many things to see and do in Haleakala and Upcountry Maui… and that means you likely have lots of questions: What are the best Haleakala hiking trails? Which Haleakala summit attractions should I visit? What’s a silversword? In this section you’ll find the answers to these and many more questions. You’ll also learn where to find both chameleon and tiki exhibits… right on the slopes of Haleakala!

Leleiwi Overlook

#5 Rated in Upcountry Maui & Haleakala

Haleakala's beauty is easy to spot... it's all around you! However, there are several proverbial hidden gems in the summit area. One of the best is the Leleiwi Overlook. 

The elevation here is around 8,800 ft. and the overlook provides a panoramic view of the vast crater of Haleakala. Many folks don't even notice this location because at first glance it appears nothing is here. Don't make that mistake!

Look around and you'll notice that the view is very close to a much more distant location- the moon. In fact, NASA has used this area for just that purpose, as the astronauts that landed on the moon trained here.

Kalahaku Overlook

#4 Rated in Upcountry Maui & Haleakala

If you're looking for a picture-perfect bird's-eye view of Haleakala's crater floor as well as the best place to spot a rare silversword plant, then don't miss the Kalahaku overlook.

Just beyond Leleiwi Overlook, the rim overlook, at 9,324 ft., provides not only a simply superb view of the crater floor but also of the seemingly minuscule hikers exploring the cinder cones below your vantage point.  

There is an observation deck here with plaques that explain the different types of volcanic formations you'll see. This is also a great place to observe the Koolau Gap and Kaupo Gap. 

Haleakala Pu'u Ulaula 'Summit Hill'

#3 Rated in Upcountry Maui & Haleakala

Technically, this attraction is part of Haleakala National Park (coming up on our list), but we simply had to include it here too.

A trip to Haleakala, Maui's highest peak at 10,023 feet, is most definitely a bucket list adventure. So if you are fortunate enough to make this journey up into the clouds, make sure to go as far skyward as possible to Puu Ulaula Summit- the highest point on Haleakala. 

Climb the steps to the shelter or take the more gradual ramp from the far end of the parking lot. If you look to the southeast you will probably see the high summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes on the Big Island, each over 13,000 feet in elevation, poking their summits through the clouds.

Keoneheehee - Sliding Sands Trail

#2 Rated in Upcountry Maui & Haleakala

The Sliding Sands Trail is located atop Haleakala Volcano in Haleakala National Park. You’ll want to dress warmly for this hike, as it can get quite chilly.

Also, be sure to prepare yourself for jaw-dropping views into the Haleakala volcano. It may look big from the summit lookout, but to really appreciate just how BIG this volcano is, you’ll want to hike down into it a bit. Go as far as you feel comfortable because it’s going to be some work physically to get back out. The elevation loss/gain is pretty consistent, so even if you only hike the first half or full mile in, it won’t be bad hiking out.

Be sure to stay on the trail, you don’t want to damage the rare and native Silverswords that grow near and around the trail. The contrasts of colors as you go along the trail are incredible, and the Martian-like landscape is pretty amazing to view in person – photos just don’t do it justice.

Haleakala National Park

#1 Rated in Upcountry Maui & Haleakala

To say Haleakala National Park is impressive would do it a great injustice. Spanning a huge swath of land across Maui’s southeastern region, Haleakala is home to the highest peak on Maui, at 10,023 feet. If that weren’t enough, it also holds the world record for climbing to the highest elevation in the shortest distance- a mere 38 miles!

And not only is it one of the most popular sights in Hawaii, but it’s also home to five distinctly different climate zones, breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, stunning views, otherworldly landscapes, and flora and fauna that are found nowhere else in the world.

Be sure to also check out our Haleakala National Park Summit Guide →

All Upcountry Maui & Haleakala Attractions

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Upcountry & Haleakala Sights

Upcountry Maui & Haleakala Tours

Maui’s Upcountry and the glorious Haleakala National Park are an adventurer’s paradise. Take a zipline tour over the West Maui mountains and waterfalls or do your zipping on a bicycle down Haleakala. If you’d rather get a closer look at your surroundings, hike the many trails on a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek- the choice is yours. Of course, no trip to the region is complete without watching an epic Haleakala sunrise or sunset. Remember, Haleakala is a world-famous location and tours can fill up quickly; be sure to book your adventure as soon as possible to ensure availability!

 

Maui Hiking Gear

If you’re headed to Upcountry Maui, we know some hiking and exploring will be on your list. Whether you’re out for a laid-back stroll or a serious trek, there’s nothing worse than being unprepared for your adventure. Make sure you have everything you need to stay safe, comfortable, and well-prepared for your trip. We’ve assembled all the essentials right here… from hiking boots, to water bottles, and much more.

 

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