Haleakalā National Park has one of the most dramatic landscapes I have seen. There is a whole story around why it’s call House of the sun and you can read that here, But I can assure you that there is no other place like Haleakalā. To me, the most fascinating aspect of Haleakalā was to walk down to the crater and witness the dramatic landscape of a volcanic eruption. The colours and landscape of Haleakalā are so dramatic that it feels you are on a different planet. Haleakalā is undoubtedly one of Maui’s best places.
Haleakalā summit can be reached within one to two hours from anywhere on Maui. It is refreshing to drive to Haleakalā because the scenery changes every couple of minutes. The last 10 minutes of the drive were my favourite because the landscape changed every single minute and we were blown away by the beauty of Haleakalā. The views from the summit peak are breathtaking.
Haleakalā is most famous for its sunrise and sunsets but I feel hiking the Sliding Sands trail is also a must-do. The whole trail is about 12 miles long and takes more than six hours to complete, with many viewpoints along the way. We hiked for about 2 miles down the crater and were greeted by amazing views of the crater. I would have gone down to the crater as the trail actually cuts through the crater and it would be so cool to walk on the crater but we had to come back to the parking lot for sunset. I just could not believe I would be so close to a crater in my lifetime, it’s so easy and accessible in Haleakalā that I could not believe it.
Most people go to Haleakalā for sunrise, but I would rather finish my sleep and go for sunset instead. Haleakalā Sunsets are equally captivating. At first, I thought you would see the sun setting into the sea, but in Haleakalā the sun sets in the clouds. The summit of the mountain is more than 12000 feet high and there are clouds everywhere you look.
We also stayed for stargazing on Haleakalā. We had already packed our dinner from one of the food trucks in Kihei. Haleakalā is one of the best places on earth for stargazing. There is also an observatory on top of the summit, built by the government of Hawaii.
We had around a day at Haleakalā which I felt was just the perfect amount, if you are really into hiking you can probably spend a day. No matter if it’s a day or a half trip, Haleakalā is a must-see on Maui’s Itinerary.