Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano offering some of the best views in the whole of Hawaii. At 10,023 feet above sea level, this beautiful attraction covers a vast part of the island, and many people have found numerous ways to enjoy their visit here and get reasons to come back for more. The two-hour drive to the summit of this marvelous dormant volcano will provide you the opportunity to see a lot of ecological zones that you generally can pass through on the trip from Mexico all the way to Canada. Here are some of the cool things to do at Haleakala in Maui.
1. Watch the sunrise
More than half a million tourists make the drive to the national park to see the sun rise or set. This is a very popular activity with a fantastic view and feeling as the sky, and landscape dramatically change colors. Plan ahead the day before you leave and have the timetables for sunrise and sunset so you can plan your journey and time well. You don’t need much to have this experience, at the cost of $10, you can enter the park and have fun. Carry a jacket since the summit is cold. Carry snacks, water, and a camera for memories.
Hawaii has world renown stargazing sites, and Haleakala is not left out. The Haleakala Observatory offers an excellent stargazing opportunity given its conditions, other volcanoes on the island also offer great conditions for this activity. Maui stargazing offers stargazing experience to small groups making it perfect for a family. On clear nights the slopes of Haleakala have the perfect conditions for stargazers. When planning, check the moon phases so you can enjoy this activity when the moon is smallest. This company has an excellent guide to point out the star clusters to visitors. Warm clothing is essential and be ready for a breathtaking experience.
With so many hiking trails, Haleakala is a place you must visit at least once in a lifetime. Depending on experience level and preference, you have several options when it comes to Haleakala. Sliding sand trails is a challenge experienced hikers will not want to miss out on. It goes for 5.6 miles and 10.4 miles to Kapalaoa and Paliku cabins respectively from the summit. On your journey back, you can take the Halemau’u trail that offers fantastic views like no other place. Just ensure you carry enough water and snacks.
Amateur hikers are not left out, there are trails in the Polipoli Spring area and pick a path in the forest reserve. They range from 0.6 to 1.7 miles at about 7,000 feet above sea level. They offer magical views like cloudy mist, redwood trees, native fauna, flora and a great view of what this island has to offer as a well as some view of the neighboring islands.
One of the cool things to do at Haleakala is to bike. It is fun biking down from outside the national park at 6,500 feet using chartered bike tours. The other alternative is to rent your bike and ride down from 10,000 feet to the summit foot juts by yourself or with a partner for added fun. You can join the tours organized by Haleakala bike company to have a great variety like the sunrise special tour where you are driven to the summit to watch the sunrise then ride down. As a lone ranger, you have the option of renting a bike and planning your bike ride as you please to maximize the views and fun.
5. Horse riding
At Haleakala, you will find some of the best horseback riding trails with spectacular views and landscapes. Even for those who don’t fancy cowboys, the trip will make you change your opinion. You get to see the lava flow, the ocean and the less traveled remote hills at the back and sides of Haleakala. Along the ride, you take a break at Kalua O Lapa to relax and take some fresh fruits and water as you view the scenes at the viewpoint. This ride is designed for a maximum of six people to make the ride enjoyable and friendly.
The thrilling ride through the air is an experience no one wants to miss. It offers you an excellent opportunity to enjoy the scenery while raising your adrenaline levels for maximum thrill. When with family you can choose the 4 or 5-line zip and go together making as much noise as you wish. It is fun zipping through the forest, and if you like, you can zip directly into the water.
The slopes of the Haleakala volcano provide the perfect terrain for paragliding. It is more like elevating the thrill of the zip lining; you glide downwards with a certified instructor to ensure your safety as you enjoy the glide over the valley. These flights are available most days of the year, so you have no excuse to miss on the view from above as you enjoy the flying.
8. Heli tour
Touring the mountains in a helicopter is one the cool things to do at Haleakala. It is so popular due to the many stunning landscapes you see and the hidden beauty that you can only see from above. Ziplining and paragliding may offer incredible views from above but not as much as from a helicopter. You can view some remote areas that you cannot reach by land travel like having a bird’s eye view of the crater, taro fields, lush rainforest, hidden waterfalls and the breathtaking ocean cliffs. Between December and April, you can even be lucky to watch whales from above, what a sight.
9. Camping out
The terrains offer wonderful camping conditions at the camping sites with favorable temperatures at the altitudes. Camping is fun for those who have not tried it, and it is an excellent way to prepare to hike the crater. Camping at one of the two wilderness campsites will place you in proximity to the crater, so you only have to cover particular hiking miles from your campsite. Haleakala also has drive-in campsites which are less strenuous and is close to a hiking trail through a bamboo forest taking you to the 400 foot Waimoku waterfalls.
10. See rare species
The Haleakala National park has so many endangered species. A hike within the park will reveal to you its hidden treasure of birds and plants that you can find only on the slopes of Haleakala. The silversword is one of the rare plants and is known to blossom after 50 years then die after that single flowering; you can get to witness such a gift of nature at Haleakala.