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Haleakala National Park

Hawaii, United States

Hawaii, United States
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Overall Experience: 8 / 10
Date Visited: Sunday, May 11, 2008

Haleakala National Park is a large national park on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The park extends from the base of the mountain all the way to the summit. At the base, there are some waterfalls, but the main attraction is the crater at the summit, at an elevation of over 10,000 feet.

Driving up to the summit can be a harrowing experience. The road is very windy. Although it's a modern road, there are many sharp, steep, blind curves, and other areas where the outer lane is very close to a steep drop. Take the road slow, and you'll be fine.

At the top of the mountain, the air is definitely thinner. Hiking is much more difficult. After a couple minutes of hiking uphill, I was huffing and puffing like I had just gone on a vigorous run. As a healthy group in our 20s, we were all surprised to see the effect the altitude had on us. We were surprised only 10,000 feet of elevation could cause such a difference. If you plan to do any activity, take it slow. Resting frequently seemed to help avoid any problems.

There is a visitors center on the way to the summit and another at the summit. Each of the visitors centers have descent bathrooms. At the base by the pools there are some "bathrooms" that are just holes in the ground and a small spout for washing your hands.

Estimated Visiting Time

At the base of the mountain, there are some pools to see and some short trails, but there's nothing really all that exciting. You could probably spend a couple hours here, but that's it. At the summit, there are also some trails you can take, but keep in mind that hiking is difficult at this altitude.

Visitors are permitted to stay at the summit until dark. If you're on a moonless night, there will probably be a great view of the stars. On a night when the moon is out, the view of stars isn't that much better than you would get from a city with lights.


The summit of the mountain is definitely much cooler than the base. At over 10,000 feet, there is a huge temperature difference. If you're wearing shorts and a t-shirt at the base of the mountain, bring pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and maybe even gloves with you to the top.


Visitors pay $10 per vehicle to gain entry to the park for a 3-day period. This gives visitors an opportunity to visit both the summit and the base of the mountain on different days since they are accessed from very different directions.

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Estimated Visiting Time

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