Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park

Sights To See

Nothing dominates the visual splendor of Maui like the spectacular Haleakalā, or "House of the Sun." The park's diverse terrain encompasses numerous ecosystems, ranging from rainforests to arid desert. The best place to start any trip is at one of the three visitor centers.


More than 8,000 acres of rainforest drain through the park's streams. Two streams, Palikea and Pïpïwai are entirely within park boundaries, and several of their waterfalls are accessible to visitors. Waimoku (400 feet) and Makahiku Falls (185 feet) on the volcano's eastern slope are easily reachable by foot. Start at the Kīpahulu Ranger Station and follow the marked trails. The hike parallels 'Ohe'o Stream and Pīpīwai Stream up the lush valley, passing ancient taro farm sites and crossing two bridges. This non- nature jungle includes guava, mango, Christmas-berry trees and towering bamboo forests. Remember to check at the station for current trail and swimming conditions. Be alert to water conditions as flash flooding may occur within seconds. 


Magnificent views of the crater can be seen at the Haleakalā Visitor Center. It is located near the summit of Haleakalā. Overlooks with orientation panels and exhibits are located at Leleiwi, Kalahaku and Pu'u 'Ula'ula along the park roads between the visitor center and the summit. Stop at one of the several overlooks on the park road or take a short walk on one of the park trails away from the traffic noise to watch the clouds. The visual horizon in many places in the park is up to 115 miles out to sea. Even cloudy skies can offer amazing sights including rainbows, moonbows and halos seen around your shadow. If cloud conditions are right at Leleiwi, you may see the "Specter of the Brocken," a phenomenon in which your shadow is projected onto the layer of clouds in the valley below and is encircled by a rainbow. 

Haleakalā is an ideal location to watch planets, stars and moons after dark. Bring a pair of binoculars and pick up a star map at Park Headquarters Visitor Center or Haleakalā Visitor Center, and see if you can find the fishhook of Maui (Scorpio) or Hōkūle'a (Arcturus). 

If you are an early riser, arrive one hour before sunrise to witness the colors change on the horizon. The best locations to experience a sunrise are Pu'u 'Ula'ula (the summit), Leleiwi or Kalahaku overlooks, and Haleakalā Visitor Center. Sunsets are equally impressive. The best locations to watch are the Halemau'u Trail and the summit.