Best Haleakala activities to do
On a two hour drive to the summit of Haleakala, you’ll pass through as many ecological zones as you would on a drive from Mexico to Canada! Haleakala National Park also has more endangered species than any other site in the National Park System. No matter how you choose to experience the Haleakala Volcano, one thing’s for sure: it’s a must.
Without a doubt, the most popular thing to do on Haleakala is to watch the sunrise or sunset. More than half a million visitors per year make the winding drive through Upcountry to reach the summit of Haleakala National Park and witness the dramatic landscape and the changing colors of the sky.
Hawaii is known worldwide for its amazing stargazing and observation sites, from the volcanoes of the Big Island to Haleakala Observatory on Maui, where astronomers from across the globe come to experience the superb viewing conditions.
Maui is home to a fantastic variety of hiking trails. Take a look at our list of the Top 10 Hikes in Maui to see which ones are a must on your Maui checklist. On Haleakala, many different trails are available depending on your preference and experience level of hiking. For experienced hikers, Sliding Sands Trail is the perfect challenge on Maui.
One of the most popular and thrilling activities on Maui is biking down Haleakala. Since 2010, chartered bike tours are no longer allowed to start within the National Park, which means they must go back down to just outside the boundaries at 6,500 feet to begin the ride. Alternatively, you can choose to rent your own bike and ride down from the 10,000-foot summit yourself.
Even if you don’t fancy yourself a cowboy, the views from some of the most popular horseback riding trails and ranches around Maui make the experience well worth the trek. Our two favorite options for horseback riding are Ulupalakua Ranch and Thompson Ranch.
Ziplining is a great way to enjoy the scenery of Maui while enjoying an adventurous day outdoors.
When booking a zip lining tour on Maui, there are two options near Haleakala: Jungle Zipline and North Shore Zipline. Both companies host their ziplines in the mountainous and jungle-covered landscape of Haiku.
If you enjoy the thrill of ziplining but want to take it a step farther, consider paragliding along the slopes of Haleakala Volcano! Proflyght Paragliding offers tandem paragliding with an experienced instructor, perfect for those of you looking to give it a try on your next trip to paradise.
Not many visitors consider camping on their trip to Maui, but it can be an excellent way to see the island and experience truly unique scenery. If you plan on hiking the crater of Haleakala, there are two wilderness campsites available for use. Hōlua is located 3.7 miles down the Halemauʻu Trail or 7.4 miles from the Sliding Sands Trail, and Palikū is situated at the base of a rainforest cliff, 9.3 miles on the Sliding Sands Trail or 10.4 miles on Halemauʻu Trail. Temperatures and weather conditions vary significantly at these altitudes, so make sure to pack for every occasion.
Blue Hawaiian offers excellent helicopter tours of Hana and Haleakala, giving you a birds-eye view of Haleakala’s stunning crater, hidden waterfalls, lush rainforest, taro fields and some of Maui’s most scenic ocean cliffs. If you’re visiting Maui between December and April, you may even get a chance to whale watch from the sky!
One of the best ways to experience Maui is to see firsthand what it takes to maintain its beauty. Volunteering not only allows you to meet people and to learn about local culture but knowing that you helped contribute to its well-being is a great souvenir to take home with you.