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 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 to witness the changing colors of the sky and dramatic landscape.
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 seeing 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 one(s) are a must on your Maui bucket list. 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 thrill 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. Alternately, 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. We love Makena Stables’ Sunset Tour along the winding trails through Ulupalakua Ranch, where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the last lava flow on Maui at La Perouse Bay, the ocean and remote hills along the back, less-traveled side of Haleakala.
Ziplining is a great way to enjoy the scenery of Maui while enjoying an exciting day outdoors. Grab your friends and family and head to Piiholo Ranch Zipline or Skyline Eco Adventures, both located on the slopes of Haleakala Choose from the 4-Line Zip, 5-Line Zip and variety of Zipline Canopy Tours at Piiholo or zip backward if you want at Skyline, where you’ll learn about native flora and fauna as well as local history before zipping through the forest canopy.
If you enjoy the thrill of ziplining but want to take it a step farther, consider paragliding on 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.
Maui helicopter tours are one of the most popular activities in Hawaii and for a good reason. With so many stunning landscape views and hidden wonders, a helicopter tour offers the best views of some of Maui’s most remote areas. Helicopter tours are something you won’t want to miss if you’re looking for a unique way to enjoy the views of Hawaii, escaping the cloud cover.
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 learn about local culture but knowing that you helped contribute to its well being is a great souvenir to take home.