• Matthew Kenagy

Hiking Haleakala

Maui just might be my favorite vacation destination. It's a special place with multiple climates, terrains, incredible scenery, great water sports, and tons of sightseeing. It's a special place for rejuvenation and relaxation. If you're up for a day of adventure, history, and incredible terrain, look no further than Haleakala State Park. With a summit over 10,000 feet above sea level, you'll literally be looking down at the clouds and all of Maui below.

Now a dormant volcano, Haleakala or the "house of the sun" is the legendary spot where the demigod Maui lassoed the sun to lengthen the days. And if you've heard that before, it's probably due to the popularly of Disney's Moana, where it made it's way into Maui's You're Welcome song made famous by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

The drive up Haleakala is pretty amazing. You'll start at the base of the volcano and slowly weave your way up the north side of the volcano, breaking through the cloud layer as you approach the State Park. Word of advice: have plenty of water and make sure you are not prone to altitude sickness, because you're literally going from sea level to 10,000 feet in a matter of about an hour. The temperature at the top will vary greatly from the temperature on the rest of Maui. Plan for wind and temperatures that are 20 degrees colder at the top than when you started your ascent.

What will greet you at the top is nothing short of amazing. Looking down into the volcano's crater, it literally looks like you could be on the face of Mars. Many say the most spectacular sunrise on the entire planet is seen from the top of this volcano, where you'll appear to be sitting on top of the clouds as the sun greets the horizon. This is also the same volcano that creates the incredible lush waterfalls and streams near Hana, and it's amazing to see the various terrains and landscapes that this volcano has created.

There are many hiking trails in the area, but there are two that are the most popular. The Halemau'u Trail hike leads to the "Rainbow Bridge", an incredible perch where you can look in the crater on one side and see a stark contrast with the lush landscape on the other side. The Sliding Sands trail is not for the faint of heart, and is an 11 mile trek into the crater itself, with an elevation change of over 2,500 feet. If you attempt this hike, be prepared as the air is thin and the sun is harsh at this altitude. Both of these trails are unlike any other you've ever hiked and truly unique to Haleakala and Maui.

There's so much to see and do on Maui and the Hawaiian Islands that I could write an entire blog on them, but Haleakala is one of my favorites and recommended for all travelers to Maui. What are some of your favorite tourist attractions and experiences on Maui?


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