Haleakala National Park: Halemau’u Trail

Take a crash course in vulcanology as you hike into a giant dormant volcano on this exotic 5.3-mile out-and-back on the island of Maui.

Photo: Lonely Planet via Getty Images

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From Kahului, take Haleakala Hwy. (becomes Crater Rd.) for 28.3 miles into park and stop at Halemau’u trailhead.


Keep northeast.


Straight at 3-way with Supply Trail (staying on Halemau’u Trail); first view over the blown-out side of the massive volcano that forms more than 75 percent of the island.


Crest volcanic lip for superb views then start switchbacking 1,000 feet to the crater floor.


Pass cliff bands of jagged and scissor-sharp black lava (careful not to slash your hiking shoes).


Clouds drift over the Ke’anae Valley, where various eco-zones (from cinder ash deserts to lush rainforests) thrive. Views to the Pacific Ocean, too.


Look below; you’ll see some cemented lava flows and ash fields.


Koolau Gap (6,700 ft.): Photograph hillsides and lava mounds streaked in reds, browns, and greens. Campers: Continue south for another mile to Holua Cabin (permit required).

From 2022