National Parks

Haleakalā National Park

Haleakala Crater landscape

The park got its name from Haleakala, a dormant volcano within the park’s area. Haleakala in Hawaiian means “House of the Sun” belongs to one of the world’s largest volcanic craters. Its rim’s elevation reaches at 10,023 feet (3,055 meters) at Red Hill on the southwest.

The crater is 7.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide and has a circumference of about 20 miles (30 km); its floor is about 2,300 feet below the Haleakala Visitor Center, situated 9,740 feet high the rim. The last volcanic eruption was in 1790. There are reddish cinder cones scattered across the floor of the crater, together with black lava beds.

The Haleakala National Park is on south-central Maui Island, Hawaii that covers an area of 33,265 acres, of which 24,719 acres an area of wilderness is.

The park experiences climate that ranges from subalpine to subtropical. Some of the crater’s inhabitants are petrels, honeycreepers, and the rare nene (Hawaiian goose).

The park is home to some flora, including silverswords, yucca like plants that take as long as 50 years to flower once and then die. In the Kipahulu Valley biological reserve, you can also find a diverse collection of trees and other plants, such as the ohia and lobelia.

History

smoky crater of Maui Island volcano

On August 1, 1916, Hawaii National Park was initially composed of Haleakala, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea on the island of Hawai’i. However, on September 30, 1961, the park area was made into a separate nationalpark and was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980.

The park was named Haleakala, meaning “house of the sun” by the local legends who believed that the demigod Maui imprisoned the sun inthe area to lengthen the day. There was a proposed to the change of the Hawaiian spelling from the Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000, but it did not become law.

The park’s dormant volcano last erupted sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD. There are two distinct regions of the park: the summit areaand the coastal Kipahulu area. The summit area includes Haleakalā Craterand the surrounding area. The Hawaii State Road access the park.

The park is notable with its volcanic features, long scenic drives with numerous overlooks, and the magnificent night sky.

There are a few animals in the park, and the only bats and seals are the native mammals, and only sea turtles are the native reptiles in the park. Birds are the predominant native vertebrates, and except for migrants, all are endemic, that is, they are found nowhere but Hawaii.

And nene, Hawaiian goose can only be found here. Long ago, its ancestor, a Canada goose, flew here and stayed. Due to isolation, it evolved and lost its webbed feet. Like the other Hawaiian land birds, it too is “endemic.”Of the nearly 1,000 native species of flowering plants in Hawaii, 90% of these are endemic.

What to do at the Park

Sunrise at the Haleakala, Haleakala sunrise

Watch Sunrise or Sunset

Reaching the volcano’s summit, especially early in the morning to watch the sunrise, or late afternoon for the sunset is a relaxing feeling that visitors to the park thrills to do.

Homer’s Grove

This is mainly one unique attraction of the park because of the unique forest of trees that it has including deodar (Cedrusdeodara) from the Himalayas, sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) from Japan, eucalyptus from Australia, and several species from North America (pine, spruce, cypress, fir, and others). There also exist a few native plants and trees due to limited sunlight.

Astronomical activities

The park’s night sky is one of the most beautiful in the U.S. This is why local merchants make available binoculars and telescopes for astronomical activities by the guests.

Hiking

There are several trails to choose your trek. One is Pa Ka’oao, about 0.4 miles about a 5-minute trail from the Visitors Center parking lot. It has a view of the crater. It helps to bring a flashlight when starting the trail before the sun rises. Or another option is Leleiwi Overlook that has a smaller crowd and a warmer temperature. You will see the crater’s floor and the sheer multihued cliffs.

Biking

Biking down Haleakala is one of the most thrilling and fun activities at the Park. But since 2010, chartered bike tours are no longer permitted. Alternately, there are for rent bikes that you can ride down from the 10,000-foot summit yourself.

Horseback Riding

Around the area of Maui are the best spots for your fancy cowboy experience. It is also where some of the most popular horseback riding trails and ranches are found. The Makena Stables’ Sunset Tour along the winding trails through Ulupalakua Ranch will make you enjoy sweeping views of Maui’s last lava flow at La Perouse Bay, the remote hills and the oceans along the back, less-traveled side of the park.

You can take a break at the relaxing view of Kalua O Lapa, one of the most scenic viewpoints on the entire island. Take delight in some fresh fruit and snacks.

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