Hawaiians say ‘if you haven’t been to Haleakala, you haven’t been to Maui or at least looked into its soul’. It’s a magical place so by all means, get yourselves there!
The road to Haleakala
The road up to the volcano is relatively easy to drive on compared to Mauna Kea. We did it in our tiny rental and made it just fine. Lookouts on the crater’s rim provide breathtaking views of the East Maui Volcano surface. It’s the world’s largest dormant volcano, so large that it could swallow the island of Manhattan whole.
Cool facts about Haleakala
On the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, scientists study the night sky and here at Haleakala, they study the sun. Therefore it is otherwise known as ‘House of the Sun’.
The white-domed buildings that house powerful telescopes, connect this East Maui Volcano to outer space, very cool! Another cool thing is that the observatories were built near the highest point on Maui because it offers the 4th best viewing conditions on the planet, wow!
One more cool fact: the incredible volcanic landscape of Haleakala so resembles a lunar surface that astronauts practised mock lunar walks here before landing on the moon.
Wondering around Haleakala
While wandering around the park, you will see Ahinahina (Silversword) – a plant, that grows on the slopes of Haleakala and nowhere else in the world! The Hawaiian word ‘ahinahina’ means ‘grey-grey’ and was the best description of this impressive plant by a society that didn’t know metals.
There’s a lot more to this dormant volcano than just looking down into it from the crater rim. You can walk down into the crater and follow the trails, feel the crater floor and wander around the cinder cones. You can even bring a sleeping bag and spend a night in the park.
The volcano is great to see at any time, but try to catch a soulful sunrise from the top of Haleakala. That’s what we did the next morning and it was my best sunrise to date.
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