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This is a must-see in Maui! From the base of the mountain, it will take you about 30 minutes to drive to the top of Haleakala.
The roads are very twisty, and there are sections where there are no guardrails. Be sure to drive at a pace that is comfortable for you, and utilize the pullover areas to let faster traffic pass. There is no need to make a reservation to enter the park unless you’re showing up early to watch the sunrise. You’ll just have to pay a park entry fee when you arrive at the base of the mountain(don’t worry you can’t miss the payment booth).
The summit is over 10,000 ft from sea level. Due to the elevation, it is pretty darn cold and the air is noticeably thinner. When we went, the base of the mountain was about 90F(32C) and the top of Haleakala is around 50F(10C). Also, it is very very windy at the summit. You should bring a sweater and a windbreaker to make sure you’re able to walk around comfortably.
The view of the surrounding islands and the crater are absolutely stunning! Check out some pictures here: https://creditcarrots.com/haleakala-crater/))
Stayed here during the week and this is absolute best place to camp. Has cell reception, bathrooms, showers, ocean access, and overall great campground. I did a camp site which is in dirt which kinda sucks but that’s is only complaint but won’t rate it down for this. Food and drink access is close by too!
Unreal! It’s like your on the moon. O! Watch for a NeNe, this bird is very rare and lives on at the top of this mountain . Beware the road it going up is all twists and turns. Be careful if you get carsick or are severely hungover 🤢
Ok, you twisted my arm…
Hosmer Grove Campground is a small set of primitive sites located in the Kīpahulu region of Haleakalā National Park, at the cloud line. This means it will get cold, especially at night, and even in the summer. Come prepared for this nice break from the Maui beach heat. The spaces are first come first serve, summer will likely be busier so come early. No permit needed. Fairly easy to pack in as well.
There are grills and nice picnic tables available at each site, but no campfires are allowed, so you must use the grills for your cooking. All the better to see the stars at night, right? Portable water is available and there are also put toilets only. Please be respectful of other campers since the area is so small.
Be prepared to be woken early to the sound of an array of birds, and even a clearly lost rooster up before dawn. The best thing about Maui, is that it’s an island formed out of nothing from a volcano, meaning it did not break off from a land mass carrying with it all the variety of animals and insects campers often find troubling. In fact, typical tropical concerns like venomous snakes and large cats are nonexistent here. A very safe place, animal wise, to camp, but do be warned of flash floods when hiking the area and come aware of the conditions and also prepared with a first aid kit, as outside help is far and difficult to reach. Towers were recently put in to assist with calls out, but in the valleys and at high elevations you will often find it hard to get reception. And help us an hour or more away. So hike with caution.
Sites are fairly level, close to each other, and on soft grass. The route to this area via the Hāna Hwy is almost worth the trip in and of itself, it’s truly a gorgeous area at all elevations.
Be sure to take advantage of the many guided hikes (also for safety reasons) offered by the national park and local private companies. We took a GREAT waterfall rappelling trip with Rappel Maui and enjoyed all their info about the area and expertise in rappelling. Be prepared for mosquitos, however we really didn’t encounter too many in June.
Check out the Pools at ‘Ohe’o and the many many waterfalls around the Nat Park as well as the state park while there. And the rocky, rough-waved cost on that side of the island (not great for swimming but so so beautiful).
This campground was the largest by far we saw on Maui - it was a large grassy area down a road past the visitor's center for Kipahulu. The area is for both tent and car camping, and there's no separate parking lot for tent campers since it is a bit of a walk from the visitor's parking lot. There's no running water, but two small buildings with pit toilets inside and hand sanitizer. There's also a group area that I believe needs to be reserved ahead of time and is at the back of the main camping area, as well as a trail off the campground that leads to shady tent camping spots (you definitely couldn't get a car in there) under large trees. We liked the campground a lot, especially how grassy it was (rather than dirt, like at Olowalu) but unfortunately we stayed on a Friday and Saturday night - and boy did the other people there like to party. We spent the first night stuck next to a HUGE party that didn't quiet down til late at night. Even after moving our van to a spot farther away from them, we realized that there were quite a number of groups partying til late at the site. I bet this wouldn't be the same case on a weekday night, but it's good to know that this campground is popular with the locals/residents on Maui and from other islands - probably because it's so cheap and accessible ($25 for 3 nights, which is essentially your entrance fee to get into the 7 sacred pools and hike the Pipiwai Trail).
As for Kipahulu itself, it's a beautiful place. we swam in the 7 sacred pools (which get pretty crowded in the afternoon from day tourists) and hiked the Pipiwai Trail. We LOVED Pipiwai - it's a bit grueling, and is 4 miles there and back, but the 100 foot waterfall at the end of it is incredible and a must-see. For the price, Kipahulu is a great place to camp at, and to make the most of your money, I'd suggest spending a night or two here and then heading to Hosmer Grove on your way to the summit. Note that there's no running water here, so come prepared with water jugs. While there's running water in the bathrooms at the service center, as well as a water fountain to fill up your water bottle there, there's no faucet or anything that you could use to fill up a big water jug. One of the major downsides to the site, in addition to the noise.
I read seriously conflicting reviews about this place before coming here, so I was super on the fence. We ended up camping in our campervan for our first night here, and it was just what we needed. The campervan site is just a dirt lot, but it's pretty big and right next to the showers and toilets. The amenities are GREAT. The showers are enclosed, they have benches and hooks to put your things down on and they have hot and cold water. The bathrooms are REAL bathrooms, with flushing toilets, running water sinks, toilet paper, mirrors, hooks and a ledge to put your things down on. Really well maintained too. In addition, there's also a cell phone charging station, and large sinks to wash your pots and pans. We came back here after camping on the East side of Maui in the state parks, and had an even deeper appreciation for it. Our second time around we camped in the tent area. Each tent spot has its own grill and picnic table, and is close to garbage bins, the beach and showers/toilets. My only complaint is that both the campervan area and the tent area are pretty much just dirt, rather than grass, which especially in the tent area makes you and your things quite dirty. The wood chips that line the pathways in the tent area are also pretty sharp, and my foot actually got cut on one even when I was wearing shoes - so be careful. Overall it was a great campground, and while it's expensive for adults ($20/person), let's just say that the people that run this place aren't that interested in checking that your party is actually the size you say it is or that you have the correct number of adults vs. kids (kids are $5)..compared to Papalaua Park ($10/person on weekdays, $20 on weekends and no amenities except for porta potties) this place blows that one out of the water.
We hiked through here on a day hike through the crater, and stopped here to rest and chat with some campers. The campground has one cabin available to reserve online (but reservations fill up fast) and then a grassy area to camp with a tent in. The guys we talked to said it was constantly raining the night before, so they camped in a small lava cave near the campground. It was a beautiful area of the crater to be in - truly 'in the clouds' - but it was misting the whole time we were there and I'm not sure I'd want to spend a night there if it was in a tent. The cabin seemed well maintained. There's an outhouse/toilet there, as well as water that must be treated/filtered. It was about 6-7 miles in, starting from the Sliding Sands Trail, or about 4 miles from Halemau'u Trailhead.