This was the first place that we camped at on our Hawaii trip and it was by far our favorite. Paliku is one of two backcountry campsites in the Haleakala National Park summit district. Paliku lies along the eastern side of the crater and will take your breath away. The beauty of this campground is even more apparent after hiking through the barren landscape of the lava fields to get here.
After trekking nearly 10 miles from the visitor center to get here, you’ll be welcomed to take your boots off and step on the lush grass that grows all over the campsite, quite the contrast from all of the ‘a’a lava you’ve just been walking through. This rainy side of the crater features rich, thick, and best of all - almost completely native Hawaiian plants and animals. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard more interesting and diverse bird calls in my life that come from vividly colored native Hawaiian birds that live in this unique habitat. Be sure to collect a bird brochure at the visitor center when you pick up your permit to identify some of these unique birds you may never get the chance to see again in your life.
Campsites are tucked away and hidden along braided paths and tall grass of the dispersed camping area. Not one of them has a bad view.
Being so secluded, this backcountry campground takes preparation and work to get to. Campers must be fit enough to hike to and carry gear necessary to stay at this site. Water filters are a necessity as the water here is non-potable. Cold weather clothes and gear are also needed as temperatures often drop to sub-40.