Halemau’u Trail In Hawaii

Here is everything you need to know about the Halemau’u Trail:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Hawaii
  • Length: 8.8 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/halemauutrail.htm

The Halemau’u Trail, located in Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui, Hawaii, holds a significant historical background. The trail was originally used by the indigenous people of Hawaii, known as the Native Hawaiians, for centuries as a means of traversing the rugged terrain of Haleakalā Crater. These early inhabitants relied on the trail to access the fertile lands within the crater for farming and gathering resources.

In the late 18th century, European explorers and missionaries arrived in Hawaii, bringing with them new influences and practices. The Halemau’u Trail gained further importance during this time as it became a vital route for the missionaries to reach the isolated communities residing within the crater. These missionaries sought to spread Christianity and establish schools, churches, and medical facilities in the region.

During the mid-19th century, the Halemau’u Trail played a crucial role in the ranching industry that emerged in the area. Cattle ranchers utilized the trail to transport livestock to and from the crater, taking advantage of the abundant grazing lands within the volcanic landscape. The trail became an essential link between the ranches and the markets on the coast, facilitating the economic growth of the region.

In the early 20th century, Haleakalā National Park was established, encompassing the Halemau’u Trail within its boundaries. The park aimed to preserve the unique natural and cultural heritage of the area. Today, the Halemau’u Trail continues to be a popular hiking destination, allowing visitors to experience the rich history and breathtaking beauty of Haleakalā Crater.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Halemau’u Trailhead: This is the starting point of the Halemau’u Trail, located at the Halemau’u Trail parking lot in Haleakala National Park.

2. Palikū Trail Junction: This is a junction along the Halemau’u Trail where it intersects with the Palikū Trail. It provides an option for hikers to continue on the Halemau’u Trail or take the Palikū Trail.

3. Holua Cabin: This is a cabin located along the Halemau’u Trail, providing a resting point and shelter for hikers. It is situated approximately 6 miles from the trailhead.

4. Halemau’u Crater Rim: This is a prominent viewpoint along the Halemau’u Trail, offering stunning panoramic views of the Halemau’u Crater and surrounding landscapes.

5. Halemau’u Trail terminus: This is the end point of the Halemau’u Trail, located at the Halemau’u Trail parking lot. Hikers can either return back on the same trail or continue on other trails in the area.

Transportation Available

1. Maui Shuttle Service – Reliable shuttle service for transportation to and from Halemau’u Trail.
2. Maui Taxi – Local taxi service available for convenient transportation near Halemau’u Trail.
3. Maui Car Rentals – Offers car rental services for independent transportation to Halemau’u Trail.
4. Maui Bike Rentals – Provides bike rentals for an alternative way to explore Halemau’u Trail.
5. Maui Public Bus – Public bus service with routes near Halemau’u Trail for affordable transportation.


The amenities available at the Halemau’u Trail in Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii, include:

1. Restrooms: There are restrooms available at the trailhead and at the Halemau’u Trailhead Visitor Center.

2. Parking: There is a parking lot available at the Halemau’u Trailhead for visitors to park their vehicles.

3. Camping Sites: Halemau’u Trail offers camping opportunities at the Holua and Palikū campgrounds. However, camping permits are required, and reservations need to be made in advance.

4. Picnic Areas: There are designated picnic areas along the trail where visitors can stop and enjoy a meal or snack amidst the beautiful surroundings.

5. Water Stations: There are water stations available at the trailhead and along the trail for hikers to refill their water bottles.

6. Information Boards: Throughout the trail, there are informational boards providing details about the flora, fauna, and geological features of the area.

7. Trail Markers: The trail is well-marked with signs and trail markers to guide hikers along the designated path.

8. Benches: There are benches placed at various points along the trail, providing hikers with resting spots and scenic viewpoints.

9. Emergency Services: In case of emergencies, there are emergency call boxes available along the trail to contact park rangers for assistance.

It is always recommended to check with the Haleakalā National Park website or visitor center for the most up-to-date information on amenities and any additional regulations or restrictions.

Nearby Services

1. Kīpahulu Campground – A nearby campground offering tent camping and basic facilities.
2. Hana Ranch Restaurant – A local eatery serving Hawaiian cuisine and fresh seafood.
3. Hāna Health Clinic – An emergency medical facility providing healthcare services.
4. Travaasa Hāna – A luxury resort offering accommodation, dining, and spa services.
5. Hāna Ranch Store – A convenience store providing groceries, snacks, and supplies.
6. Hāna Bay Beach Park – A scenic beach park with picnic areas and restroom facilities.
7. Hāna Fire Station – A fire station providing emergency response services.
8. Hāna Health Pharmacy – A pharmacy offering prescription medications and over-the-counter products.
9. Hāna Ranch Provisions – A local market offering fresh produce, deli items, and specialty products.
10. Hāna Airport – A small regional airport providing air transportation services.

Halemau’u Trail Difficulty Notes

The Halemau’u Trail, located in Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui, presents a moderate to challenging difficulty level for hikers. The trail spans approximately 11 miles round trip and features a significant elevation gain of over 2,500 feet. Hikers will encounter steep and rocky sections, as well as exposed areas with little shade. The high altitude and unpredictable weather conditions, including strong winds and sudden temperature changes, add to the challenge. However, the trail rewards hikers with breathtaking panoramic views of the volcanic landscape, unique flora, and the opportunity to explore the stunning Haleakala Crater. Proper preparation, including carrying enough water, wearing sturdy footwear, and being aware of one’s physical limitations, is essential for a safe and enjoyable hike on the Halemau’u Trail.

Features And Attractions

The Halemau’u Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui, Hawaii. Along this trail, you can experience various scenic views, historical sites, natural landmarks, and more. Here are some notable points of interest along the Halemau’u Trail:

1. Haleakala Crater: The trail starts at the Haleakala Visitor Center and takes you into the stunning Haleakala Crater, a massive volcanic depression.

2. Halemau’u Overlook: This viewpoint offers breathtaking panoramic views of the crater, including the cinder cones and unique rock formations.

3. Silversword Loop Trail: A short side trail that leads to a grove of rare and endangered Haleakala Silversword plants, which are endemic to Maui.

4. Holua Cabin: A historic cabin located along the trail, which was once used by ranchers and hikers as a shelter. It provides a glimpse into the area’s past.

5. Pu’u o Pele: A prominent cinder cone along the trail, known for its red and orange hues. It offers a unique geological feature to explore.

6. Ka Lu’u o ka ‘O’o: This is a lava tube, a natural tunnel formed by flowing lava. It’s an interesting geological feature to witness along the trail.

7. Halemau’u Trailhead: The endpoint of the trail, where you can either turn back or continue on other trails within Haleakala National Park.

8. Native Flora and Fauna: Throughout the trail, you’ll encounter a variety of native plants and wildlife, including the endemic ‘ahinahina (silversword) and nene (Hawaiian goose).

Please note that the Halemau’u Trail is a challenging hike, and it’s essential to be prepared with proper gear, water, and knowledge of the trail conditions. Always follow park regulations and stay on designated paths to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Usage Guidelines

– Pets are not allowed on the Halemau’u Trail.
– The trail is open year-round, but it is subject to weather conditions and closures due to volcanic activity. Check with the National Park Service for any seasonal restrictions or closures.
– Permits are required for camping along the trail. Obtain permits in advance from the National Park Service.
– Hiking groups are limited to a maximum of 12 people.
– Stay on designated trails and do not venture off the path.
– Do not disturb or remove any natural or cultural resources.
– Pack out all trash and leave no trace of your visit.
– Carry plenty of water and food, as there are no water sources or facilities along the trail.
– Be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress accordingly.
– Hiking boots or sturdy footwear is recommended.
– Check for any additional rules or guidelines from the National Park Service before your visit.

Seasonal Information

The Halemau’u Trail, located in Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui, offers visitors a unique and breathtaking hiking experience. When planning your visit to this trail, it is important to consider the best times of the year to go, as well as any seasonal closures that may affect your trip.

One of the best times to visit the Halemau’u Trail is during the months of April to September. During this period, the weather is generally warm and dry, making it ideal for hiking. The trail offers stunning views of the Haleakala Crater, and the clear skies during these months allow for excellent visibility. Additionally, the wildflowers are in full bloom during spring and early summer, adding vibrant colors to the landscape.

However, it is important to note that the Halemau’u Trail is located at a high elevation, reaching up to 10,000 feet. As a result, the weather can be unpredictable and temperatures can drop significantly, especially during the winter months. From October to March, the trail experiences cooler temperatures, strong winds, and occasional rain showers. It is advisable to dress in layers and bring appropriate gear to stay warm and dry during these months.

Another factor to consider when planning your visit to the Halemau’u Trail is the seasonal closures. Due to the sensitive ecosystem and preservation efforts, parts of the trail may be closed at certain times of the year. The trailhead at the Halemau’u parking lot is typically open year-round, but access to certain areas within the trail may be restricted during nesting seasons for native bird species. It is recommended to check with the Haleakala National Park website or visitor center for any closures or restrictions before embarking on your hike.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Halemau’u Trail are during the months of April to September when the weather is warm and dry, and the wildflowers are in full bloom. However, it is important to be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially during the winter months when temperatures can drop significantly. Additionally, checking for any seasonal closures or restrictions is crucial to ensure a smooth and enjoyable hiking experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Halemau’u Trail is not wheelchair accessible due to its steep and rugged terrain.
2. ADA Accommodations: The trail does not have specific ADA accommodations, but visitors with disabilities can request assistance or information from park staff for a more accessible experience.
3. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available at the trailhead for visitors with disabilities.
4. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms are available at the trailhead for visitors with disabilities.
5. Trail Surface: The trail surface is uneven and can be challenging for individuals with mobility impairments.
6. Trail Width: The trail width varies throughout the trail, and it may not be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs or mobility devices.
7. Steep Inclines: The trail includes steep inclines, making it difficult for individuals with mobility limitations to navigate.
8. Steps and Stairs: The trail features steps and stairs, which can pose challenges for individuals with mobility impairments.
9. Assistance Animals: Visitors with disabilities are allowed to bring their assistance animals on the trail to aid them.
10. Alternative Accessible Trails: For visitors seeking accessible trails, the park offers alternative options that are more suitable for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

When visiting the Halemau’u Trail in Haleakalā National Park, it is crucial to be aware of the following safety information:

1. Weather Conditions: The weather in Haleakalā National Park can change rapidly, and temperatures can drop significantly at higher elevations. Check the weather forecast before your visit and dress in layers to stay warm. Be prepared for rain, fog, and strong winds.

2. Altitude Sickness: The Halemau’u Trail reaches high elevations, and some visitors may experience symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headache, dizziness, nausea, or shortness of breath. If you feel unwell, descend to lower elevations immediately and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen.

3. Hiking Experience: The Halemau’u Trail is considered a moderate to strenuous hike, covering approximately 8 miles round trip. Ensure you have appropriate hiking experience, physical fitness, and stamina to complete the trail. Take breaks, stay hydrated, and listen to your body.

4. Trail Conditions: The trail can be rocky, uneven, and slippery, especially during or after rainfall. Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction and use hiking poles for stability if needed. Watch your step and be cautious on steep sections.

5. Sun Protection: The sun’s intensity at higher elevations can be stronger, leading to sunburn and dehydration. Apply sunscreen with a high SPF, wear a hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, breathable clothing that covers your skin. Carry and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

6. Wildlife and Plants: Haleakalā National Park is home to unique flora and fauna. Respect the wildlife and maintain a safe distance. Do not approach or feed any animals. Stay on designated trails to avoid damaging the fragile ecosystem.

7. Emergency Preparedness: Carry a fully charged cell phone, but be aware that cell service may be limited or unavailable in some areas of the park. Inform someone about your hiking plans and estimated return time. Pack essential items like a first aid kit, extra food, water, a map, and a flashlight.

8. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, including food waste. Respect the environment and leave it as you found it to preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Remember, safety is paramount when visiting any hiking trail. Always prioritize your well-being and be prepared for any potential risks or emergencies that may arise.

Conservation Notes

The Halemau’u Trail, located within Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui, holds a significant conservation status due to its unique ecosystem and the presence of several endangered species. The trail traverses through the Haleakalā Crater, a dormant volcano, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The conservation efforts for this trail primarily focus on preserving the fragile native flora and fauna that inhabit the area.

The Halemau’u Trail is home to a variety of rare and endemic plant species, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth. These include the Haleakalā silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum), a striking plant with silver-colored leaves that grows only in the volcanic soils of Haleakalā. Due to its limited distribution and vulnerability to habitat degradation, the silversword is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

In addition to the silversword, the Halemau’u Trail provides habitat for other endangered plant species such as the Haleakalā schiedea (Schiedea haleakalensis) and the Haleakalā lobelia (Clermontia oblongifolia). These plants face numerous threats, including invasive species, habitat loss, and climate change. Conservation efforts on the trail involve monitoring and managing invasive species, restoring degraded habitats, and raising awareness about the importance of preserving these unique plant communities.

The conservation status of the Halemau’u Trail is crucial in maintaining the delicate balance of its ecosystem and protecting the rare and endangered species that call it home. Through ongoing conservation efforts, the trail continues to serve as a valuable resource for scientific research, education, and recreation while ensuring the long-term survival of its unique biodiversity.

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