Meaning ‘House of the Sun,’ Haleakala Volcano is widely touted as the world’s largest dormant volcano, despite the fact that it’s technically still active. There’s no need to worry, though – the most recent eruption was way back in 1790, evidenced by the large portion of stark black lava rock covering the backside of Haleakala Volcano down to La Perouse Bay.
When visiting the land of aloha, we highly encourage you to spend one day on Haleakala, exploring the many activities and sites, all of which will leave you feeling amazed and enlightened. Our twice daily van tours offer the perfect way to see the best areas of Haleakala and Upcountry Maui, including the areas listed below. Enjoy, and we hope to have you join us on your next Valley Isle adventure!
One Day on Haleakala
Haleakala National Park & Haleakala Crater
After a winding drive up through the hills of Upcountry Maui, we begin our day on the volcanic slopes at the entrance of Haleakala National Park, located 6,500 feet above sea level. From here, we will continue upwards until we reach Haleakala’s summit lookout, located at approximately 10,000 feet, where you’ll also find the Haleakala National Park Visitors Center, gift shop and restroom facilities.
For guests of our early morning tour, it’s here where you’ll witness a majestic Maui sunrise from the volcanic summit. The changing colors of the sky and stark, barren landscape are otherworldly and unlike anything else you’ll experience in Hawaii. While many people choose to make the drive on their own, it can be a daunting task for first-timers, one of the many reasons we recommend sitting back and letting our professional guides do the driving!
You’ll also visit a second viewing location of Haleakala Crater, which is large enough to hold all of Manhattan, allowing guests to see the vast and beautiful landscape from a different angle.
Haleakala Ranch Land
Once guests have had sufficient time to explore the summit of Haleakala, we’ll begin our descent down the slopes of Haleakala’s ranch land. Our certified tour guides provide fascinating information about the changing flora and fauna you’ll see along the way, including the unique silversword plants and Hawaiian State bird, the Nene goose.
Enjoy the transformation from the desert-like summit back to the lush hills of Upcountry Maui, all from the comfort of our climate controlled vans along with commentary from our knowledgable guides. Feel free to ask questions, and check out the bicoastal views from your window!
Home to Maui’s only winery, botanical gardens, a lavender farm, organic farms and some of Maui’s most famous breakfast joints, guests will have the opportunity to take in views of the charming, quaint town of Kula.
Learn vital information about the culture and history of the area as you slowly make your way into warmer weather.
Continuing back down Haleakala Volcano, you’ll soon arrive in Makawao Town. Known for its population of Paniolos, or Hawaiian cowboys, Makawao is the perfect place to hop out and browse local art galleries, try the famous malasadas and cream puffs at T. Komoda Store & Bakery, and do some boutique shopping while enjoying cool breezes and alohas from friendly locals.
From Makawao, we’ll make the quick drive down to Maui’s north shore gem, Paia Town. An old plantation town with a rich history, Paia was once a bustling hub of commerce, as well as entertainment for plantation workers and military members stationed here during WWII.
By the 1970’s, however, much of this had changed, and Paia became a favorite for Maui’s surfer and hippie population, and has pretty much stayed the same since. We recommend grabbing a delicious breakfast at one of the town’s most popular places, including Paia Bay Coffee, Cafe des Amis, and Cafe Mambo, among others, or taking time to tour the many local shops and art galleries.
Finally, you’ll head back to the mean green town of Haiku, where you’re free to pick up your vehicle and explore more of the area, including nearby stops like Twin Falls and Ho’okipa Beach Park.
As you can see, even one day on Haleakala offers the perfect way to see a large portion of the island. From both above and below Maui’s cloud line, we guarantee you’ll love this adventure as much as we do!
Photography courtesy of Maui Photographers Organization.