Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ba-Boom: Maui's Big Volcano is Still Active

Maui volcano Haleakala

Haleakala (House of the Sun) hasn't passed gas since 1790, but volcanologists consider it "active," meaning a new eruption would not be a shocker. For now the crater (technically it's an eroded valley) at the summit is part of a national park open to hikers. The mini-crater shown above, called a pu'u (poo-ew), is one of many in the interior.

Maui volcano hiking

The Sliding Sands Trail is the main route down. The options are enticing, but remember, you'll have to hump it back out and the lack of oxygen at 10,000 feet makes that difficult.

Haleakala sunset view Maui

Clouds come and go. If you get socked in, wait awhile and you might get lucky.

summit view Haleakala Maui Trailblazer

The views seaward from the summit are astounding. On some days, Haleakala pokes well above a marine layer of clouds.

Haleakala summit Maui

Red Hill Summit is the tippy top. Seeing the sunrise from the visitors center has become so popular that reservations are now required. Don't fret: Sunset is just as good, maybe better, since you don't need to drive up in the dark into uncertain weather and freeze your nose off. 

Haleakala Highway Maui Trailblazer

For years, the downhill ride from the summit was a  tourist excursion. Nowadays, the tours begin well down from the top. Don't fret II: If you want a unique experience, rent a mountain bike and take the Skyline Trail down from the top to Polipoli State Park. The dirt road down is free of vehicles. Maui Trailblazer has the details on this little know route, as well as other tips on how to enjoy a visit to Haleakala National Park.