Hiking: Halemau’u Trail in Maui

Today I hiked the Halemau’u trail in Maui. It starts just below the summit of the Haleakala volcano.

Here you can see me at 8,000 feet (Haleakala’s summit is at 10,023 feet). You can see the clouds below me. This picture is facing north.

There is a good, developed parking lot at the trailhead. Trisha dropped me off at about 8:30am and I was due back by 1:00pm.

This is the start of the trail. It looks pretty benign here, but it’s a very rocky trail. You should wear good hiking boots.

The views all around are of course spectacular. The clouds are way below me. In the distance on the left of the image, the dark area below the clouds, is the Pacific.

The trail is very rocky. This is just one section as an example. It happens to be at a ridge with drops of hundreds of feet on both sides.

The switchbacks down to the crater floor are epic. This picture does not do them justice.

Here is another picture of some of the switchbacks below me. The green area on the right bottom of the image is where I am going.

Finally I reached the crater floor. The end (and turn-around point) of the Halemau’u trail is another mile from here. However, it took me one hour and 45 minutes to get here, and I ran out of time to complete the trail to the turn-around point. Trisha was expecting me at the parking lot at 1:00pm, and with no cell phone reception, I was not able to let her know I’d be late. So I turned around at this spot. I was 2.8 miles and 1,300 vertical feet down, and the hike was downhill all the way. Now the real hike started, going back up the mountain.

This is looking up where I came from, just the first section of it. It took me another one hour and 45 minutes to get back up. I brought two and a half liters of water, but only used about one. It was very windy, as it always is on this mountain, and the temperature ranged from 50 to 66 degrees F.

Bring good boots, bring lots of water, and wear sunscreen. It’s a great hike and I’ll do it again.



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