Haleakalā (/ˌhɑːliˌɑːkəˈlɑː/; Hawaiian: [ˈhɐlɛˈjɐkəˈlaː]), or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the Hawaiian Island of Maui. The western 25% of the island is formed by another volcano, Mauna Kahalawai, also referred to as the West Maui Mountains.

The tallest peak of Haleakalā ("house of the sun"), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). From the summit one looks down into a massive depression some 11.25 km (7 mi) across, 3.2 km (2 mi) wide, and nearly 800 m (2,600 ft) deep. The surrounding walls are steep and the interior mostly barren-looking with a scattering of volcanic cones.

East Maui Volcano
Haleakala crater (1)
Haleakalā crater
Highest point
Elevation10,023 ft (3,055 m)
Prominence10,023 ft (3,055 m)
Isolation123 kilometers (76 mi)
Coordinates20°42′35″N 156°15′12″W / 20.70972°N 156.25333°WCoordinates: 20°42′35″N 156°15′12″W / 20.70972°N 156.25333°W
Haleakalā is located in Hawaii
LocationMaui, Hawaii, U.S.
Parent rangeHawaiian Islands
Topo mapUSGS Kilohana (HI)
Age of rock<1.0 Ma, Pleistocene epoch
Mountain typeShield volcano
Volcanic arc/beltHawaiian-Emperor seamount chain
Last eruptionbetween 1480 and 1600[1]
Easiest routepaved highway
Taking it all in (6881870120)
Sunrise at Haleakalā


Early Hawaiians applied the name Haleakalā ("house of the sun") to the general mountain. Haleakalā is also the name of a peak on the southwestern edge of Kaupō Gap. In Hawaiian folklore, the depression (crater) at the summit of Haleakalā was home to the grandmother of the demigod Māui. According to the legend, Māui's grandmother helped him capture the sun and force it to slow its journey across the sky in order to lengthen the day.


According to the United States Geological Survey USGS Volcano Warning Scheme for the United States, the Volcano Alert Level for Haleakala as of August 2015 was "normal".[2] A Normal status is used to designate typical volcanic activity in a non-eruptive phase. Haleakala has produced numerous eruptions in the last 30,000 years, including in the last 500 years. This volcanic activity has been along two rift zones: the southwest and east. These two rift zones together form an arc that extends from La Perouse Bay on the southwest, through the Haleakalā Crater, and to Hāna to the east. The east rift zone continues under the ocean beyond the east coast of Maui as Haleakalā Ridge, making the combined rift zones one of the longest in the Hawaiian Islands chain.[3]

Until recently, East Maui Volcano was thought to have last erupted around 1790, based largely on comparisons of maps made during the voyages of La Perouse and George Vancouver. Recent advanced dating tests, however, have shown that the last eruption was more likely to have been in the 17th century.[4] These last flows from the southwest rift zone of Haleakalā make up the large lava deposits of the Ahihi Kina`u/La Perouse Bay area of South Maui.

Contrary to popular belief, Haleakalā crater is not volcanic in origin, nor can it accurately be called a caldera (which is formed when the summit of a volcano collapses to form a depression). Scientists believe that Haleakalā's crater was formed when the headwalls of two large erosional valleys merged at the summit of the volcano. These valleys formed the two large gaps — Koʻolau on the north side and Kaupō on the south — on either side of the depression.

Macdonald, Abbott, & Peterson state it this way:

Haleakalā is far smaller than many volcanic craters (calderas); there is an excellent chance that it is not extinct, but only dormant; and strictly speaking it is not of volcanic origin, beyond the fact that it exists in a volcanic mountain.[5]

Haleakalā as seen from Big Island, Hawaii
Haleakala as seen looking northwest from Big Island, Hawaii, near Kawaihae, 85 kilometers (53 mi) away

Volcanic hazard

Maui lava hazard map
Lava Flow Hazard map of Haleakala. The Maui Hazard Zone numbers are two less than the equivalent Hawaiʻi Hazard Zone numbers.[6]

On the island of Hawaiʻi, lava-flow hazards are rated on a scale of one through nine with one being the zone of highest hazard and nine being the zone of lowest hazard. For example, the summits and rift zones of Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes are rated Hazard Zone 1.[7]

Using this same scale, preliminary estimates of lava-flow hazard zones on Maui made in 1983 by the U.S. Geological Survey rated the summit and southwest rift zone of Haleakala as Hazard Zone 3. The steep, downslope areas of the Kanaio and Kahikinui ahupuaʻa and the area north of Hana are rated as Hazard Zone 4. Other areas of Haleakala are rated comparable to the lava-flow hazards of Mauna Kea and Kohala (Hazard Zones 7 through 9).[6][7]

These high hazard estimates for Haleakala are based on the frequency of its eruptions. Haleakala has erupted three times in approximately the last 900 years. By way of comparison, both Mauna Loa and Kilauea have erupted more than a dozen times each in the last 90 years. Hualalai has an eruption rate comparable to Haleakala. All of Hualalai is rated as Hazard Zone 4. However, the frequency of eruption of a volcano is only one of the criteria on which hazards are based. The other important criterion is the lava flow coverage rate. Using the preliminary dates for Haleakala flows, only 8.7 square miles (23 km2) of lava flows have been emplaced in the last 900 years. In comparison, approximately 43 square miles (110 km2) of Hualalai are covered with flows 900 years old or younger and approximately 104 square miles (270 km2) on Kilauea and 85 square miles (220 km2) on Mauna Loa are covered by lavas less than 200 years old. Thus, Haleakala is a distant fourth in coverage rates.[7]

Modern uses

National Park

This rare species of Silversword is fragile and lives only upon the slopes of Haleakalā.

Surrounding and including the crater is Haleakalā National Park, a 30,183-acre (122.15 km2) park, of which 24,719 acres (100.03 km2) are wilderness.[8] The park includes the summit depression, Kipahulu Valley on the southeast, and ʻOheʻo Gulch (and pools), extending to the shoreline in the Kipahulu area. From the summit, there are two main trails leading into Haleakalā: Sliding Sands Trail and Halemauʻu Trail.

The temperature near the summit tends to vary between about 40 °F (5 °C) and 60 °F (16 °C) and, especially given the thin air and the possibility of dehydration at that elevation, the walking trails can be more challenging than one might expect. This is aggravated by the fact that trails lead downhill from parking areas into the crater. Because of this, hikers are faced with a difficult return ascent after potentially descending 2000 ft or more to the crater floor. Despite this, Haleakalā is popular with tourists and locals alike, who often venture to its summit, or to the visitor center just below the summit, to view the sunrise. There is lodging in the form of a few simple cabins, though no food or gas is available in the park.[9]

Astrophysical research

Haleakala telescopes
The Space Surveillance Systems

Because of the remarkable clarity, dryness, and stillness of the air, and its elevation (with atmospheric pressure of 71 kilopascals (530 mmHg)[10]), as well as the absence of the lights of major cities, the summit of Haleakalā is one of the most sought-after locations in the world for ground-based telescopes (though to a lesser extent than Mauna Kea on neighboring Hawaii). As a result of the geographic importance of this observational platform, experts come from all over the world to take part in research at "Science City", an astrophysical complex operated by the U.S. Department of Defense, University of Hawaii, Smithsonian Institution, Air Force, Federal Aviation Administration, and others.

Some of the telescopes operated by the US Department of Defense are involved in researching man-made (e.g. spacecraft, monitoring satellites, rockets, and laser technology) rather than celestial objects. The program is in collaboration with defense contractors in the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei. The astronomers on Haleakalā are concerned about increasing light pollution as Maui's population grows. Nevertheless, new telescopes are added, such as the Pan-STARRS in 2006.[11][12]



A well traveled Haleakalā Highway, completed in 1935, is a road mainly composed of switchbacks that leads to the peak of Haleakala.[13] The road is open to the public (although parts of it are restricted) and is a well-maintained two-lane highway containing many blind turns and very steep dropoffs. Local animals, including cattle, are often encountered in the roadway. The Park Service charges a vehicle entrance fee of $25 (US). Public transportation does not go through the park, but there are four vehicle based tour companies (Polynesian Adventure Tours, Skyline Eco Adventures, Haleakala EcoTours, and Valley Isle Excursions) that operate tours of the park and trips to the summit.[14]

There are three Sunset and Stargazing tours permitted within Haleakala National Park. Arrive for sunset and stay to look through a telescope after dark. Cycling and horseback riding are other popular ways to explore the park. There are a few tour guides on Maui that pick people up at their hotels, and outfit them with a bicycle to glide down the road from just outside the National Park boundary (starting at 6500 ft altitude). Tour operators used to run bike rides down the entire 27 miles from the summit, but in 2007 the National Park Service suspended all commercial bicycle activity within the park boundaries, following multiple fatal accidents.[15] Some tour operators now offer a modified version of the service which descends 6,500 feet from outside of the National Park.[16]


Haleakalā's summit experiences a cold-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen classification Csc), one of the few locations in the world with this climate type. The Haleakalā Ranger station, at a lower elevation, lies in the subtropical highland climate zone.

See also


  1. ^ HVO, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. "East Maui volcano (Haleakala), Hawai'i". usgs.gov.
  2. ^ USGS. "Current Alerts for U.S. Volcanoes". usgs.gov.
  3. ^ In its prime, Haleakala may have reached a height of 12,000 feet before water and wind erosion, and possibly glaciers, began to carve two large river valleys out of the rim. Eventually, these valleys formed gaps that merged at the volcano summit to create a crater-like basin.
  4. ^ "Youngest lava flows on East Maui probably older than A.D. 1790". United States Geological Survey. September 9, 1999. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
  5. ^ Macdonald, Abbott, & Peterson p. 391
  6. ^ a b "How do Maui lava-flow hazard zone numbers compare to those on Hawaii island?". Lava-Flow Hazard Zones, Island of Hawai'i, Frequently Asked Questions. USGS.
  7. ^ a b c  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document: "Geologic hazards on Maui". 1996-11-27.
  8. ^ "Park Management". Haleakalā National Park. National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-10-26.
  9. ^ Decker, Robert; Decker, Barbara (2001). Volcanoes In America's National Parks. New York: WW Norton & Company Inc. p. 133. ISBN 978-962-217-677-5.
  10. ^ "Altitude Calculator".
  11. ^ "Watching and waiting". The Economist. 2008-12-04. Retrieved 2008-12-06. From the print edition
  12. ^ Robert Lemos (2008-11-24). "Giant Camera Tracks Asteroids". Technology Review (MIT). Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  13. ^ Duensing, Dawn E. (2009). "Haleakalā Highway". Journal of Pacific History. 44 (3): 303–324. doi:10.1080/00223340903356864.
  14. ^ Colleen Uechi. "Staff Writer". The Maui News. The Nutting Company. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  15. ^ "National Park Service suspends popular Hawaii bike tour". Associated Press. 2007-10-10.
  16. ^ "Haleakala Bike Company".
  17. ^ "Data Tools: 1981-2010 Normals". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Haleakala Summit 338, Hawaii (511008)". Western Regional Climate Center. Retrieved 3 Nov 2016.


  • "Official Website". Haleakalā National Park. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  • Macdonald, Gordon A.; Abbott, Agatin T.; Peterson, Frank L. (1983). Volcanoes in the Sea. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

External links


Argyroxiphium is a small genus of plants in the sunflower family, Asteraceae. Its members are known by the common names of silversword or greensword due to their long, narrow leaves and the silvery hairs on some species. It belongs to a larger radiation of over 50 species, including the physically different genera Dubautia and Wilkesia. This grouping is often referred to as the silversword alliance.

Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum

Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum, the east Maui silversword or Haleakala silversword, is a rare plant, part of the daisy family Asteraceae. The silversword in general is referred to as ʻāhinahina in Hawaiian (literally, "very gray").

C/2011 L4

C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS) is a non-periodic comet discovered in June 2011 that became visible to the naked eye when it was near perihelion in March 2013. It was discovered using the Pan-STARRS telescope located near the summit of Haleakalā, on the island of Maui in Hawaii. Comet C/2011 L4 probably took millions of years to come from the Oort cloud. After leaving the planetary region of the Solar System, the post-perihelion orbital period (epoch 2050) is estimated to be roughly 106000 years. Dust and gas production suggests the comet nucleus is roughly 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) in diameter.

C/2012 K1

C/2012 K1 (PANSTARRS) is a retrograde Oort cloud comet discovered at magnitude 19.7, 8.7 AU from the Sun on 17 May 2012 using the Pan-STARRS telescope located near the summit of Haleakalā, on the island of Maui in Hawaii (U.S.).The comet started 2014 as a Northern Hemisphere object. By late April 2014 it had brightened to roughly apparent magnitude ~8.8 making it a small telescope/binoculars target for experienced observers. In June and July 2014 the comet was near the Sickle of Leo. As of 3 July 2014 the comet had brightened to magnitude 7.9.From 12 July 2014 until 6 September 2014 it had an elongation less than 30 degrees from the Sun. The comet came to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 27 August 2014 at a distance of 1.05 AU (157,000,000 km; 98,000,000 mi) from the Sun. It crosses the celestial equator on 15 September 2014 becoming a Southern Hemisphere object.The comet peaked around magnitude 6.9 in mid-October 2014 when it had an elongation of around 75 degrees from the Sun. It is visible in binoculars and small telescopes.

Geranium multiflorum

Geranium multiflorum is a rare species of geranium known by the common names manyflower geranium, or manyflowered cranesbill. It is endemic to Hawaii, where it is known only from Haleakalā, the main volcano on the island of Maui. It was federally listed as an endangered species in 1992. Like other Hawaiian geraniums, this plant is known as hinahina and nohoanu.This plant is a shrub usually growing one or two meters tall but known to reach three. The flowers may be purple, pink, or white with purple veining and purple centers. The plant grows in forest and grassland habitat on the upper slopes of Haleakalā, in a subalpine climate. There are probably no more than 3000 individuals left.The main threat to this species is the degradation of its habitat by feral pigs, feral goats, and non-native plant species invading the area.

Haleakala Observatory

The Haleakalā Observatory, also known as the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory Site, is Hawaii's first astronomical research observatory. It is located on the island of Maui and is owned by the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawai'i, which operates some of the facilities on the site and leases portions to other organizations. Tenants include the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGTN). At over 3,050 meters (10,010 ft) in altitude, the summit of Haleakalā is above one third of the Earths's troposphere and has excellent astronomical seeing conditions.

Haleakalā National Park

Haleakalā National Park is an American national park located on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. Named after Haleakalā, a dormant volcano within its boundaries, the park covers an area of 33,265 acres (52.0 sq mi; 134.6 km2), of which 24,719 acres (38.6 sq mi; 100.0 km2) is a wilderness area. The land was designated a national park in 1976 and its boundaries expanded in 2005.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is a volcano observatory located at Uwekahuna Bluff on the rim of Kīlauea Caldera on the Island of Hawaiʻi. The observatory monitored four active Hawaiian volcanoes: Kīlauea, Mauna Loa, Hualālai, and Haleakalā. Because Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are significantly more active than Hualālai and Haleakalā, much of the observatory's research is concentrated on the former two mountains.

The observatory has a worldwide reputation as a leader in the study of active volcanism. Due to the relatively non-explosive nature of Hawaiian volcanic eruptions for many years, scientists could study ongoing eruptions in proximity without being in extreme danger. Located at the main site was the public Thomas A. Jaggar Museum.

In May 2018 the facility was closed and the property evacuated due to collapse explosions at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater and earthquakes related to the 2018 lower Puna eruption that also led to the closure of the Kīlauea unit of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. While portions of the park were reopened in September, it is unclear when the Observatory and Museum will be able to reopen as well.

Hawaiian petrel

The Hawaiian petrel or ʻuaʻu (Pterodroma sandwichensis) is a large, dark grey-brown and white petrel that is endemic to Hawaiʻi.

Hyposmocoma ludificata

Hyposmocoma ludificata is a species of moth of the family Cosmopterigidae. It was first described by Lord Walsingham in 1907. It is endemic to the Hawaiian island of Maui. The type locality is Haleakalā, where it was collected at an altitude of 5,000 feet (1,500 m).

Hyposmocoma numida

Hyposmocoma numida is a species of moth of the family Cosmopterigidae. It was first described by Lord Walsingham in 1907. It is endemic to the Hawaiian island of Maui. The type locality is Haleakalā, where it was collected at an elevation of 4,000 feet (1,200 m).

Kipahulu, Hawaii

Kīpahulu is an unincorporated community in the Hāna district of southeastern Maui, Hawaiʻi.

List of mountain peaks of Hawaii

This article comprises three sortable tables of the 13 major mountain peaks of the Hawaiian Islands and the U.S. State of Hawaiʻi. Each of these 13 major summits has at least 500 meters (1640 feet) of topographic prominence.

The summit of a mountain or hill may be measured in three principal ways:

The topographic elevation of a summit measures the height of the summit above a geodetic sea level. The first table below ranks the 13 major summits of Hawaiʻi by topographic elevation.

The topographic prominence of a summit is a measure of how high the summit rises above its surroundings. The second table below ranks the 13 major summits of Hawaiʻi by topographic prominence.

The topographic isolation (or radius of dominance) of a summit measures how far the summit lies from its nearest point of equal elevation. The third table below ranks the 13 major summits of Hawaiʻi by topographic isolation.

Makahiku Falls

Makahiku Falls is a 200-foot (61m) horsetail waterfall in Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui in Hawaii. It runs on the Ohe'o Gulch stream. The falls is accessed by the Pipiwai Trail.


The island of Maui (; Hawaiian: [ˈmɐwwi]) is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles (1,883 km2) and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the State of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, which include Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and unpopulated Kahoʻolawe. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444, third-highest of the Hawaiian Islands, behind that of Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island. Kahului is the largest census-designated place (CDP) on the island with a population of 26,337 as of 2010 and is the commercial and financial hub of the island. Wailuku is the seat of Maui County and is the third-largest CDP as of 2010. Other significant places include Kīhei (including Wailea and Makena in the Kihei Town CDP, the island's second-most-populated CDP), Lahaina (including Kāʻanapali and Kapalua in the Lahaina Town CDP), Makawao, Pukalani, Pāʻia, Kula, Haʻikū, and Hāna.

Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area

The Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area is a state park of Hawaiʻi in the United States. It is on the island of Maui about ten miles from Kula up the slope of Haleakalā.

It covers about 10 acres of the 21,000-acre (85 km2) Kula Forest Reserve. Located at about 6,200 feet (1,900 m) above sea level, it extends through the fog belt of the mountain forests. The high-elevation climate can be cold, with nighttime temperatures below freezing. The terrain is rough and use of a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.

There are four main trails. The Haleakalā Ridge Trail enters the recreation area. It features scrub, grassland, and forest habitat with cinder substrates. The adjacent Plum Trail is planted with plum and other trees. The Polipoli Trail, which starts within the recreation area, features various conifers. The Redwood Trail is used for mountain biking. Visitors can view redwoods and an old ranger's cabin.The area was originally covered in dense forests of koa (Acacia koa), māmane (Sophora chrysophylla), and ʻōhiʻa lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha). When the park was established, it was devoid of trees and was subsequently reforested in the 1930s with pines, eucalyptus, tropical ash, cypress, China-fir, and coast redwood.

Activities in the park include off-roading, hiking, and hunting for wild boar and feral goats.

Rubus hawaiensis

Rubus hawaiensis, also called the ʻĀkala, is one of two species (with R. macraei) commonly known as Hawaiian raspberry, endemic to Hawaii. It is found on the islands of Kauaʻi, Molokaʻi, Maui, O'ahu, and Hawaiʻi in mesic to wet forest at elevations of 600–3,070 m (1,970–10,070 ft). In most areas it is not very common, but in some places (such as the upper Koʻolau Gap in Haleakalā and Laupāhoehoe Natural Area Reserve) it can be a dominant member of the understory vegetation. Although superficially similar to the other Hawaiian species, Rubus macraei, the two are believed to be derived from separate dispersals to Hawaii.Rubus hawaiensis is a deciduous shrub, typically growing as a clump of erect or (when longer) arching canes, 1.5–3 m (4.9–9.8 ft) long. The leaves are compound, with three leaflets. The fruit is red, large (up to 4 cm or 1.6 in long and 2.5 cm or 0.98 in wide), and edible but not often eaten, as it is sour and somewhat bitter.

Although frequently described as prickle-free ("thornless"), and often used as an example of loss of defenses in island plants, most plants do have thin prickles at least when small. As the cane grows the outer layer of bark usually sheds, taking the prickles with it. Interest in breeding "thornless" varieties of edible raspberries (possibly even with distantly related species since most Rubus readily hybridize) has led to the introduction of several species of continental Rubus species which have since escaped cultivation and become serious pests. These include the yellow Himalayan raspberry, Rubus ellipticus, and the Florida prickly blackberry, R. penetrans (R. argutus).

The presence of invasive alien Rubus species along with two native species has led to a debate on biological control. Specifically, whether an agent that might be able to control the alien species should be released even if it may have serious impacts on the native species, if the latter are not part of a major evolutionary diversification and not a major part of most ecosystems. Some would argue that it is worth sacrificing a small component in order to save the whole ecosystem, while others say that humans should not be multiplying the damage they have already caused by introducing the aliens.

Schiedea haleakalensis

Schiedea haleakalensis is a rare species of flowering plant in the pink family known by the common name Haleakalā schiedea. It is endemic to Hawaii, where it is known only from Haleakalā National Park on the island of Maui. It is threatened by the degradation of its habitat. It was federally listed as an endangered species of the United States in 1992.This plant is a shrub growing up 30 to 60 centimeters tall. The leaves have narrow blades measuring up to 8 centimeters long but just a few millimeters in width. The inflorescence is a cluster of flowers with tiny green sepals and no petals.This shrub is known from two locations in Haleakalā National Park; it is named for the volcano Haleakalā. It has been threatened by the presence of feral goats in its habitat, but most of these have been excluded.

Wikstroemia villosa

Wikstroemia villosa, the hairy wikstroemia or hairy false ohelo, is a tropical species of plant in the Thymelaeaceae family.

Climate data for Haleakala Ranger Station 6962ft / 2122m asl. (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 60.6
Average low °F (°C) 43.4
Average rainfall inches (mm) 5.99
Source: NOAA[17]
Climate data for Haleakala Summit 338 (1971–2000 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 45.2
Average low °F (°C) 33.6
Average rainfall inches (mm) 8.0
Source: Western Regional Climate Center[18]
 State of Hawaii
Main islands
Sovereignty Movement
Notable eruptions
and vents


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.