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),[1] of which 24,719 acres (38.6 sq mi; 100.0 km2) is a wilderness area.[3] The land was designated a national park in 1976 and its boundaries expanded in 2005.[4]

Haleakalā National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Haleakalā 2017(3)
Map showing the location of Haleakalā National Park
Map showing the location of Haleakalā National Park
Location within Hawaii
LocationMaui County, Hawaii, United States
Nearest cityPukalani
Coordinates20°43′0″N 156°10′0″W / 20.71667°N 156.16667°WCoordinates: 20°43′0″N 156°10′0″W / 20.71667°N 156.16667°W
Area33,265 acres (134.62 km2)[1]
EstablishedJuly 1, 1961
Visitors1,044,084 (in 2018)[2]
Governing bodyNational Park Service


Haleakalā was originally part of Hawaii National Park along with the volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea on the island of Hawaiʻi, created in 1916. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was made into a separate national park in 1961. The park area was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980.[5] The name Haleakalā is Hawaiian for "house of the sun." According to a local legend, the demigod Maui imprisoned the sun here in order to lengthen the day.[6] The Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000 was proposed to observe the Hawaiian spelling, but it did not become law.[7]

The park features the dormant Haleakalā (East Maui) Volcano, which last erupted sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD.[8] The park is divided into two distinct sections: the summit area and the coastal Kipahulu area.


Maui moku map 2
Location of Haleakalā National Park in the southeastern part of Maui Island
Haleakala National Park map 2008.08
Detail map of Haleakalā National Park

An extremely winding but well maintained road leads up the mountain. The summit area includes Haleakalā Crater, the summit of the volcano, and the area surrounding the summit. This part of the park is accessed by Hawaii State Road 378. There is a visitor center, with parking and restrooms, near the summit. At the summit itself is another parking lot and a simple observatory without facilities.

Haleakalā 2017(9)
Visitor center view at 9,740 feet (2,970 m)

The main feature of this part of the park is Haleakalā Crater which, despite its name, is geologically an erosional valley). It is 6.99 miles (11.25 km) across, 2.0 mi (3.2 km) wide, and 2,600 ft (790 m) deep. The interior of the crater is dotted by numerous volcanic features, including large cinder cones. Two main trails lead into the crater from the summit area: the Halemau'u and Sliding Sands trails. Hikers in the crater can stay in one of three cabins.

Visitors frequently come to the summit of the volcano to watch the sunrise and/or sunset. One attraction of the park is Hosmer's Grove, a unique forest of trees including deodar (Cedrus deodara) from the Himalayas, sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) from Japan, eucalyptus from Australia, and several species from North America (pine, spruce, cypress, fir, and others). Native plants and trees are also present in the forest but are not common due to the little light available (because of the taller alien trees).

The park is known for its volcanic features, its long scenic drive with numerous overlooks, and the unusually clear views of the night sky available. Haleakalā is one of the best places in the United States for amateur astronomy, and binoculars and telescopes are available for rent from many local merchants. Nēnē (Hawaiian geese, Branta sandvicensis) can also be seen in their natural habitat in Haleakalā Crater. Although nēnē died out entirely in the park, in 1946 they were re-introduced with the help of the Boy Scouts, who carried young birds into the crater in their backpacks.[9]


Kipahulu coast
Kipahulu region, Haleakalā National Park

The second section of the park is the Kipahulu section. Visitors cannot drive directly to this section from the summit area; they must take a winding coastal road that travels around the windward coast of the island. This part of the park lies within the lower part of Kipahulu Valley. It is separated from the summit area of the park by the upper portion of the valley. This area is designated the Kipahulu Valley Biological Reserve and is closed to the public to preserve the native plant and animal species in this fragile rainforest.

This section of the park features more than two dozen pools along Palikea Stream in the gulch called ʻOheʻo. These pools contain rare native freshwater fish. Visitors may choose to swim in these pools, or they may choose to hike a trail that takes visitors up to the base of Waimoku Falls.

Flora and fauna

More endangered species live in Haleakalā National Park than any other national park in the United States.[10] Once traveling to this part of the island became more frequent, native species were destroyed. One example is the ʻāhinahina (Haleakalā silversword, Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum), which formerly covered Haleakala Mountain to a degree where the mountain looked as if it were covered with snow.[11] Other endangered species include the endangered Haleakalā schiedea (Schiedea haleakalensis).[12]

The park is home to many tardigrade species surviving in the extreme environment near the mountain summit. In the 1980s, local biologist Sam Gon III discovered 31 tardigrade species here and described Haleakalā as the "richest place on Earth for tardigrades".[13]

Haleakala Observatory

Haleakala Observatory 2017
Haleakala Observatory viewed from the Haleakala visitor center

Haleakala Observatory is an observation site located near the visitor center. It lies above the tropical inversion layer and so experiences excellent viewing conditions and very clear skies. For over 40 years, the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy has managed this site, conducting dedicated astrophysical experiments. One of its missions, the Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS), tracks satellites and debris orbiting the Earth. The buildings are on a gated road just past the summit and are not within the park boundary.[14]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  2. ^ "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  3. ^ "The National Parks: Index 2009–2011". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  4. ^ "Wilderness Connect". wilderness.net. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
  5. ^ "Biosphere Reserve Information: United States of America: Hawaiian Islands". United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
  6. ^ Westervelt, WD (1910). "Legends of Maui: A Demi-God of Polynesia and His Mother Hina". sacred-texts.com. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  7. ^ Hawaiian National Park Language Correction Act of 2000 (S.939)
  8. ^ "Youngest lava flows on East Maui probably older than A.D. 1790". 1999-10-04. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  9. ^ Hurley, Timothy (2002-07-13). "Maui's Boy Scouts mark 40-year link to nene". Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  10. ^ "Issues". Friends of Haleakala National Park. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
  11. ^ "Silverswords of Hawaii". Hawaii Guide. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
  12. ^ Shiedea haleakalensis. The Nature Conservancy.
  13. ^ Wianecki, Shannon (2016-08-21). "Hawaii's mysterious water bears". BBC. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  14. ^ Maui Space Surveillance Site (MSSS)

External links

1955 Hawaiian submarine eruption

The 1955 Hawaiian submarine eruption was a submarine eruption that occurred 90 km (56 mi) northeast of Necker Island on August 20, 1955. Steaming water, water discoloration and an eruption column took place during the eruption. A possible pumice raft was also witnessed. The eruption originated about 4 km (2.5 mi) below sea level from an unnamed submarine volcano. The eruption produced a column of smoke several meters high. It is probably the westernmost historical eruption within the Hawaiian Islands. Another but less certain submarine eruption may have occurred 60 km (37 mi) northwest of Oahu on May 22, 1956.

Anoectochilus sandvicensis

Anoectochilus sandvicensis (also called Hawaii jewel-orchid) is a species of plant in the family Orchidaceae. It is endemic to Hawaii. It is threatened by habitat loss. It is found in the Haleakala National Park.

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").

Big Bog, Maui

The Big Bog on the island of Maui is the largest high-altitude bog in the Hawaiian Islands. It is on the border between Hāna Forest Reserve and Haleakalā National Park. It is alleged to be one of the wettest places on earth, with a reported annual rainfall of 404 inches (10,300 mm) for the period 1992-2018.

Clermontia samuelii

Clermontia samuelii is a rare species of flowering plant in the bellflower family known by the common name Hana clermontia. It is one of several Hawaiian lobelioids in genus Clermontia that are known as `oha wai. This plant is endemic to Maui, where there are fewer than 250 mature specimens remaining. This is a federally listed endangered species of the United States.This is a shrub which can reach five meters in height. It grows in wet Metrosideros forests. Some individuals are protected within Haleakalā National Park. Threats to the species include invasive plant species such as glory bush (Tibouchina herbacea) and Vaseygrass (Paspalum urvillei), and feral pigs, which inflict severe damage upon the ecosystem.

Crater Historic District

The Crater Historic District encompasses National Park Service structures within Haleakala National Park. The buildings include utility structures, employee housing, administration facilities and visitor services facilities. Most were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps to standard Park Service designs in the 1930s. A few World War II era buildings survive from U.S. Army construction, and are included in the historic district. The Crater Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1974.

The Park Service adapted its preferred National Park Service rustic style to the Hawaiian Islands, avoiding the heavy log construction characteristic of the western continental United States parks in favor of a frame-construction interpretation for most buildings. The House of the Sun Visitor Center stands as the closest example of the mainland style of rubble construction with heavy framing. Designed by Park Service architect Merel Sager, it is also one of the few buildings that were not built with CCC labor.

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.

Haleakala Trail

The Haleakalā Trail (also sometimes known as the Haleakala Bridle Trail) is the historic public access route to Haleakalā Crater and the summit of Haleakalā, which are now part of Haleakalā National Park.


Haleakalā (; 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.

Hawaii National Park

Hawaii National Park may refer to:

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, formerly part of Hawaii National Park

Haleakalā National Park, formerly part of Hawaii National Park

Hawaiian petrel

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

Kipahulu, Hawaii

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

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.

Pipiwai Trail

The Pipiwai Trail is a 4-mile (6.4 km) (round trip) hiking trail located on the island of Maui in the U.S. State of Hawaii. The hike leads up to the Makahiku Falls and Waimoku Falls. The trail is located in Haleakalā National Park and is generally well maintained. The trail runs around the Ohe'o Gulch Stream; notable locations passed include the bamboo forest and giant banyan tree.

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.

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