Not only is Hawaii famous for it’s beautiful beaches, it’s also well known for it’s volcanoes. Oahu is home to Diamond Head, a volcanic cone, the Big Island is famous for Volcanoes National Park which contains Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive volcano, while Maui is home to Haleakala, an enormous shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the island.
Rising more than 10,000 feet from the sea, Haleakala is the world’s largest dormant volcano. Haleakala meaning “House of the Sun” is Maui’s most popular attraction and for good reason; it offers magnificent views of Maui, the West Maui Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The crater is so large that it could hold all of Manhattan! Needless to say we were not going to pass up a chance to peer into it’s enormous crater! Most visitors are drawn to the crater’s summit to watch the sunrise over Haleakala, which is truly a breathtaking sight. The sky turns a combination of firery reds and oranges mixed with beautiful pinks, purples and blues. It’s said that sunrises are like fingerprints, no two are alike. We didn’t really feel like waking up at 2am and driving for 3 hours to the summit in the dark, instead we decided to do the trip during the day so that we could get a great view of the crater. The drive to the summit was an experience in itself; Haleakala Crater Road is one of the fastest-ascending roads in the world! The road has more than 30 swtichbacks, passes through numerous climate zones and goes in and out of the clouds. It takes you past rare silversword plants, endangered Hawaiian geese sailing through the thin air and offers views that extend for more than 100 miles! You can even see across the Alenuihaha Channel to the often-snowcapped summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island!
I tried really hard to pick only my favorite pictures, but there are still so many!
Driving up the longest hill…ever
Already 1500 feet higher than our helicopter tour
Rainbow eucalyptus trees
Lookout on the slopes of Haleakala – Kihei and Wailea are to the bottom left, the city of Kahului is to the right and directly ahead are the West Maui Mountains.
Driving into the clouds
Inside the clouds
Coming out of them
Pines at Hosmer Grove – elevation 7,000 feet
Just above the cloud belt
Feeling as though we’re never going to get to the top
On the edge of the world!
Ever changing vegetation
Road to nowhere
Finally near the summit! Our first glimpse of the Haleakala Observatories
You can see the Puu Ulaula Overlook on top of Red Hill on the left – this is the volcano’s highest point
On top of the world! Amazing view from Red Hill
First glimpse of the crater and the hubs taking some video
A rare silversword – they grow only in Hawaii and take 4-50 years to bloom!
Looking across the Alenuihaha Channel to the Big Island – you can see the peaks of Mauna Kea (on the left) and Mauna Loa (in the center of the picture) if you look closely!
The windchill made it so cold, but we toughed it out in our shorts
What I consider to be Mars on Earth!
Please note: If you’d like to share any of my photos please let me know!
If you’ve missed any of my previous posts about Maui, you can see them here.