Visiting Maui, or just curious after seeing the peak in the distance for as long as you’ve lived on the island? The good news is yes, you can climb Mt. Haleakala, but there are a few things you should know before you try and make it to the top. Hiking any mountain requires a certain level of training and preparation, so do your research so you don’t end up having to turn back before you reach the top.
Mt. Haleakala’s Peak is Inside a National Park
One of the most obvious things to know about the mountain is that most of its upper elevation is protected by a National Park. This means there is a cost to enter, but it isn’t prohibitive for most casual hikers, cyclists, or tourists. If you do simply walk in or go in on a bicycle, you will pay about half of what is charged for a car. Rates change over time, so check with this page from the National Parks Service website to see what’s current: https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/fees.htm
Mt Haleakala’s Trail Climbs up Ten Thousand Feet
Unless you know you are starting your trek at sea level, you are probably not hiking the full 10,000 feet all at once. Still, that’s a big difference in elevation, even for many trail hikers. Most of the way up is paved, and vehicles and cyclists go up there all the time, but someone who has never acclimated to higher elevations should make a gradual approach and plan to take breaks to combat altitude sickness.
As you climb, cycle or drive, you will notice markers that tell you the elevation as you go. Most of Maui will be open to your view, at least until you get near the top and you enter the clouds.
Because the way up to the peak is so gradual, it is an easier way to summit a mountain than in many other parts of the United States, but it is still enough of a climb that non-hikers may be unable to make the trip. Try some of the other trails at more reasonable elevations before tackling the volcano if you aren’t sure you can handle it yet.
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