There are so many different kinds of terrain on our beautiful island of Maui, so many kinds of adventures to choose from and ways to explore your destination of choice. When considering the special places that you might explore while visiting Maui, there are a few places that are must-sees. We have included our top 3 and a bunch of beneficial links for planning your days on Maui.
The state park is located on 6.2 acres (2.5 ha) at the end of ʻĪao Valley Road (Highway 32). The ʻĪao Needle (Kūkaemoku) is a famous landmark in the state park, a vegetation-covered lava remnant rising 1,200 feet (370 m) from the valley floor or 2,250 feet (690 m) when measured from sea level. The "needle" itself is an illusion, and is in reality a sharp ridge that gives the appearance of being a spire when viewed end-on.The needle is an extension of and surrounded by the cliffs of the West Maui Mountains, an extinct volcano. One can take a short trail (ʻĪao Needle Lookout Trail and Ethno-Botanical Loop) to a windy overlook. Park hours are from 7 am to 7 pm. Here is a look: http://www.vthawaii.com/MAUI/2007/IaoValley.html
The summit area includes Heleakalā Crater, the summit of the volcano, and the area surrounding the summit. This part of the park is accessed by Hawaii state road 378.
The main feature of this part of the park is undoubtedly the famous Haleakalā Crater. It is huge: 6.99 miles (11.25 km) across, 2.0 mi (3.2 km) wide, and some 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 (which need to be reserved through the park first).
Each morning, visitors come to the summit of the volcano to watch the spectacular sunrise. More visitors come each afternoon to watch the equally amazing sunset. One attraction of the park is Hosmer's Grove, a unique forest of alien trees including deodar from the Himalayas, sugi pines from Japan, euca;yptus from Australia, and several species from North America such as pine, spruce, cypress, and others. Native plants and trees are also present in the forest but are not very common due to the little light available (because of the taller alien trees).
The park is known for its unique 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 amatuer astronomy. Nēnē can also be seen in their natural habitat in Haleakalā Crater. Click here to link to the national park website. This is a seperate link for a virtual view of the summit: http://www.vthawaii.com/MAUI/2007/Haleakala.html
The Hāna Highway is a 68-mile (109 km) long stretch of Hawaii State Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului with the town of Hana in east Maui. On the east after Kalepa bridge, Hana Highway continues to Kipahulu as Route 31 (Piilani Highway), the first section of which is unofficially considered to be part of Hāna Highway. Although Hāna is only about 52 miles (84 km) from Kahului, it takes about 2.5 to 4 hours to drive depending on how many stops are made as the highway is very winding and narrow and passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves along Route 360 from just east of Kahului to Hāna, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforests, and jungle.
Here are a few virtual views of Hana style scenery.
1: Twin Falls-http://www.vthawaii.com/MAUI/QTVR/TwinFalls3.htm
2:Hana road: http://www.vthawaii.com/MAUI/QTVR/H
3:Keanae Penninsula: http://www.vthawaii.com/MAUI/QTVR/HanaRoad4.htm
Best Maui Adventure Planning links:
360 degree camera views on Virtual Hawaii website: http://www.vthawaii.com/
Virtual views of Maui: http://www.vthawaii.com/index_maui.html
Best Maui weather site: http://www.hawaiiweathertoday.com/glenns-daily-weather-narrative/
Maui Web Cams:
West Maui: Kaanapali Beach Cam, Sheraton
South Maui: Charley Young Beach Cam
North Maui: Paia Bay
Upcountry sunset view: Bluesmith's Kula