Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park, 29,824 acres (12,074 hectares), on Maui island, Hawaii. Haleakala volcano, 10,023 ft (3,055 m) high, has been dormant since the mid-1700s. Its crater, 2,720 ft (829 m) deep with an area of 19 sq mi (49 sq km), is one of the largest in the world. Rare silversword plants and many native and migratory birds are found in the park. Originally part of Hawaii National Park (est. 1916), it gained separate park status in 1960. See National Parks and Monuments (table).
Haleakalā National Park is a United States national park located on the island of Maui in the state of Hawaii. The park covers 45.5 mi² (118 km²), of which 38.6 mi² (100 km²) is a wilderness area.


It was originally made part of the Hawaii National Park along with the volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Kilauea on Hawaii Island in 1916, but was made into a separate national park in 1961. The park area was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980. The name Haleakala 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.

The park features the dormant Haleakalā (East Maui) Volcano, which last erupted at around 1790. The park is divided into two distinct sections: the summit area and the coastal Kipahulu area.

The two sections of the park averages 1,450,000 visitors per year.


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.

The main feature of this part of the park is undoubtedly the famous Haleakalā Crater. It is huge: 11.25 km (7 mi) across, 3.2 km (2 mi) wide, and some 800 meters (2,600 feet) 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 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 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 amateur astronomy, and binoculars and telescopes are available for rent from many local merchants. The Hawaiian nene geese can also be seen in their natural habitat in Haleakala Crater. Although Nene 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.


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. (The road goes in a complete circle along the southern coast, but the area of it directly west of Kipahulu is closed due to recent landslides. Check the park's website below for updates.) 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 ecosystem.

This section of the park features more than two dozen pools along Palikea Stream in the gulch called 'Ohe'o. 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

Because it is on a volcanic area, all of the plants and animals that are now present on the island were brought through pioneers or naturally (two thousand miles through the air or sea). Once the organisms got there, they went under strange adaptations to make the species unique. This park has actually the highest number of endangered species (compared to what?). Once travelling to this part of the island became more frequent, native species were destroyed. One example is the silversword plant, which used to cover Haleakala Mountain to a degree where the mountain looked as if it were covered with snow.

See also

External links

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