Trails in the Haleakala National Park
A network of trails leads through the Haleakala Wilderness Area. Some of them are sketched in the picture above. There are only few possibilites for day hikes. Overnight tours are interesting, but not easy to organize.
There are two trailheads, the Halemau'u Trailhead at Road 378, elevation 7990 ft (2436 m), and the Sliding Sands Trailhead near the summit. In order to protect the plants, it is forbidden to leave the trails.
It would be perfect to do a tour of several days using the cabins in the Haleakala National Park. The distance between the Sliding Sands Trailhead and Paliku Cabin is 9.8 miles. But to get a cabin, you have to apply for a lottery two months in advance. Cabins are given to one group of up to twelve members. So chances are bad, and if you are living in Europe, like I do, I would recommend to forget the cabins.
Camping in tents is allowed at Holua and Paliku Cabin. You could rent a tent, and permits are given on "first come, first serve" basis free of charge.
Obviously, the easiest way to see the Haleakal Wilderness is to do a day hike, for which you do not need any permit.
Sign at Sliding Sands Trailhead
The connection of Sliding Sands and Halemau'u Trailhead is a day hike with a distance of 11.2 miles and a walking time of 6 to 8 hours. In addition, you need a transport between the trailheads. It would be best to leave the car at Halemau'u Trailhead and hitchhike to the summit.
As we had two additional hours to drive to the trailhead and as sunset was at 6 p.m., this hike was too long for us.
The tour on the Sliding Sands Trail to Kalu'u O Ka O'o Crater is really great and does not take very long, and I would recommend that section of the trail.
We had planned a second hike from Halemau'u Trailhead into the valley, but because of bad weather at the Haleakala during the rest it of our stay, it did not make any sense.