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Halemau'u Trail - Haleakala Crater

A scenic route across the interior of Haleakala crater connecting Palikū and Holua campgrounds.

Hiking Moderate

10 km
349 m
181 m
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.3 km
Halemau'u Trail - Haleakala Crater Map

This 6-mile hiking trail connects the two most popular overnight destinations within the crater: Palikū and Holua campgrounds. As such, it's best hiked as part of a multi-day backpacking itinerary in combination with the Keonehe'ehe'e (Sliding Sands) Trail. However, portions of the trail can be connected to create a variety of day-hike loops that utilize the network of trails within the crater floor.


From Pakliū, the trail travels up and away from the verdant hillsides of Kaupo Gap towards the alpine desert of the crater valley. Within the first mile the trail crosses several patches of smooth, wave-like pahoehoe (pronounced ‘paw-hoey-hoey’) lava as it weaves through the subalpine shrubland. This provides a distinct contrast to the sharp, craggy A’a lava fields that otherwise the trail, particularly on the approach to Holua. The landscape becomes progressively more barren, with the surrounding grasses and shrubs eventually replaced by rock and sand above the tree-line.

Cinder cones rise up the crater floor in this otherworldly landscape. The vibrant colors of Pele's Paint Pot – a multi-hued cone of reds, ochers, and yellows – provide a scenic photo-op with the ridges of the summit present in the background. Kawilinau, or the 'Bottomless Pit', a fenced off volcanic pit 60-70 ft deep, delivers another natural wonder to explore. Endemic Haleakala silverswords can be found along the Silversword Loop, which splits from and then rejoins the main trail; both routes are the same length.

Despite the lack of trail blazes, the path is well defined, easy to follow, and major trail intersections are marked.

<a href="https://www.roadtripaddict.com/halemauu-trail-from-paliku-to-holua/">Full Trip Report</a>



Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Alpine
  • Picturesque