2 - 3
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The Sliding Sands Trail, officially named the Keonehe’ehe’e Trail, provides unparalleled access to and views of the otherworldly landscape of Haleakalā National Park’s volcanic crater in Maui.
This route forms the first leg of an overnight stay within the crater, either at one of the backcountry cabins or at a wilderness campsite, and can be combined with either the Halemau’u Trail or unmaintained Kaupo Gap Trail as part of a complete itinerary.
From the trailhead at the Haleakalā Summit Visitor Center, the trail descends nearly 2500 ft (760m) to the crater floor along a well defined path through volcanic sands.
The first two miles provide expansive views of both the crater topography and Pacific Ocean as you hike above the clouds.
To the north, the jagged peaks of Kalahaku Pali tower over Ko’olau Gap.
Within four miles, the trail levels out as it reaches the crater valley.
Experience the unearthly silence of the “quietest place on earth” as you hike across the subalpine grasses at 7400 ft (2260m).
Along the way, encounter endangered and endemic species such as the Haleakalā silversword, found nowhere else on earth, kūpaoa plant, pink and white berried shrubs and the nēnē goose.
The final miles of the trail traverse a thousand year old lava flow en route to the lush hillsides of Palikū.
No permits or reservations are required to day-hike any section of this trail; camping overnight within Haleakalā crater is by permit and reservation only.
Reservations must be obtained in advance through recreation.gov.
<a href="https://www.roadtripaddict.com/hiking-the-keoneheehee-sliding-sands-trail/ ">Full Trip Report</a>