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At the center of Upcountry Maui is the island’s single most famous single attraction, the giant dormant volcano, Haleakala.
Haleakala’s shapes and colors are so unusual, you may wonder if you’ve landed on the moon, or perhaps Mars.
Many people are drawn to Haleakala to revel in its diverse terrain and breathtaking sunrises. Experiencing the splendid Haleakala sunrise usually tops the list for anyone visiting Maui.
With a 10,023 ft. summit, you’ll be perched well above a blanket of clouds when sun peers over the horizon.
The summit sunrise is absolutely phenomenal, but visitors also flock to the volcano for the ziplines, hiking excursions, bicycle tours, and other activities located on and around Haleakala’s slopes.
Here are some of the ways folks often experience Haleakala while they’re in Maui:
Biking down Haleakala is one of the most common ways vacationers choose to enjoy the visually stunning volcano.
The bike ride is not physically challenging at all. In fact there’s no uphill riding, and you can from choose a variety of times and types of tours to fit your fancy.
If you’re going to wake up early enough to see the sunrise from 10,000 you might as well make a day of it.
After getting your mind blown by the sunrise you’ll jump in the van and descend to 6,000 ft. for your bike tour of the volcano’s diverse terrain.
Different companies offer options such as hotel pick up or Paia pick up; self-paced or group rides; with or without continental breakfast.
A tour of Haleakala is the way to go for comfort and convenience, but keep in mind you can always drive to the summit in your rental car!
If you do drive, please make a day of it by enjoying a couple attractions from the Upcountry and North Shore Maui areas. You’ll find a bunch in this guide.
Note that when you drive your own car you’ll pay a $15 per vehicle entrance fee to get into Haleakala State Park.
One cool thing about the State Park pass is that it’s good for Seven Sacred Pools (The Pools Of Oheo) along The Road To Hana as well!
If you do both trips, plan your Hana trip on a different day than Haleakala. Both trips on the same day would be crazy!
The State Parks vehicle fee is included in the costs of all Haleakala tours so keep that in mind when comparing costs.
When you dream about Maui weather, you’re usually envisioning balmy, sun-kissed beaches of Kaanapali or Wailea. Yet, Maui has a chilly side, too!
Since the summit of Haleakala peaks at an elevation 10,023 feet, it can get quite frigid up there.
When you go to Haleakala, bring a jacket, wear pants instead of shorts, and make sure you’re in closed toed shoes.
Even if you don’t have all the perfect gear, wear layers and shed them as you descend the mountain toward your other activities.
There’s something kind of cool about ziplining near a volcano—literally!
Ka’anapali and Kapalua have excellent zipline tours but if you’re visiting Haleakala we recommend booking a zipline in the area.
Upcountry Maui’s temperate climate, with rainforest trees and dense vegetation, is perfect for an adventure-fueled day of ziplining.
With canopy or “Costa Rica style” ziplining you’ll fly from tree-top to tree-top in a grove of tropical rainforest trees!
Since the zipline heights are somewhat limited, these courses are perfectly matched for children, as well as beginners.
In this playful environment you’ll climb ladders, glide from platform to platform, and generally play like you’re in Swiss Family Robinson.
Parallel ziplines don’t rely on the tree-tops to determine their heights so they are often much taller and faster, with much longer rides!
One parallel zipline course in Maui is nearly 1/2 mile in length. Oh boy, that’s a long way!
There’s an excellent parallel zipline course near Makawao, only a short drive from the base of Haleakala.
This zipline company has a canopy course as well as a parallel course so you can choose your own adventure!
Driving to Haleakala to experience the dust in your finger-tips and fluffy clouds at arms-length is an excellent way to enjoy the volcano.
To get the full impact of Haleakala’s sand-dusted cinder cones and colorful, swirling canyons, there’s no replacement for a Haleakala helicopter tour!
From your quiet, comfortable cabin in the sky you’ll get priceless 180 degree views of one of the most unique desert landscapes in the world.
Since Haleakala is east your helicopter tour will explore Hana’s lush verdant beauty. Now that’s one diverse trip!
Let’s come down to earth for a minute. For hands-on encounter with Haleakala, get your tennis shoes very dusty on a guided hiking tour!
You’ll traverse Haleakala’s lunar-landscape while learning about its native flora and fauna from your expert guides. If you have an interest in the geology of the area this is definitely the way to go.
On your way to, or from Haleakala you’ll come across a small town with with rolling, green pastures, and colorful botanical gardens: Kula, Maui.
Boasting groves of aromatic Silver Eucalyptus, excellent wineries, and even a lavender farm, we recommend you stopping at Kula for an afternoon before heading back to your hotel to relax.
Here are a few awesome things to do in the Kula area:
Nestled below Kula Maui, you’ll find the rustic town of Makawao. Famously known as “Paniolo Country,” or Cowboy Country, Makawao hosts the largest rodeo in the state of Hawaii every 4th of July.
Even if you’re just passing through Makawao as part of a Haleakala tour, be sure to stop and check it out before heading home. It’s charming and certainly worth a visit.
Here are some things to do in and around Makawao:
The adorable hippie town of Paia isn’t technically part of the “Upcountry” region, but it might as well be! Most folks stop off at Paia on their way to an adventure at Haleakala.
This tiny, peace-loving town is a blast from the past—specifically, the 1960s. So be sure to pop by and see it for yourself.
Haleakala looms large over Upcountry Maui for good reason: It’s one of the most spectacular natural attractions in Maui.
Pair your Haleakala adventure with ziplining, or a relaxing stop-off at Kula or Makawao for a well-rounded exploration of Upcountry Maui that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Maui’s Upcountry is located near a number of other popular Maui activities and destinations. Here’s a list of the biggies:
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