Top Ten National Park Campgrounds
Haleakala National Park slices up volcanic Mt. Haleakala, a dramatic scurry to the clouds from sea level to 10,000 feet over a distance of 35 miles. The environment changes rapidly and dramatically with the altitude, from subtropical rainforest at sea level to subalpine desert in the crater. Every inch of the park makes for extraordinary exploration. A full 19,270 of Haleakala National Park's 28,655 acres are wilderness.
Haleakala National Park encompasses the upper slopes of the volcano, with its subalpine cinder desert and rainforest areas, and stretches down the southeast flank to the Kipahulu coastline. Overnight facilities include two drive-in campgrounds, two wilderness campgrounds, and three wilderness cabins. The drive-in campgrounds are located at Hosmer Grove at 6800 feet elevation near Park Headquarters and on the coast in Kipahulu, 40 minutes south of Hana. Accessible only by trail are two primitive wilderness campgrounds at Paliku and Holua.
The wilderness area of Haleakala National Park is ecologically fragile. Paliku, located at the base of a rainforest cliff, is reached via a strenuous 10 mile hike. Kapalaoa is isolated in the cinder desert, 6 miles down the Sliding Sands Trail. Holua, the most accessible site, sits in a shrubland at the top of Ko'olau Gap, 4 miles down the Halemau'u Trail. Kipahulu Valley is a Scientific Reserve and is closed to public entry above 1000 feet elevation. Temperatures often drop into the 30's at night; daytime highs may reach 40-70 F. Freezing rain, dense cloud cover and high winds are common any month of the year, but especially in the winter and spring.
Hosmer Grove Campground is often cool, windy or rainy. There are a few tables and grills, potable water and chemical toilets. Maximum occupancy is 50 people.
Kipahulu Campground can be warm, wet, and breezy with mosquitoes and passing showers.
Wilderness Campgrounds at Paliku and Holua have pit toilets, and a limited non-potable water supply. Water must be treated before drinking.
Just the Facts
Route: Glacier to Artist Point on WA 542.
Length: 24 miles (one hour)
Season: Summer to early fall.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication