Maui is voted the best island in the world year after year because there are some many beautiful things to see and do on the island. Sometimes it can be tough deciding what activities make your “must-do” list and what ideas get saved for the next visit. With choices like snorkeling Molokini, driving to the rainforests and waterfalls of Hana, ziplining through the tree tops, relaxing on a white sand beach, or learning to surf, you can see how finalizing a travel itinerary can get tough. We will outline 5 reasons why a trip up to the top of Haleakala should be on your list.
1) Unique Experience: How many times have you been to the summit of a volcano? How many times have you been to an elevation over 10,000 feet above sea level (apparently there are only 12 other states that have peaks that reach this elevation – don’t know how many are accessible). You will be surprised how quickly you will lose your breath when climbing stairs or going on a hike.
2) The View: Once you are on the summit you will have breathtaking views of the entire island of Maui down below you. Look to the east and you will see Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (the two volcano peaks on the big island). If it is cloudy during your visit, that can also be a fun experience. Walk and drive through clouds!
3) To Experience Cold on Maui: Most people vacationing on Maui are along the coast and constantly blasted by the sun and temperatures in the low to mid 80s. Not many people realize that temperatures can get pretty chilly up at the top of Haleakala, especially before sunrise or after sunset. Did you know that snow can even stick to the ground on one or two cold winter days a year?!
4) To See the Silversword: There are not too many plants, flowers, trees, or greenery at the top of a volcano. The cold climate and volcanic soil combine to make a formidable environment for nature to flourish. But, the silversword plant thrives in these conditions. Keep your eyes peeled for round silver pokey shrubs the size of a pumpkin scattered across the ground. Once the shrub reaches a certain size it will produce a vertical stalk that yields beautiful flowers during select periods of the year. It is definitely a unique draw to visiting Haleakala’s summit.
5) It’s Educational: Just like all National Parks you will visit, there are plenty of placards and exhibits in the Haleakala National Park visitor center that are sure to teach you a few new things. Learn about different Hawaiian species, how Haleakala measures up to other tall peaks like Mount Everest, and even about the stars in the night sky.
[Photo Source: Flickr user Hike395]