Maui Volcano (Haleakala) Drive Guide

My Maui Volcano (Haleakala) Drive Guide page includes driving directions from different Maui locations such as Kaanapali and Lahaina, maps, best time to schedule your drive to the summit and crater, and tips to prevent you from wasting your day.

Best Time of Day to Visit Haleakala?

Not knowing the best time to reach the Haleakala volcano summit is the most common reason for a wasted day.

Maui volcano Halekala craterThe problem? Getting to the summit after the crater has become obscured by clouds.

Make this an early morning trip because the clouds usually flow through the crater late morning. If you travelled from the U.S. mainland, schedule this trip early in your vacation - you will already be waking up in the middle of the night Hawaii time as your internal clock adjusts to the time change.

Better to absorb some resistance to an early morning departure from your passengers, than to arrive late to the summit and have your passengers blame you not being able to view a crater obscured by clouds.

Maui Volcano Haleakala - Drive Map & Time

Count on over two hours to drive from the west Maui area (Lahaina and Kaanapali) to the summit of Haleakala. You want to leave early in the morning to beat the clouds to the summit.

Drive time to the Haleakala volcano summit has two parts:

1. Drive time from your Maui hotel to Kahului, which is most likely the airport where you landed when you arrived in Maui. The way the roads are laid out, most Maui vacationers will end up driving right by the Kahului airport on their way to Haleakala. So just use the drive time from your lodging to the airport as the first part of your calculation. Some examples:

Maui Map Haleakala Drive Time • Kaanapali to Kahului - 35 minutes

• Lahaina to Kahului - 35 minutes

• Kihei to Kahului - 20 minutes

• Makena to Kahului - 35 minutes

2. Drive time from Kahului to the volcano summit is about 90 minutes.

Haleakala Crater Road Drive Map & Directions

Haleakala Crater Road MapMy Haleakala Crater Road drive map and directions as you approach Haleakala National Park:

• Use the general Maui drive map in the section above to get you to the general area of Haleakala

• Use this Crater Road map to orient you when to turn from State Highway 37 onto Highway 377, also called Haleakala Highway.

• Then turn from Highway 377 onto Highway 378, also called Crater Road. Be careful as you navigate the constant switchbacks during the steep ascent along Crater Road to the volcano summit.

Drive time for this ascent along Crater Road (in clear weather, excluding stops) is about an hour of the 90 minute time listed above for the drive from Kahului to the volcano summit.

The driver must concentrate on the road and oncoming traffic during the ascent and descent. There are only a few vistas with limited parking that allow you to pull off the road and admire the view.

Remember, you want to get to the summit before the clouds flow into the crater below the summit.

So make your stop at the Haleakala National Park Visitor Center a quick one. In addition to a free park pamphlet, their store has a good selection of books that you can purchase.

After the Visitor Center, drive straight up to the summit and admire the beautiful unobstructed crater view.

Then visit the various visitor centers and stops on your way back down. If the clouds do roll in, you will have already seen the best views at the top.

Return Trip - Descent from the Summit

Now that you beat the clouds to the crater, you can take your time on your return trip down from the summit and make some stops.

First we stop at the Haleakala National Park Visitors Center for a casual visit in the gift shop and for a bathroom stop. An outside lava rock garden area includes several silversword plants.

A bucket of Maui protea for sale at the Sunrise Country Market on the way to HaleakalaNext stop is our favorite - the Sunrise Country Market and Protea Farm. We like the inexpensive prices for their unique flower protea arrangements - we purchase one for less than $20, then we get to enjoy a protea bouquet in our hotel room for our entire vacation.

They also have light entrees such as sandwiches, drinks, and snacks that we can eat at their outside picnic tables.

On the slopes of the Maui volcano Halekala, The Kula Lodge has a  gift shop with unique local arts and crafts, and a restaurant with a sweeping view of Maui and the surrounding oceanNearby Kula Lodge has a gift shop with unique local arts and crafts. There are also many flowering plants and trees on the grounds at this lodge.

Their restaurant decor makes us feel like we are in a wooden hunting lodge. The burgers and sandwiches are about $10 for lunch, and the large wall of windows gives us a sweeping view of Maui and the surrounding ocean.

Return to Maui Volcano Haleakala from Maui Volcano Haleakala Drive Guide

Haleakala Tours

I provide a whole group of web pages below for you to review your options for a tour of the Maui volcano Haleakala.

Day Tours

If you want someone else to drive you up the winding road to the summit of the Maui volcano on a Haleakala day tour, you have several options:

• The Haleakala and Rainforest tour from Temptation Tours also includes stops at Hosmer's Grove, a protea farm, the paniolo cowboy town of Makawao, Haiku, a rainforest waterfall, Keanae Peninsula and Hookipa Beach.

• The Haleakala - Magnificent Maui tour from Roberts Hawaii also includes stops at the Iao Valley rainforest and the historic whaling town of Lahaina.

• The Haleakala Summit tour from Polynesian Adventures also includes a tour through Central Maui and a stop at Iao Valley rainforest park.

Sunrise Tours

You have a choice of two types of Haleakala sunrise tours:

1. Motor Coach Haleakala sunrise tours pick you up at your hotel or condo at about 3AM, provide some sort of breakfast, and drive you up the winding road in the dark to the Haleakala summit before sunrise. Get exact pricing and scheduling details for volcano sunrise and day trip tours:

• Polynesian Adventures Haleakala sunrise tour

• Temptation Tours Haleakala sunrise tour

2. Haleakala Sunrise Bike Ride Tours where you watch the sun rise, then ride a bike either from the Haleakala summit or from the entrance of Haleakala National Park.

Bike Tours

To read about the many Haleakala bike tour options, get exact pricing or make reservations, visit my Haleakala Bike Tours page.

Hiking Tours

A Haleakala crater hike from Hike Maui includes up to three trails to accumulate four miles - Hosmer's Cove Trail, Halemauu, and Sliding Sands Trail. Hike Maui declares their trail guides to be 'the best trained naturalist guides on Maui'.

Horseback Riding

Riding horseback into the Maui Volcano Haleakala crater is an alternative to hiking the Sliding Sands trail. Instead, you descend from the volcano summit down into the crater on horseback. The Ka Moa O Pele Junction Ride is offered by Pony Express Tours.