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Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park is located on the island of Maui. The national park is named for the dormant volcano within the park’s boundaries and covers 33,265 acres, 24,719 of which are protected wilderness ecology.

A brief etymological history reveals that the national park was named Haleakala, as this means “house of the sun” in the Hawaiian language. Local legend says that the demigod Maui put the sun in prison here to make the day longer. Rest assured that Haleakala is currently dormant, having last erupted sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD.

A winding but well-maintained road leads up to the summit of this national park, which includes the Haleakala Crater. This particular part of the park is accessible by Hawaii State Road 378. The second section of the park, Kipahulu, cannot be accessed by road, and visitors must walk a winding coastal road to reach it. This part of the national park is closed to the public to protect the native animals and plants in its fragile rainforest ecosystem.

At its lowest point, the national park has a tropical rainforest climate, which borders on a tropical monsoon. As altitude increases, the climate becomes first Mediterranean — and then, at the top, alpine.

This park is unique to the National Park System as more endangered species live here than in any other national park in the rest of the United States. Unfortunately, as a result of more frequent travel to this island, as well as the feral goats and pigs, the native species of the area have been destroyed or become endangered. One such endangered species includes the Haleakala silversword, a rare plant, which used to cover the island to a degree it looked like it was covered in snow.

The national park is also home to the Haleakala Observatory, an observation site near the visitor center. The University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy has managed this site for over 40 years, using it to conduct dedicated astrophysical experiments.

The park is open 24 hours a day, except for certain holidays. A sunrise reservation is required for entry between 3 AM and 7 AM daily. With its spectacular ecology and amazing views, the Haleakala National Park in Maui is most certainly worth a day-long hiking excursion or bike ride. Travel to Hawaii and take a tour, with or without a guide, to Haleakala National Park to experience an adventure like no other.

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