One of the things I was really looking forward to was driving to the top of Haleakala, the dormant volcano on Maui. While this isn’t an active volcano like what you can find on the Big Island, it is still a really cool spot to check out.
It doesn’t matter where you are coming from on the island it’s a bit of a drive. It took us about 2 hours each way to get to the summit from Kaanapali. There is a really lovely drive through upcountry Maui. You can find a lot of farms around here such as Surfing Goat Dairy, Ocean Vodka and many others. If you get a chance put some on your itinerary. While driving you can’t help but see a hulking mountain in front of you. It really is the dominant feature of the landscape on that half of Maui.
It’s actually really common for people to do this as a sunrise activity and drive up in the wee hours of the morning to get a beautiful sunrise photo… But yeah, I like sleeping too much. I don’t see myself getting up at 4am to do this long ass drive. Plus I enjoyed checking out all the changes in terrain as we got higher and higher.Like the sign says no food, no gas. It’s 22 miles of twisty turny roads not for the easily carsick. We also passed TONS of bike riders riding down (in the drizzle on this particular day). I also wanted to mention that active duty military get free entrance to National Parks, so keep that ID handy!
And Oh. My. God. the summit. 10,000 feet above sea level. I knew it was going to be cold. I KNEW this. And yet after living in Hawaii for a year and a half I guess I forgot what COLD is! We were FREEZING! It was literally 30-something degrees at the summit. And windy as hell. No joke. It kinda sucked because I wasn’t dressed warmly enough to be able to take all the pictures I wanted to. There is a little ranger station/visitor’s center that is warm and has some cool little souvenirs.
You can actually hike into the crater which would be amazing! (Had I thought to bring appropriate clothing and footwear)
As we started heading down the clouds began to clear, too bad we didn’t have all that sunshine and clear sky earlier in the day. Normally you are above the clouds at the summit and you can see 5 other Hawaii islands. Also, it was still a little bit chilly at this turn off.
We also made a quick stop at this adorable lavender farm. So pretty! They had a cafe inside in case you forgot to pack snacks for your looooong drive!