Maui News

Reservation System Launched for Haleakalā Crater Overnight Wilderness Camping

April 22, 2021, 4:30 PM HST
* Updated April 22, 4:31 PM
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Backpackers set up camp at Hōlua Wilderness campsite NPS photo by Katie Matthew

Visitors planning to backpack in Haleakalā National Park are now able to reserve Haleakalā Crater wilderness campsites in advance online. The new reservation system through Recreation.gov and wilderness camping in Haleakalā Crater officially opened on Earth Day, April 22 at 7 a.m. HST.

Wilderness campsite permits were previously issued at the Headquarters Visitor Center are now available online and will no longer be issued in person at the park. The cabins and drive-up Kīpahulu and Hosmer Grove campgrounds remain closed as Maui County is currently in the “High” Level of Community Transmission according to the Centers for Disease Control.  

Reserve Your Wilderness Campsite in Advance: Visitors wishing to reserve a Crater campsite in the park at Palikū and Hōlua campsites will be able to do so by visiting Recreation.gov. Reservations are available on a rolling six-month basis. Palikū and Hōlua campsite reservations cost $8 per night if booking online or $9 per night if booking by phone.

Visitors must create an account on the Recreation.gov website prior to making campsite reservations. Those who already have an account are encouraged to confirm their login and password information. This is the same reservation site to obtain a sunrise reservation in Haleakalā National Park.  

NPS Photo by Jin Prugsawan Halekala Crater July 2019

Research the Wilderness Campsites in Advance: Hōlua and Palikū campsites are in Haleakalā Crater within the designated wilderness area of the park. Both sites are accessible by backpacking only. All campsite reservation holders must carry all gear and equipment by foot. The campsites are located in remote and primitive locations requiring strenuous hiking with elevation changes from 9,780 feet to a low of 6,380 feet. The Hōlua tent camping area is at 6,940 feet in elevation located in the shrubland near Koʻolau Gap. Hōlua is 3.7 miles one-way down the Halemauʻu Trail or 7.4 miles one-way from the Keoneheʻeheʻe (Sliding Sands) Trailhead. The Palikū tent camping area is at 6,380 feet in elevation on the eastern edge of the Haleakalā Crater near the base of a rainforest cliff. The tent camping areas are reached via a strenuous 9.3 miles one-way hike on the Keoneheʻeheʻe (Sliding Sands) Trail or 10.4 miles one-way on Halemauʻu Trail. Clouds and fog often roll over the top of the cliffs behind Palikū, and rain is common. 

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Plan for Unpredictable Weather: The wilderness area in Haleakalā Crater is remote and subject to unpredictable weather. Temperatures vary from 40°F to 70°F during the day and 30°F to 50°F at night. Plan for rain at all times of year. If it is stormy, winds can exceed 80 mph with temperatures dropping well below freezing. Collecting of firewood in the park is not permitted. 

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Filter Your Water: Hōlua and Palikū have non-potable water available for use via water catchment tanks (rainwater collected from metal shelter roofs). This water must be filtered or treated prior to consuming.  

Leave No Trace: All hikers are required to pack out everything they pack in. Do not bury your trash or discard it in pit toilets—pack it out. Practice “leave no trace” camping. All fires are prohibited.  

Establish a Trip Plan: Cell phone connectivity in the wilderness area of the Haleakalā Crater is not available.  Prior to any trip, all backpackers should leave a trip plan with another person that includes the details of the time and locations they plan to hike. Make sure this person understands that should you become lost or injured on the trail, they are your only link to help and should report you overdue if you fail to contact them by a predesignated time. If lost, stay where you are. Use bright colors and reflective materials to attract attention. 

Inner Crater. Backpacker on Halemauʻu Trail in lava flow. NPS Photo
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For more information on wilderness camping in Haleakalā National Park, visit: www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping.htm.  

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