Maui Activities

New Reservation System at Haleakalā Cabins “Booked Solid” Within Minutes

By Wendy Osher
July 1, 2021, 4:40 PM HST
* Updated July 2, 9:25 AM
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Kapalaoa Cabin. NPS Photo by Katie Matthew.

Outdoor enthusiasts hoping to reserve a wilderness cabin at Haleakalā National Park, found many slots were filled before the much anticipated reservation window was slated to open at 7 a.m. HST today.

Maui Now received complaints from individuals who tried to access the system only to find that many dates and popular weekend slots had already been taken. Visitors to the site report that within minutes after the publicized 7 a.m. opening, the site was booked solid through the end of the year.

Maui Now reached out to park officials via phone and email throughout the day, to determine if a glitch or some other reasoning was to blame.

Haleakalā National Park spokesperson, Chelsea Hernandez said the National Park Service is currently inquiring with the contractor who manages cabin reservations regarding the release of today’s wilderness cabin reservations at Haleakalā National Park. “ALL reservations for wilderness cabins were intended to be released at 7 a.m. HST, however the exact time of the release is still to be determined. We do expect demand for the cabins to be high and to exceed available capacity,” said Hernandez.

Park users were forewarned in a previous post that reservations would be “in high demand and sell out quickly.” Site users were advised to make an account ahead of time, login and navigate to the reservation page before 7 a.m., and have information ready to go, including preferred dates. “Be prepared to enter your information quickly,” the park advised in a Facebook post on Wednesday evening.

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Comments logged on the park’s social media feed included the following complaints:

  • 7:05 a.m.: “… I logged in at 6:55 a.m. to get ready and all of the dates we were hoping for were already gone… This is so disappointing for Hawaiʻi residents.”
  • 8:28 am..: “It looked like the dates were booked/opened already, but when I tried to click through I got a message that it would open at 7 a.m. HST on July 1. So, waited, and clicked through right at 7 a.m. and was able to book. We go through the same thing as Colorado residents trying to access National Parks in our state. Reservations are a way of life now it seems.”
  • 11:34 a.m.: “I logged on at 7:15 a.m. and there was only one day available in December. Disappointing.”
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Additional comments were also fielded on the Park’s Instagram feed including the following:

  • “Too bad half the dates weren’t available to start with. (I) was on at 7 (a.m.) and didn’t get a reservation for any of the days.”
  • “I was up ready to go and all Saturdays were already booked prior to 7 a.m. open time, and every single date I clicked on was being booked. You guys need to allocate some for in person reservations because it’s all gone within five minutes.”
  • “Seemed to be all gone in 10 minutes. Logged in at 7:10 (a.m.) and noting.”
  • “Gone in two minutes. Just like sunrise, local people won’t use the cabins anymore. Another favorite thing lost to tourists. Did you consider reserving any reservations for people with Hawaiʻi IDs?”

Reservations for wilderness cabins at Hōlua and Kapalaoa opened today (July 1, 2021) at the Recreation.gov website for dates through Dec. 31, 2021. Reservations can now be made up to six months in advance and are now released on a rolling basis. Beginning tomorrow, July 2, the next available date will be Jan. 1, 2022, the park advises.

In addition to high demand, cabin capacities have also bee temporarily reduced to a four person occupancy limit due to CDC recommendations for building occupancy standards during the COVID-19 Pandemic. While there are four bunks available in the cabins for use, cabin reservation holders are advised not exceed a four-person limit.

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While cabins are filled for the next six months, there is still permit availability for tent camping at Hōlua and Palikū for various dates from August through the end of the year. According to the Recreation.gov website, both wilderness tent areas have four designated individual tent sites (five people, two tents maximum) and one group site (10 people, four tents maximum). 

Cabin reservations are listed at $75 per night, while tent permits are free.

Meantime, the cabin at Palikū remains temporarily closed due to ongoing drought and limited water supply. A Stage 1 Water Shortage begins tomorrow, July 2, in Upcountry Maui, reducing water capacity at the campsite. When water supply is resorted, park officials advise that reservations will resume at the site and more opportunities for cabin camping will become available. Backers at Palikū are advised to to pack in extra water. The public can check the alerts and conditions page on the park website  for updates.

Hōlua Cabin. NPS Photo.
Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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