Where We Be
The road to the summit twists and turns -- but still has nothing on the Road to Hana!
Maui -- Haleakala National Park
Cinder cones are clearly visible within the depression. Each is the result of a separate eruption at some time in the past 4,000 years.
Not everyone will be impressed by the summit
of Haleakala. Amusingly enough my dad thought
it looked like “a big hole in the ground” and
after about ten seconds of looking he was
done. We liked it though: the landscape is
dramatically different from anything you usually
see, you're standing on the very summit of the
island of Maui looking down, and you're staring
right into the heart of the world's largest
dormant volcano. Dormant being a relative
term. The volcano has erupted at least six times
in the last 1,000 years, with the most recent
eruption being in 1790, so it's certainly possible
it could awaken and erupt again in our lifetimes.

Haleakala means “House of the Sun” because
the sun seems to rise right out of the crater
each morning. We missed that by several hours
but still enjoyed our visit. The drive to the top
takes about two hours from Lahaina. The road
turns squiggly once you reach the volcano and
begin to climb. Pulloffs along the way let you
look down on the narrow isthmus of Maui and
the cloud-scudded ocean. Leleiwi Overlook
gives you your first startling view of the crater,
but the best views are from the top. By the end
you're standing at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), having
started at sea level just two hours before. The
visitor center is right at the summit.
What a starkly beautiful landscape!
This is the view from the Visitor Center. You're looking right into the heart of an enormous volcano that shaped the very island you're standing on.
Haleakala used to be about 3,000 feet taller until it went dormant and eroded over the millenia until the original crater was gone. What you see
today was formed by erosion and later eruptions that filled the depression with lava. The lava poured over the sides through the gap you see above.
Leleiwi Overlook offers your first view into the crater. You round a bend
and suddenly come face to face with this startlingly different landscape.
This diagram at the visitor center clearly shows how you're standing on the very summit of Maui when you reach the top of Haleakala.
The isthmus of Maui (the narrow strip of land connecting the two parts of Maui) is clearly visible from the summit when you look down.
Darkened image of the road to Haleakala and the cloud-scudded ocean beyond
This is the incredibly rare silversword which grows in only one
place in the entire world: right here on the slopes of Haleakala
Maui -- Kula Botanical Garden
We recommend you visit at least one botanical
garden during your time in Hawaii because
you'll see all manner of flowering plants you've
never seen before, from the wondrous to the
bizarre. Kula Botanical Garden is a good choice
because of the wide array of colorful plants it
has on offer, all in a small space of about eight
acres. It also makes for a convenient stop on
the way back from Haleakala. The garden was a
big hit with all of us. We enjoyed seeing the
chameleon, the koi pond, the enormous array
of gorgeous tropical plants, the lovebirds in
the aviary, the stunning birds of paradise in full
bloom, the pair of endangered nene (Hawaiian
geese), the babbling brooks, and the totem-
like statues. Kula Garden is well organized: you
can always turn left to make a full circuit of the
gardens. The cost is $10 per person and well
worth it. As the hostess said, “For ten dollars
you got to experience a little slice of heaven.”

These photos require no caption; simply enjoy
this quick "walk" through the gardens.
The summit of Haleakala is one of the most sought-after locations in the world for ground-based telescopes
because of its clear skies, absence of city lights, and high elevation (which means less atmospheric distortion)