Location: in the southeast of Maui
Features: craters, lava
Haleakala is the worlds largest dormant volcano. It's about 7 miles long and 2 miles wide and errupted last 200 years ago.
Walking on the floor of the crater is like walking on the moon, with surreal geological formations and an endless variety of different colors. Majestic cinder cones give new impressions behind every corner and the Silversword, a plant, found only on Hawaii, makes a beautiful contrast to the dry and dusty planes and cones.
Best time to go for a hike is probably early in the morning, although it's not an assurance that it doesn't rain at that time as well. But chances are better for sunny skies in the morning than in the afternoon, because the warm air usually forces the clouds into the crater later the day. And believe me...it's really nasty to walk in the crater while it's raining!
Haleakala Crater National Park
A nice place to spend the night in Haleakala Crater National Park is Hosmer Grove, close to the park headquarters. It's the only drive-up campsite in the park and has all the facilities you need (except for warm water and showers of course). Be prepared that the nights can get quite cold here because you're on an altitude of around 8000 feet.
We also tried to see the sunrise, which is actually a stupid thing to do. First of all, chances are not really good to have clear skies. Secondly, you'll have to stand up around 4 am. Third, once you're on top, it's freezing up there and you wish yourself back in your warm sleeping bag. Fourth, there are approximately 10000 people around you, all of them trying to get the best position for a good shot of the sunrise...which did not happen in our case, since we had cloudy skies and rain later on.
After all I think, the rangers are just trying to annoy the tourists when they encourage them to stand up so early just for a sunrise I can probably have at any other point in the world...that's their kind of revenge for all the stupid questions we ask them!
view over the crater floor