Make the most of a drive up Haleakala
Heading to the top of Maui's Haleakala volcano
The Orange County Register
Haleakala National Park on Maui is open year-round, 24 hours a day, except for severe weather closures. The Haleakala Visitor Center, at 9,740 feet above sea level, is open 5:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. 808-572-4400 or www.nps.gov/hale
Northwest Travel Guides
Driving to the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala is the goal of many day trippers to upcountry Maui.
Yet too many visitors, in the quest to get up and down the Hawaiian volcano, skip the interesting sights on the flanks of Haleakala.
My advice: If you want to include reaching the summit of Haleakala on an upcountry drive, either expect to leave very early and get home very late or plan to stay the night in Kula or Makawao to allow time to see more.
It's a three-hour drive from the Kihei beach area to the summit, which lies in Haleakala National Park. Add a half-hour if you're leaving from the Kaanapali beach area. The slowest part is the last 35 miles from Kula to the summit on switchback roads that are often crowded in the summer with sightseers' cars.
Most hotels or one of the tour shops in Lahaina or Kihei can book a van tour that will get you there for the sun coming up or going down. I think the popular sunrise and sunset times for being at the summit are overrated. It's a long, hard drive up to the crater and when the sun isn't out, it is very windy and very cold.
I prefer to drive my own rental car up around midmorning on a clear day when you can see all the way to the Big Island on one side and Lanai on the other. By midafternoon, the crown of Haleakala is often draped with clouds, blocking views.
If you go, wear pants and a jacket and bring blankets — it's often near freezing in the predawn hours.
When the sun comes up, you'll see the summit's stark, red, Mars-like landscape. It's vacant except for a hiking trail that snakes through the dormant caldera and a few observatories off to one side, though as late as the 1920s, ranchers would graze cattle in the caldera.
Even at midday, it is windy and cool at the summit, but the treeless summit leaves you exposed to the sun — wear plenty of sunblock, and bring sunglasses and a hat.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.