Hi, my name is Sarah Sekula. Welcome to my article on Haleakala National Park – the quietest place on earth. I’m an adventure travel journalist, photographer and video host (@sarahsomewhere). I was born in Spain and grew up in the US states of Georgia, South Carolina, California and Florida.
Our family drove across the country a few times when I was young. That did it for me. I have been hooked on travel ever since. As a storyteller and content creator my job is to scour the globe for the amazing and obscure, interview people I admire (Kerri Walsh Jennings, Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz), and film and photograph the most epic places on earth.
When I’m not zigzagging around the planet – learning to pilot an airplane above Tampa Bay, swimming with sharks in the Bahamas or spending some quality time with penguins in Antarctica – I’m writing about unusual excursions, fitness, health/wellness and extraordinary people.
I’m big on exploring and anything requiring movement. So I feel fortunate to have a career that incorporates my passions like surfing, climbing, hiking and scuba diving. So far, assignments for USA Today, CNN.com, NBC.com, espnW.com, GoEscape, lonelyplanet.com and Scuba Diving have taken me to almost 40 different countries across all seven continents.
Calling Maui Home for over a Year
I have called Maui home for over a year now but I have been visiting Hawaii for the past 10. I love that so many people here are active and outdoorsy. Because of that it’s easy to find others who want to go hiking, snorkeling, SUPing, surfing and free diving. It’s also diverse. My friends are from all over the globe – Taiwan, China, New Caledonia and Turkey.
The Beautiful Haleakala National Park of Maui
My first visit to Haleakala National Park was six years ago. I have been six times now and will continue to go back again and again. It’s my favorite place on the island. This park is known as the quietest place on earth, so it’s a good place for some zen time. It also helps that there is no reception.
One of my favorite trails there is Sliding Sands Trail (also known as Keonehe’ehe’e Trail). You start at the summit at about 10,000 feet and hike down into a large crater. It’s so large that the island of Manhattan could fit inside it! I love being way above the tree line where you are literally walking among the clouds. It’s so barren and looks an awful lot like Mars.
Best Hiking Trails in Haleakala National Park
There are vastly different trails to choose from at Haleakala National Park. The one I described above (Sliding Sands Trail) has you trekking down into a crater and back up again. Halemau’u Trail is more green than Sliding Sands Trail and has a rocky path that leads to a stunning crater overlook.
Haleakala National Park extends down to the beach too – so you have got striking bamboo forests and waterfalls on the Pipiwai Trail. It’s wild to me that there are so many different ecosystems within one national park.
Braving the Elements in Haleakala
The weather can be tricky in Haleakala – you never know what to expect. While you are up there you can experience high winds, rain and even snow in the winter. So definitely wear layers! The altitude is equally tricky.
When hiking down into the trail you might feel great. But once you start heading back upward toward the summit, the altitude can get the best of you even if you consider yourself super fit. The main way to avoid altitude sickness is to constantly drink water even if you don’t think you need it.
Where to Stay near Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park is located in the Upcountry area of Maui which is known for its rolling hills and cooler temperatures. I would say Lumeria is a great place to start when you are looking for accommodation on the island.
This 24-room boutique hotel offers classes in horticulture, yoga, dance therapy and hula. They have hammocks, sound meditation and a saltwater hot tub. There is even an Airbnb on the island where you can spend time with alpacas! One alpaca in particular is a big fan of massages.
Kula Lodge is a 50s era hotel known for its kitschy rooms and rocking chairs. Plus, the views there are hard to beat. Both Lumeria and Kula Lodge are great places to stay but if I had to choose a favorite it would be Lumeria!
Need to Know Before you Go
Before you go hiking in Haleakala National Park, I recommend drinking plenty of water beforehand. Also, keep hydrated while you are there and afterwards to ward off any altitude sickness. I also suggest avoiding sunrise at the national park as it gets crowded and you need to get a permit.
The road to the national park is full of hairpin turns, so plan for extra time if you aren’t familiar with driving curvy roads. Also, please pull over when it’s safe to let others go by if you are a slower driver. Apart from that, just enjoy your time in Haleakala National Park – the quietest place on earth!