About the Site
Haleakala National Park (4)  



The Mountain

The Crater

On the Mountain


Hosmer Grove






Haleakala is actually two very different parks. The most famous section encompasses, of course, the great crater of the Haleakala volcano. But also quite interesting is the section which contains part of the south slope of the mountain and the coastline.

The Kipahulu section of the park is fairly isolated and not visited as much as the more well known crater area. But this very isolation has preserved the native resources to a much greater degree than in other sections of the park.

Despite its remoteness, the Kipahulu section of the park was heavily inhabited in native Hawaiian times. The area was first farmed by Polynesians some 1200 years ago. These people fished and grew sweet potatoes, bananas, and other foods. The first non-native visitor to this section of the island was La Perouse in 1784. He observed quite a large number of native inhabitants of the area. From 1888 to 1923 the area around Ohe'o Stream, shown later in this section, was planted in sugar cane.

Along the trail is a hut of the type used by native Hawaiians who used to live in the area.

Another picture of the hut is shown below.

Most visitation in the Kipahulu section of the park takes place in the section near the Ohe'o Gulch.There is a nice trail which leads from the parking area down toward the ocean.

The ocean can be seen clearly from the trail.

The trail skirts cliffs above the ocean and provides extraordinary views of the Pacific.

Here is another view of the ocean along the trail.

This trail--Kolua Point Trail--begins at the Ranger Station in the Kipahulu and runs about 1 mile.

The trail runs along the ocean and the surf.

The trail is a favorite in the area as it is relatively gentle and provides access to the ocean, swimming, and Pipiwai Steam and the Ohe'l Gulch.

The trail runs along the shore to Ohe'o Gulch and the point where the O'heo Stream empties into the ocean. A lower section of the stream is shown below.

This is a picture of the river looking upstream. The road which enters the park crosses over the river on the bridge seen in the upper left hand corner of the picture, and also in the next picture (below).

The river falls over a series of cascades as it travels to the sea. At most times it passes through a series of pools, but when rain falls in the mountains it may fill with fast flowing water quite quickly.

The water cascades through the vegetation.

Although the pools in the gulch are popular with swimmers, the sudden torrents may catch swimmers by surprise. In the picture below rangers are shown in the process of rescuing a hapless swimmer trapped on a rock in the center of the stream by a flood. The swimmer was eventually rescued successfully.

There is another trail--the Pipiwai Trail-- which runs along the stream for about 4 miles up to Waimoku Falls. In some places the trail winds through lush subtropical forest land, while in other spots in crosses lovely meadows, as seen on the right. Occasional views of the Pacific can also be enjoyed.

The Kipahulu area contains the largest tract of undisturbed native vegetation in Hawaii. There are some 200 species of plants indigenous or endemic to Hawaii to be found in this area.

This Pipiwai Trail climbs steadily upward on the mountain. Another section of the trail is shown below.

This trail leads to Waimoku Falls and passes Makahiku Falls, providing a vantage point. It actually passes a number of beautiful cascades along the stream, some of which are shown below.

High above the coast the trail crosses the Palikea Stream over several bridges.

Some of the distinctive bamboo trees can be seen above the bridge in the picture on the right.

The water rushes over the cascade and through a canyon it has carved under the bridge.


Information about Haleakala Park has been drawn from personal experience, maps, interpretive material, brochures, and other data available in the park itself, and a number of other sources, including:

- First Page for Haleakala National Park -

  • All photographs ©Patrick Holleran, Shannon Digital Imaging, 1994-2013

  • Commercial use of the images contained in this document without express written consent is strictly prohibited.

  • Comments and other remarks can be sent via e-mail to parkvision@shannontech.com