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Crater camping in Hawaii

Darryl Leniuk/Darryl Leniuk


Hike over Martian-red soil, pass skyscraping cinder cones and alien-looking silverswords, drop into a forest of ohia lehua and mamane trees, and pitch a tent for the night.


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Each year, more than one million people make the trip to Haleakala, Maui's top tourist attraction. Most come for sunrise or sunset, snap a few photos and then return to their resorts. But beyond the viewing platforms, a vast backcountry exists. About 50 kilometres of hiking trails, three basic cabins and camping areas and numerous endemic species are found in the 100-square-kilometre crater. Haleakala is a place of beauty and blissful solitude where you can spend several days exploring a pristine volcanic landscape, lush native forests and rare species with scarcely a tourist in sight.

Begin your trek near the summit at the 2,969-metre visitor centre. Hike the Sliding Sands Trail (14.8 km) to camp at Paliku for the first night. Spend the next day trekking to Holua and camp there for one or two nights. End your trip at Hosmer Grove.


Well-equipped, self-sufficient, highly fit types who are looking for more adventure on their holiday than simply sipping mai tais by the resort poolside.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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