I couldn’t leave Maui without visiting the Haleakala Crater. All the sunrise permits were sold out for the week of our trip so Mike and I headed out there later in the day to hike into the crater and make it back out for sunset. The Sliding Sands Trail starts at 10,000 ft of elevation on the crater rim and descends 4 miles into the base of the crater.
This hike was far different from the lush green jungles I had done so far in Hawaii. Walking into the crater looked like what I would imagine Mars to be. Bouts of fog rolled in and out giving us views of an array of colors in the different layers of pumice stones. Cinder cones from past eruptions sprouted like small pyramids in its center. Each one a different color, a slightly different shape. And the largest rising several stories high.
After exploring the bottom of the crater for a few minutes, we began the trek back up and out. I have climbed mountains before at 10,000 ft of but I was used to going up, then coming back down. Descending BEFORE ascending felt much harder, especially with the lack of oxygen at such a high elevation.
When we finally made it back to the top of the rim the clouds were too think to see the sunset, but it didn’t even matter. I got to experience the crater and some fun along the way!
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Before attempting the Sliding Sands Trail, please visit ALLTRAILS.COMfor hike difficulty, gear requirements, and recent trip reports.