There are two primitive wilderness tent areas which are accessible only by trail, Hōlua and Palikū.
Hōlua, the wilderness tent area reached by the shortest hike, lies at 6,940 ft (2,115m) in the shrubland near Koʻolau Gap. Hōlua is 3.7 mi (6 km) one way down the Halemauʻu trail or 7.4 mi one way (12km) from the Keoneheʻeheʻe (sliding sands) trailhead. Visitors staying at Hōlua can enjoy day hikes further into the crater. The landscape around Hōlua supports a native shrubland which colonizes the lava flows.
At 6,380 ft (1,945m), Palikū is on the east end of the wilderness valley at the base of a rain forest cliff. This wilderness tent area is reached via a strenuous 9.3 mi (15km) one way hike on the Keoneheʻeheʻe (sliding sands) Trail or 10.4 mi (17km) one way hike on the Halemauʻu Trail. Clouds and fog often roll over the top of the cliffs behind Palikū, and rain is common. The extra moisture makes this spot exceptionally cool and lush.
Both wilderness tent areas have 4 designated individual tent sites (5 people, 2 tents maximum) and 1 group site (10 people, 4 tents maximum). One pit toilet is located nearby in both wilderness tent areas. A non-potable water spigot is located outside of the wilderness visitor cabins adjacent to the wilderness tent areas.
REQUIRED: Prior to their trip, all visitors MUST watch “Haleakalā NP’s Leave No Trace (LNT) Video” to set expectations on how to recreate responsibly in Haleakalā National Park’s wilderness. www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping.htm
Reservation Permit. A printed copy of the reservation must be held by the reservation holder at all times. The reservation holder is legally responsible for the actions and safety of the group. Be prepared for weather extremes. Leave an itinerary and guest list with a friend.
License Plate. If you are renting a vehicle- please enter “Rental” in the license plate form field. When you arrive on island, you MUST log back into recreation.gov to enter your rental car plate. Once your permit is printed you cannot edit your license plates.
Water. The park is currently experiencing drought conditions (8/2021). Palikū campers plan to pack in water or stop to replenish supplies at Hōlua or Kapalaoa visitor cabin spigots. There are non-potable water spigots located near the campsites. All water must be filtered or treated prior to consumption. Water is not guaranteed, bring enough water with you for your trip. In times of drought, all water must be carried in.
Restrictions. NO pets, firearms or wheeled vehicles. NO feeding or harassment of wildlife. NO picking plants, disturbing rocks, building cairns.
Stay On Trails. Haleakalā is an on-trail park. Please stay on all designated trails. Hiking off trail and short-cutting switchbacks is prohibited and subject to citation. Off-trail hiking causes erosion and damages fragile and/or endangered life forms that are not readily apparent to the casual observer.
NO Fires. Open fires or gathering firewood is NOT allowed.
Wilderness. These campsites are located in federally designated wilderness. There is no cell service accessible within any part of the crater.
Essentials: first aid kit, trail map, compass, extra food, Extra water (3 - 4 liters per person/day), flashlight, headlight with extra batteries, tent/shelter with rain fly, sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, hat), sleeping bag, emergency blanket, extra layers (rain jacket/pants), pocket knife and gear repair kit
Quiet Hours. Respect other visitors' right to quiet and solitude--quiet hours are 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Trash. Pack out ALL trash that is brought into the crater.
Visitor Cabins. There are cabins located nearby both campsites. A reservation for a campsite does NOT grant access to the cabins. All campers must respect cabin user privacy and will not be let in by those with a cabin permit. Cabin reservations may be made separately here.
Visited Hawaii Island or Kauai recently? All gear, especially tent and shoes must be cleaned thoroughly to prevent rapid ʻōhia death (ROD) Wiping down gear with a 70% alcohol solution is recommeneded to satisfy this requirement.
Kaupō Gap Trail: The Kaupō Gap Trail leaves the boundary of Haleakalā National Park and is not maintained by the NPS. Hikers assume all risk on this rugged, unmaintained, and brushy trail. At times, the trail can be difficult to follow or find. Several hikers have become disoriented, lost, or injured while navigating this trail. NPS officials highly recommend travel on either the Halemauʻu or Keoneheʻeheʻe Trails to access Haleakalā Crater.
Sites are located inside Haleakalā crater and involve a strenuous hike. Campers should prepare for hot, sunny, cold, wet, and windy conditions as weather can change rapidly. There is no shade or water on the crater floor, and temperatures can vary from 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit at night, so pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and layers. If it is stormy, winds can exceed 80 miles per hour with temperatures dropping well below freezing.
Hiking trails may be steep. Terrain may include loose cinders and/or rocks. Change in altitude can be from a high of 9,780ft to a low of 6,380ft. Due to the soft sandy nature of the trails, plan on spending twice as much time to hike out as to hike in.
Campsites are located near the wilderness visitor cabins. A wilderness tent permit does not grant access to any wilderness cabin within the crater. Wilderness cabins can be reserved through rec.gov.
Both tent areas are wonderful opportunities for night sky viewing in what's considered one of the quietest natural places on earth! Campers may even come across native species such as the Nēnē (Hawaiian goose). Please remember to keep your distance from any wildlife and refrain from freeding them.
From both Hōlua and Palikū campsites, campers have the option to day hike on trail through the crater. Locations to enjoy from Hōlua may be the Silversword loop or the loop around Halaliʻi cinder cone. Locations to enjoy from Palikū may be a loop hike toward Kapaloa or toward Kaupo Gap and back. Visit https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/maps.htm to plan your day hikes from either campsite. Please stay on designated trails throughout your crater journey and pack out everything with you!
Reservations are non-transferable and non-refundable.
PO Box 369 Makawao HI 96768
For campground inquiries, please call: 808-572-4487
For maps of the island and the park visit https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/maps.htm
To the Summit District of Haleakalā National Park: There are brown information signs along the way. From Kahului, take Hana Highway (SR36) and travel 2.0 miles (toward Hana). Turn right onto Haleakalā Highway (SR37) and travel for 7.8 miles. Turn left onto State Highway 377 and travel for 6 miles. Turn left onto Crater Road (large brown wooden Haleakalā NP sign mounted in median) and travel for 1.2 miles. Continue on Crater Road for 9.9 miles to arrive at the park boundary/entrance station. The summit of Haleakalā (elevation 10,023ft 3055m) is 11 miles further and about an additional 30-minute drive, beyond the entrance station.
To Headquarters Visitor Center: The Headquarters visitor center will be the first building on the right hand side of the road past the entrance station. Here you can use flush toilets and fill up on water prior to starting your hike.
To Halemauʻu Trailhead: From the Headquarters visitor center, continue up 3 switchbacks to the first pull-off on the left hand side marked "Halemauʻu Trailhead". You may choose to begin your hike at this trailhead (3.7 mi (6 km) one way to Hōlua; 10.4 mi (17km) one way to Palikū).
To Keoneheʻeheʻe (sliding sands) Trailhead: From the Headquarters visitor center, drive 11 miles up several switchbacks (about a 30 minute drive) to the Haleakalā Visitor Center parking lot. Once you enter the lot, the trailhead is on the right hand side. You may choose to being your hike at this trailhead (7.4 mi (12 km) one way to Hōlua; 9.3 mi (15km) one way to Palikū).