Haleakala National Park: Come Star Gazing

Denise Chen - Apr 25, 2011
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The Haleakala National Park on Maui is one of the most attractive tourism destinations in Hawaii. More than 30,000 acres make up the park, nearly 25,000 of which are designated wilderness.

Recreational opportunities abound in the park ranging from horseback tours and hiking to supernatural star-gazing from Maui’s highest summit, the volcano Haleakala. Adventurous visitors can backpack through the crater and stay at the few cabins and campsites that make this cosmic display accessible.

Watching the sunrise at Haleakala is considered a cosmic ritual. In their quest for the day’s benediction, viewers bundle up hours before sunrise to make the hour-and-a-half drive from Kahului to the summit. The journey reaches a crescendo when the first rays of light ignite the eerie landscape in hues of umber, amber, rose and jade.

Haleakala is the largest dormant volcano in the world – but there’s nothing sleepy about it. It teems with power and energy, attracting more than a million and a half people every year. Awestruck visitors have described the drive to its summit as an experience similar to leaving the tropics and arriving on the moon. Dramatic changes in climate, mood and vegetation occur as the road winds upward for 38 miles and swaying tropical palms give way to pines, eucalyptus, and giant, shade-giving redwoods.

Haleakala, the House of the Sun, has attained the mythic stature in the lore of Maui since it rises 10,023 feet high. Its crater looks like the moon and yawns to the sun. Its flanks form rainforest, farmland, deep gulches, vertical canyons, and sprawling acres of greened-over cinder that slope gracefully to the sea.

Even guests who wish to remain closer to the ground can view Hawaii’s celestial skies with the new Celestron high-definition 14-inch aplanic telescope, Hawaii’s only recreational HD telescope which is located at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort. The telescope offers better views, greater clarity, and photography opportunities.

Stargazers can view rare constellations here and take close-up photos of the moon’s surface, while learning intriguing stories of ancient Polynesian way-finding and constellation myths.

By Maui Visitors Bureau

http://www.gohawaii.com/maui

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