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Main trails into Haleakala Crater to fully open for day hikes Wednesday

Two hikers tackle Keonehe‘ehe‘e Trail in June 2019. The trail, also known as Sliding Sands Trail, and Halemau‘u Trail will be open for day hikes beginning Wednesday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Maui News

The Keonehe’ehe’e (Sliding Sands) Trail and Halemau’u Trail in Haleakala Crater are open for day hikes starting Wednesday, the national park announced Monday.

Haleakala National Park, which closed March 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been opening up facilities and attractions slowly since late May. On Sept. 4, the park opened the first 2.5 miles of Keonehe’ehe’e Trail into the crater Friday to Sunday.

All crater trails will be open for day-use only. Further increases in access will be based on continued downward trajectories for COVID-19 cases on Maui and decreasing risks to visitors, employees, volunteers and partners, the national park said.

Other facilities open include:

• The Summit District, from the park entrance to the summit at 10,023 feet, daily.

• Sunrise reservations, which allow access to the Summit District from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. daily. Reservations may be made at Recreation.gov up to seven days in advance. The cost for a sunrise viewing reservation is $1 per vehicle; separate entrance fees will be collected upon entry to the park. Sunrise reservations must be made prior to visiting the park and can only be made online. For questions about reservations, call the recreation.gov hotline at (877) 444-6777.

• Hosmer Grove Trail, Supply Trail from Hosmer Grove to Halemau’u Trail, Leleiwi Overlook Trail and Pa Ka’oao (White Hill) Trail, all in the Summit District.

• Hosmer Grove Picnic Shelter and Kalahaku Overlook in the Summit District.

• The Kipahulu District from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

• The Pipiwai and Kuloa Point trails in the Kipahulu District, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Attractions still closed include:

• The Pools of ‘O’heo in the Kipahulu District.

• Overnight use of Halemau’u, Kaupo and other crater trails.

• Backcountry cabins and the cabin reservation system and tent campgrounds at Holua and Paliku.

• Sunset and overnight activities; park gates close at 5 p.m.

• All park visitor centers, including Haleakala Visitor Center at 9,740 feet (public restrooms remain open), Headquarters Visitor Center at 7,000 feet (public restrooms remain open), and Kipahulu Visitor Center (public restrooms remain open).

• Red Hill Observatory at 10,023 feet.

• Kipahulu Campground and Hosmer Grove Campground.

“We are happy to have over 30 miles of trails available for the local community to recreate in the Summit District of Haleakala,” said Natalie Gates, superintendent of Haleakala National Park. “It is our kuleana to keep each other safe while enjoying special places like Haleakala.

“As people explore the trails, we want to remind them to continue recreating responsibly through social distancing, wearing a mask, and following public health guidance. Maui County currently prohibits groups of 10 or more from congregating,” added Gates.

A safe and enjoyable park experience begins at home. The National Park Service encourages visitors to plan their visit by checking the park’s website (www.nps.gov/hale/ index.htm) and social media for current conditions and travel tips.

For those looking for virtual experiences to enjoy the park, the following virtual experiences are available:

• Virtual tour of the Haleakala Visitor Center and exhibits at www.nps.gov/hale/learn/photosmultimedia/virtual-tours.htm.

• Haleakala Online Junior Ranger Program, where visitors can explore and learn about the park from home at www.nps.gov/hale/learn/kidsyouth/be-a-junior-ranger.htm.

“Haleakala: A Sacred Landscape,” a 12-minute park orientation film, at www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzXQ6d_klqs&t=7s.

“Koa Talking to Me,” a 4-minute film on a Hawaiian man’s love for koa trees, at www.youtube.com/watch?v=APPhWGFtsLs&t=16s.

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