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Contact: Jin Prugsawan
Kula, Maui —Visitors intending to backpack in Haleakalā National Park will soon be able to reserve Haleakalā Crater wilderness campsites in advance. Reservations for wilderness campsites Palikū and Hōlua will go live on Recreation.gov beginning April 22, 2021 at 7 am Hawaiian Standard Time (HST). Wilderness campsites previously issued at the Headquarters Visitor Center are moving to this advance reservation system. All drive-up Kīpahulu and Hosmer Grove campgrounds remain closed at this time since Maui county is currently in the "High" Level of Community Transmission according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The new system responds directly to public requests for an easily accessible reservation system for wilderness campsites, prompting a collaborative effort between the National Park Service and Recreation.gov. Visitors will now have the ability to plan ahead with confidence and know they will have a place to stay and camp when they arrive. Additionally, the new system improves flexibility for the visitor experience by allowing campers to start their trip at any time of day. The reservation system will streamline the camping process, allowing park visitors to check the availability of sites in real time and receive immediate confirmation.
Reserve Your Wilderness Campsite in Advance: Visitors wishing to reserve a Crater campsite in the park at Palikū and Hōlua campsites will be able to do so by visiting Recreation.gov beginning April 22, 2021 at 7 am HST. Reservations will be available on a rolling six-month basis thereafter. Palikū and Hōlua reservations cost $8 if booking online or $9 if booking by phone.Visitors must create an account on the Recreation.gov website prior to making campsite reservations. Those who already have an account are encouraged to confirm their login and password information. This is the same reservation site to obtain a sunrise reservation in Haleakalā National Park.
Research the Wilderness Campsites in Advance: Hōlua and Palikū campsites are in Haleakalā Crater within the designated wilderness area of the park. Both sites are accessible by backpacking only. All campsite reservation holders must carry all gear and equipment by foot. The campsites are located in remote and primitive locations requiring strenuous hiking with elevation changes from 9,780 feet to a low of 6,380 feet. The Hōlua tent camping area is at 6,940 feet in elevation located in the shrubland near Koʻolau Gap. Hōlua is 3.7 miles one-way down the Halemauʻu Trail or 7.4 miles one-way from the Keoneheʻeheʻe (Sliding Sands) Trailhead. The Palikū tent camping area is at 6,380 feet in elevation on the eastern edge of the Haleakalā Crater near the base of a rainforest cliff. The tent camping areas are reached via a strenuous 9.3 miles one-way hike on the Keoneheʻeheʻe (Sliding Sands) Trail or 10.4 miles one-way on Halemauʻu Trail. Clouds and fog often roll over the top of the cliffs behind Palikū, and rain is common.
Plan for Unpredictable Weather: The wilderness area in Haleakalā Crater is remote and subject to unpredictable weather. Temperatures vary from 40°F to 70°F during the day and 30°F to 50°F at night. Plan for rain at all times of year. If it is stormy, winds can exceed 80 mph with temperatures dropping well below freezing. Collecting of firewood in the park is not permitted.
Filter Your Water: Hōlua and Palikū have non-potable water available for use via water catchment tanks (rainwater collected from metal shelter roofs). This water must be filtered or treated prior to consuming.
Leave No Trace: All hikers are required to pack out everything they pack in. Do not bury your trash or discard it in pit toilets—pack it out. Practice "leave no trace" camping. All fires are prohibited.
Establish a Trip Plan: Cell phone connectivity in the wilderness area of the Haleakalā Crater is not available. Prior to any trip, all backpackers should leave a trip plan with another person that includes the details of the time and locations they plan to hike. Make sure this person understands that should you become lost or injured on the trail, they are your only link to help and should report you overdue if you fail to contact them by a predesignated time. If lost, stay where you are. Use bright colors and reflective materials to attract attention.For more information on wilderness camping in Haleakalā National Park, visit: www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/wilderness-camping.htm.
Wilderness Tent Camping FAQs
Why are campsites moving to a reservation system?
The new system responds directly to public requests for an improved reservation process at park campsites and will help to ensure overcrowding does not occur in campsites during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Campsite reservations will allow for an enhanced visitor experience:
- Predictability—Visitors will have the ability to plan in advance with confidence.
- Certainty—Visitors know they will have a place to camp when they arrive.
- Choices—Visitors will be able to see site-specific information and photos and can choose their preferred campsite.
- Improved Park Experience—Visitors will no longer need to be physically in the park to know if there is camping available or show up at the visitor center between designated hours for wilderness crater campsites.
- Decreased Congestion, Improved Safety—Visitors will not have to experience crowding and congestion in campground areas which will allow for a safer experience that has, in the past, had a negative impact on park visitors.
Will some camping reservations be available as first-come, first-serve?
No, campsite reservations are only available through Recreation.gov. Reservations are not available in park and must be made online or over the phone through Recreation.gov.
How much does a reservation cost?
Wilderness Haleakalā Crater campsites Palikū or Hōlua reservations cost $8 if booking online via recreation.gov or $9 if booking via phone on Recreation.gov. All sites have a maximum stay of 3 nights in a 30-day period.
Camping use to be free, why is there now a cost to camp?
The rates cover the cost of online services and use of Recreation.gov. Reservations are available at a minimal cost. The National Park Service is required to ensure that rates charged to the public are reasonable for visitors and set in accordance with law and policy.
Is Drive-Up Camping in Kīpahulu and Hosmer Grove campgrounds open?
No, Kīpahulu and Hosmer Grove campgrounds remain closed at this time since Maui county is currently in the "High" Level of Community Transmission according to the Centers for Disease Control.
How long can I stay in the camp in Haleakalā National Park?
Overnight stays are limited to 3 nights total for all park areas in a 30-day period.
Can I sleep in my vehicle in Haleakalā National Park?
Sleeping in a vehicle is only allowed in a campsite registered to you or another member of your group. Sleeping in a vehicle in a parking lot or along the side of a road is prohibited.
How far in advance can I make a reservation?
Haleakalā National Park campsite online reservations with Recreation.gov will be open starting Month/Date/Year, and may be utilized to reserve sites up to six (6) months in advance.
Do I need an account on Recreation.gov to make a reservation?
Yes, visitors must create an account on the Recreation.gov website prior to making campsite reservations. Those who already have an account are encouraged to confirm their login and password information. This is the same reservation site to obtain an advance wilderness cabin reservation and sunrise reservation in Haleakalā National Park. (Note: Wilderness cabin reservations are closed and not avialable at this time.)
I’m already here in the park, can I make a reservation at the campground or visitor center?
No, campsite reservations are only available online. Same-day reservations may be available on recreation.gov due to any last-minute cancellations but visitors are urged to ensure they have a reservation prior to coming to the park before planning to stay overnight.
What happens if someone cancels or doesn't show up? May I get their campsite?
If cancellations occur or if a campsite remains available, visitors will be able to make “day of” reservations through Recreation.gov. Anyone camping in park campsites MUST have a reservation, with a confirmation email.
Can I give or sell my reservation or permit to someone else?
No, campsite reservations are non-transferable. Campsite reservations are only valid for the person who made the reservation and that person’s vehicle.
Does my campsite reservation cover the entrance fee?
No, the campsite reservation fee only covers the cost of your reservation. For more information on park entrance fees, visit: Fees & Passes - Haleakalā National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
What is recreation.gov?
Recreation.gov is a website and a tool to plan your next trip, figure out details, and reserve experiences at over 3,600 facilities and 103,000 individual sites across the country. The Recreation.gov mobile app puts adventure at your fingertips. From booking a sunrise reservation to planning a wilderness backpacking trip, the Recreation.gov app helps you find and reserve campsites, review location details, and quickly access information on past and upcoming reservations.
How can I provide comments about this system?
You may always contact us on our website. The superintendent’s office receives all comments about the online camping reservation system.
How long will the camping reservation system be in place?
This system is temporary to address public health concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The park is currently planning to operate this system in 2021 and will re-evaluate the need for the system based on public health guidance.
Last updated: April 23, 2021