Wilderness Cabins

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Preparing for the Backcountry of Haleakalā National Park

To thoroughly enjoy your backcountry experience at Haleakalā, whether it’s for an hour, a day, or multiple days, you need to be fully prepared. Here are helpful tips for hiking in the backcountry at Haleakalā National Park.

Tip #1: Plan ahead

 Select a route and destination, keeping in mind the distance and ability of other hikers in
your group, including kids.
 Hiking uphill takes about twice the time it takes to hike downhill.
 Check the visitor center for updates on weather or trail conditions.
 Always carry a map. Maps are available at www.nps.gov/hale or the visitor center.

Tip #2: Have the right gear and supplies

 Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots with ankle support.
 Carry adequate amounts of water and food.
 Water is only available at remote cabins, and must be treated.
 Dress in layers for a variety of weather conditions.
 Use a comfortable backpack.
 Pack essential items in a plastic bag inside of your backpack to keep items dry.

Tip #3: Be prepared for emergencies

 There is no cell phone coverage through most of the backcountry. You must be self reliant during emergencies. Help may not be available for hours or days.
 Carry a first aid kit, flashlight, signal mirror, and survival gear. Your life might depend on it!

Suggested Hiking Gear: Backpack, Hiking shoes, Water, Food, Raingear, Warm jacket, Synthetic clothing for layering, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Hat, Flashlight, Map, First aid kit, Medications,
Survival kit (signal mirror, matches, knife, compass), Warm sleeping bag, Water filter

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4 minutes, 2 seconds

To thoroughly enjoy your backcountry experience at Haleakalā, whether it’s for an hour, a day, or multiple days, you need to be fully prepared. Here are helpful tips for hiking in the backcountry at Haleakalā National Park.


Three Wilderness cabins are maintained by the National Park Service for visitor use by advanced reservation. The Wilderness cabins are accessible only by trail. To reach the cabins, you must hike a minimum of 3.7 miles (5.9km) to Hōlua, 5.5 miles (8.9km) to Kapalaoa, and 9.3 miles (15km) to Palikū.

The cabin permit is NON-TRANSFERABLE. The permittee must be present on the entire trip and is legally responsible for the actions and safety of their group. Each person is limited to a maximum of three (3) nights per 30-day period in Wilderness area campsites and cabins, with no more than 2 nights at any one site. Maximum group size in the wilderness is 12 persons. Groups and/or organizations with more than 12 may not split into smaller groups. Groups may not reserve back-to-back reservations exceeding three (3) nights. The permittee must be an adult age 18 or older, must have photo identification, and must accompany the group using a cabin.

Requesting a Cabin:
Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance. Reservations are made using Reserve America's website at www.recreation.gov. Reserve America's call center phone number is 877-444-6777.

Permit Pick-up:
Your cabin permit must be picked up at Headquarters Visitor Center between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on the day you are hiking in. The permittee must bring photo identification.

Each person staying in a cabin is required to watch a 10-minute orientation video at Headquarters Visitor Center.

Costs & Cancellations:
There is a flat fee of $75 per night per cabin which accommodates up to 12 people. A $10 service fee per reservation night is charged for any changes to the reservation. Cancellations made more than 21 days in advance of the reservation date will be refunded minus the $10 service fee per night.

Cabin Information:
Hōlua, Kapalaoa, and Palikū cabins are rugged but historic cabins located in Congressionally-designated wilderness. They have limited amenities such as pit toilets and water available near the cabin. The water is non-potable and must be filtered or treated before drinking. Each cabin has a wood-burning stove with limited firewood that must be conserved, cooking utensils, dishes, and 12 padded bunks. In times of drought, cookware will be removed and you must pack in all your water. There is no electricity in the cabins.

All Haleakalā National Park backcountry cabins are rustic wilderness facilities and are not checked by NPS staff daily. Although some amenities, such as propane and firewood, may be available, we cannot guarantee this nor what quantities you will find when you arrive. All wilderness campers should be prepared for cold backcountry conditions with backup cold weather camping gear, portable light sources, and a camp cook stove. Firewood and fire starters are available for purchase at the Headquarters Visitor Center and can be packed in.

Hiking off designated trails or taking shortcuts is prohibited. Off-trail hiking causes erosion and damages fragile life forms. Bicycles and other wheeled transportation are not permitted. Horses and mules are permitted at Palikū and Hōlua. Quiet hours are 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM. Please respect the privacy of others camping around you and leave the site in the same or better condition that you found it.

It is the permittee's responsibility to ensure that the members of their group are appropriately equipped and properly prepared for hiking at altitude and in extreme weather conditions (heavy rain, high winds) and can hike/backpack up to 10 miles one way to the reserved cabin(s).


To download the preparation list from the video above, please click here.

Prepare for your trip
The Wilderness Area is remote and experiences unpredictable weather. Temperatures vary from 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Plan for rain at all times of year. 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.

Allow for adequate travel time.

Packing List - Necessities:
- Trowel, toilet paper, zippered plastic bags (for carrying out toilet paper)
- Layered, warm clothing (avoid cotton)
- Full rain gear
- Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen/sunblock
- Water bottles (2 liters/person/day)
- Sturdy shoes, extra socks
- Hiking poles
- Water treatment supplies
- Bags for trash
- Sleeping bag
- First aid kit
- Flashlight or headlamp, extra batteries
- Portable lantern or dripless candles
- Kindling (newspaper, cardboard)
- Lighter or matches (preferably waterproof)
- Emergency contact phone numbers

Packing List - Suggested Items:
- Camera
- Slippers or camp shoes
- Toiletries
- Sponge or rag for cleaning
- Can opener
- Playing card, books

View Haleakalā NP's Leave No Trace™ video for a glimpse of the unique environment you will be visiting and helpful preparation tips.
Note: Overnight hikers are required to view this video in the visitor center whether or not they have viewed it online.

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11 minutes, 58 seconds

Prepare for your trip by viewing Haleakalā NP's Leave No Trace™ video  in advance.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Haleakalā National Park
PO Box 369

Makawao, HI 96768


(808) 572-4400

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