The proposal for cabins in Haleakalā Crater was part of the 1935 master plan for the development of the Haleakalā Section of Hawai'i National Park. In 1936, a standard “Haleakalā Shelter Cabin” plan was developed showcasing the NPS rustic style of design that blended structures into the natural environment. It wasn’t until 1937 that the cabins were built by contracted carpenters with Civilian Conservation Corps workers bringing in the materials using mules and horses, as well as hauling supplies on their back. Today, the Hōlua, Kapalaoa and Palikū cabins are still being used as originally intended--to provide accommodation to visitors hiking in the crater. Haleakalā Crater was designated as wilderness in 1976. The Hōlua and Palikū Wilderness campgrounds were developed in the 1970s.
The three 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.
Requesting a Cabin:
Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance at 10 AM EST. Reservations are made using Reserve America's website at www.recreation.gov. Reserve America's call center phone number is 1-877-444-6777.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To reduce helicopter noise and impacts to the wildlife and visitors, Haleakalā National Park will be implementing a new wood locker system for backcountry cabin users starting November 1, 2018. Each of the park's three cabins will be equipped with 18 lockers and each locker will contain three logs. Locker combinations will be assigned and issed by park staff (one locker combination per night) at the time of the check in for cabin permits at Headquarters Visitor Center (at 7,000 ft. elevation) in the summit district. Any visitors wanting to pack in more wood can purchase logs and fire starters at the gift store during check in. Each log weighs 5 lbs.
By using the locker, you will be helping the park by:
- Providing a more reliable supply of logs for cabin users than the current system
- Saving significant resources (staff time and funds)
- Reducing safety risks to NPS staff when managing helicopter operations
- Reducing helicopter trips and resulting impacts of helicopters to wilderness values and endangered species
- Encouraging responsible energy use by visitors
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).