Sliding Sands Trail and Halamau‘u Trail
Not for the faint of heart, this extreme 12-mile trail traverses the Haleakala summit, where the air is cooler and thinner, with ever-changing weather. Be prepared for fog and rain, with no shade cover. The hike starts at the Haleakala Visitor Center at 9,740ft and descends to the crater floor. Due to the challenging and strenuous terrain, the trail is quiet, desolate, and empty, but rewards with hauntingly beautiful views of multi-colored sand dunes, craggy cliffs, silverswords, and cinder mounds. Apollo astronauts have trained on this barren field to mimic lunar landings, so take the opportunity to feel a little bit like you're at space camp. Shorter trips are also an option, but adventurous and advanced trailblazers should attempt this daylong journey, at least once -- just be sure to plan well for multiple climates and shifting elements.