Kalahaku Overlook – one of the best Haleakala lookouts
The Haleakala Crater is famous for providing exquisite views above the clouds. At various points on this mountain you can see all the way down the island of Maui to other Hawaiian islands and further out in the Pacific Ocean.
The Kalahaku Overlook offers something a little bit different that isn’t as available in as many places on the mountain. Not only can you see down the mountain to the ocean, but from this overlook you will be situated on the top edge of the mountaintop crater.
- Kalahaku Overlook – one of the best Haleakala lookouts
- What you See From the Kalahaku Overlook
- Kalahaku Overlook Location
Why you should stop to see the Kalahaku Overlook on your way up to the summit
Other than the visitors center and the observatory at the top, this is my favorite overlook – so many people don’t bother to stop when heading up the mountain.
Provides phenomenal views of the inside of the crater – not down towards where the sun sets or rises – can still seat out off side of mountain that you are above the clouds – but this is a perfect MIDDLE of the day spot and not a sunrise or sunset generally – still phenomal – but not seeing it fall below the coastline
Perfect for the non-hikers out there.
Only a .1 mile walk to get there i.e. the parking lot is 1 set of stairs below the lookout.
What you See From the Kalahaku Overlook
Without a little bit of explanation you might be a little confused about what you are looking at.
When peering down into the crater you will be able to see the famous cinder cones of Haleakala Crater.
A cinder cone is what is left after what shot out of an erupting volcano comes back down to earth. It forms a rising cylinder around the vent that we now see as a cinder cone. They are pretty cool to look at, and thankfully none are currently active and likely to shoot lava out.
Sliding Sands Trail
One of the most unique and amazing hikes has a striking trail that you can see from miles away descending into the creator. From the Kalahaku Overlook you can see where the trail goes down into the crater.
I love this trail and highly recommend you make time to hike it. Read more about it here.
Being above the clouds
This is a great place to take photos because you won’t have to fight the crowds if you go during the day. Not sure how crowded it gets during sunrise or sunset but it would also be an amazing sunset location as well.
Kalahaku Overlook Location
This overlook is almost all the way up the mountain. From most parts of Maui it takes about an hour and a half to get all the way up to the summit, and this is only about 6 minutes or just over 2 miles below that.
The turn off the main road is almost immediately into the parking lot, so don’t think that this detour will cost you a lot of time as you head up the mountain.
Kalahaku Overlook Stargazing
Like virtually anywhere on top of the mountain, this is a perfect place for stargazing. The enhanced ability to see out into the heavens is likely why the the Haleakala Observatory is also located on top of this mountain.
If you head up for a sunset you should consider sticking around longer to take advantage of the Kalahaku Overlook stargazing opportunities.
Kalahaku Overlook History
Previously there was a structure on this overlook that served as a rest house for travelers heading up the mountain. It wasn’t easy to get all the way up before there was a paved road and if you did it on foot or with a horse you definitely needed to rest along the way.
There are not very many spots available but when we were there during the later afternoon there were hardly anyone else there.
There are also restrooms in the parking lot.
What to Pack for Maui
- Quick Dry Travel Towel – This quick dry towel is amazing to travel with. It really will come in handy when you need extra room in your suitcase.
- Snorkeling gear – for obvious reasons.
- Hiking boots – I have two pairs of hiking boots that I love. My Columbia waterproof boots and my Salomon hiking boots. Highly recommend checking them both out!
- Sandals – LOVE these Teva’s! They are my new go to travel sandal. Shop my favorite Teva’s here. They are great to wear in the water snorkeling and also amazing for hiking in Hawaii.
- Dresses for Hawaii – Packing a few good dresses is essential for Hawaii. Dresses have become my go to on trips to help quickly put an outfit together. Revolve is one of my go to shops for beach dresses. ASOS also has great summer dresses.
- Shorts – Anyone who is traveling to Hawaii needs a good pair of shorts. Khakis are great for guys. For women, cute athletic shorts or denim shorts are perfect for a breezy summertime look. These Levi denim shorts are my current favorites! These high waisted athletic shorts have gone viral on instagram and for good reason, they are AMAZING.
- Sports bra – This SKIMS bra is the most comfortable sports bra you will ever wear! Trust me. I travel with 5 of them. Also, highly recommend checking out the SKIMS fits everybody bra is to die for as well.
- Agolde 90’s jeans – I actually can’t remember the last trip I have been on where I haven’t brought these Agolde jeans. I have them in multiple colors and sizes. Check out my full review here.
- Tank tops – Free people is my go to place to buy cute and affordable tank tops. I have this tighten up tank in almost every color.
- Hat – essential. Shop the newest hats at Nordstrom.
- Beach cover-up – Having at least one good cover-up is essential on any beach trip. I recommend ASOS, Nordstrom and Revolve as well.
- Tennis Shoes – I guess you could wear sandals hiking the trails in Maui but I would recommend tennis shoes or hiking boots. It can get narrow and slippery in parts. These New Balance shoes are amazing. Only problem is they sell out so fast! Blah. They look so cute with shorts too!
- Packing cubes – I always go to Urban Outfitters for my packing cubes. They have the cutest ones!
Planning a trip to Maui? Here are our best MAUI BLOG POSTS:
My husband and I have been to Maui a couple times and have written up more blog posts to help you plan your trip. These are my most popular blog posts and Hawaii travel guides to help you plan your trip. I hope it helps!
Maui general trip planning
- Guide to Visiting the Red Sand Beach– One of the best beaches in Maui!
- Hookipa Beach – (Best beach to see turtles in Maui)
- Makena Beach/Big Beach (One of my favorite beaches in Maui)
- Little Beach (also known as Oneloa Beach) – WARNING – nude beach.
- Oneuli Beach – Black sand beach
- Maluaka Beach – all around great beach
- Slaughterhouse Beach – (AKA Mokuleia Bay)
- La Perouse Beach (Bay) – great snorkeling tours here. Best if reached by boat.
Maui Hikes & Lookouts
- Sliding Sands Trail – (also known as Keonehe’ehe’e Trail) is one of the most unique hikes on Earth!
- Waihee Ridge Trail – Most Underrated Maui Hike
- Hoapili Trail – (Hike through lava fields in Maui)
- Dragon’s Teeth Hike
- Ohai Trail Loop – (Easy but Awesome)
- Leleiwi Overlook in Haleakala National Park – (Maui must see!)
- 6 Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls – The Best and Most Easily Accessible Maui Waterfalls
- 7 Waterfalls in Maui That You Can Swim In – Must see!
- 13 WATERFALLS IN MAUI YOU CAN’T MISS
- Nakalele Blowhole – (100 foot Maui blowhole)
- Olivine Pools in Maui – What you need to know before going