Sliding Sands Trail
ElevationAscent: 60' 18 m
Descent: -3,155' -962 m
High: 9,785' 2,983 m
Low: 6,656' 2,029 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
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“This long distance voyage over mars-like lava and cinder feels distinctly otherworldly.”— Megan W
Family Friendly While you won't want to take the kiddos on the full length of this trail, a short out and back from the west end near the Visitor Center is a great option to give them a sense of hiking in the park.
Stay straight to continue along the dry and shade-less Sliding Sands Trail. The crowds of people disappear the further down the trail you go. After a steeper downhill section of trail around mile 4, the grade decreases considerably and becomes almost level but rockier along the crater floor. The intersection for Connector A appears just after mile 4. Follow along due eastwards under a long ridgeline encountering ever more vegetation. Soon after the junctions with Connector B and Connector C, spy the welcome sight of the rustic Kapalaoa Cabin where Connector F meets the Sliding Sands Trail. Permits are required to stay overnight at the cabin but there are pit toilets and usually filterable water. Colorful cones and cliffs are the main views from here. Begin a tough descent through loose rock and lava fields towards the northeast to eventually join the Halemau'u Trail near its terminus.
Heed the warnings and be prepared for cold and unpredictable weather. Also, be aware that the high altitude will cause dehydration and fatigue much faster than at sea-level. As of this writing, no food is available for purchase inside the park, so bring your own.
Note: commercial horse tours also use this trail so watch out for droppings.
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Land Manager: National Park Service - Haleakalā