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Challenge yourself on a spectacularly unique and scenic romp through a lunar landscape.

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Out and Back

9,769' 2,978 m


8,535' 2,602 m


1,239' 378 m


1,239' 378 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (12°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly With the option to make this as short or as long of an out and back excursion as the kids can handle, this trail is a great option for kids to see the amazing sights of the park.


A hike on the Sliding Sands Trail is a great way to experience all the highlights of a trip to Haleakala. You'll navigate through the martian landscape, see the rare silversword plants, and explore the vibrantly colored hillsides. Word to the wise: although this is a very worthwhile outing, save some energy for the uphill trek back to the visitor center.

Need to Know

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.


The views from the Sliding Sands Trail are sweeping and majestic, and you won't want to miss the opportunity to hike on this trail which is one of the most popular in the park. Start from the second Haleakala Visitor Center (the one that is near the summit). Follow signs marking the beginning of the Sliding Sands Trail (also called Keonehe'ehe'e). After an initial section close to the road, the path switchbacks downhill through loose sand from the crater rim. The stark landscape with little vegetation continues as you head eastward through multi-colored hillsides. Keep an eye open for the Ka Lu'u o ka 'O'o Cinder Cone in the distance to the north.

Contour along the hillside, with views of the hillsides stretching out before you. Also, keep an eye open for the rare and beautiful Silverswords along the way. Silverswords live between 3 and 90 years or more. They flower once, sending up a spectacular flowering stalk, and then die soon afterward, scattering drying seeds to the wind. At about 2 miles, you'll pass between tall shattered-looking rock formations, the only shade you'll experience on this excursion.

For this out-and-back option, turn around at the rock formation and head back the way you came. Hikers have the option to make this as long (or as short) of an out-and-back hike as they would like as the Sliding Sands Trail continues on for another 6 miles from this turnaround point. Be sure to take frequent breaks on the climb back up, the loose soil and elevation will make the ascent more taxing.

Flora & Fauna

Silverswords dot the trail.


Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 24 votes


  4.5 from 24 votes
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in Hawaii


50 Views Last Month
8,003 Since Apr 28, 2016



Haleakala Crater
Sep 22, 2015 near Kēōkea, HI
The early morning sun takes a while to get things heated up in the winter. But it will get there.
Dec 31, 2019 near Kēōkea, HI
Eerie morning light surrounds the visitor center just after dawn.
Dec 31, 2019 near Kēōkea, HI
The first portion of the Sliding Sands Trail is wide and fairly smooth.
Dec 31, 2019 near Kēōkea, HI
It's a pretty raw and landscape down there.
Dec 31, 2019 near Kēōkea, HI
Just after sunrise on Haleakala...
Aug 31, 2017 near Kēōkea, HI



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jul 14, 2023
Kylie Willis
With Rachie 3mi
Feb 21, 2023
Manoj Abey
Oct 7, 2022
Kimberly Wong
Aug 3, 2022
Trevor Moore
Oct 8, 2021
Mike Yee
Feb 6, 2021
Tom Herr
Hiked down and back on my last day. Starting temp of 34 with snow on trail up top. Great hike and would do this anytime. 4.2mi
Jan 14, 2020
David Scott
Dec 22, 2019
Jamie Marshall