HONOLULU (KHON2) — Beginning July 1, visitors may reserve wilderness cabins Hōlua and Kapalaoa to stay overnight in Haleakalā Crater. The system goes live at 7 a.m. HST.
A new change for cabin users is that they are no longer required to check in at the Headquarters Visitor Center. They may start their trip on the reserved date once they acquire their permit. Cabin reservations cannot be done in person; they must be made online here.
The remote Palikū wilderness cabin remains temporarily closed due to the ongoing drought and water shortages. Backpackers staying at Palikū wilderness campsites should pack water or fill up at Kapalaoa prior to arriving at Palikū campground since there may not be access to water.
The Palikū and Hōlua wilderness campsites, as well as Hosmer Grove Campground, are open. The drive-up Kīpahulu Campground remains closed.
Haleakalā National Park recommends these tips:
Reserve Your Wilderness Cabin in Advance: Reservations can be made up to six months in advance and will be available on a rolling six-month basis thereafter. Visitors must create an account here prior to making wilderness cabin reservations. This is the same reservation site to obtain a sunrise reservation, wilderness campsite, and drive-up campsite at Hosmer Grove in Haleakalā National Park.
It costs $75 per night, for a maximum stay of three nights per 30-day period. Cabin capacities have been temporarily reduced to a maximum of four occupants due to COVID-19 restrictions. There are only four bunks available in the cabins for use. Cabin reservation holders should not exceed this limit. Camping outside the cabin in non-designated camping space is prohibited, and cabin permits are non-transferable. A printed reservation from the confirmation email must be carried at all times.
Research the Wilderness Cabins in Advance: Hōlua and Kapalaoa wilderness cabins are in Haleakalā Crater within the designated wilderness area of the park. All sites are accessible by backpacking only and in areas that are extremely remote. Cabins are primitive, with each cabin containing a wood-burning stove and propane stove; there is no electricity. Shared cookware, bedding, or extra logs are not available and must be brought in by wilderness cabin users. All wilderness cabin reservation holders must carry all gear and equipment by foot. All wilderness cabin users should be prepared for cold backcountry conditions with backup cold weather camping gear, portable light sources, and a camp cook stove. Cabin users are also advised to bring their own cleaning supplies to sanitize the cabins before and after use.
Backpacking to the Wilderness Cabins: The cabins are located in remote and primitive locations requiring strenuous hiking with elevation changes from 9,780 feet to a low of 6,380 feet. The Hōlua wilderness cabin is at 6,940 feet in elevation located in the shrubland near Koʻolau Gap. Hōlua is 3.7 miles one-way down the Halemauʻu Trail or 7.4 miles one-way from the Keoneheʻeheʻe (Sliding Sands) Trailhead. The Kapalaoa wilderness cabin is at 7,250 feet in elevation on the southern edge of the Haleakalā Crater. The cabin is reached via a strenuous 5.5 miles one-way hike on the Keoneheʻeheʻe (Sliding Sands) Trail or 7.2 miles one-way on Halemauʻu Trail.
Plan for Unpredictable Weather: The wilderness area in Haleakalā Crater is remote and subject to unpredictable weather. Temperatures vary from 40°F to 70°F during the day and 30°F to 50°F at night. Plan for rain at all times of year. If it is stormy, winds can exceed 80 mph with temperatures dropping well below freezing. Collecting firewood in the park is not permitted.
Filter Your Water: Hōlua and Kapalaoa have non-potable water available for use via water catchment tanks (rainwater collected from metal shelter roofs). This water must be filtered or treated prior to consuming.
Leave No Trace: All hikers are required to pack out everything they pack in. Do not leave your trash in the cabins, bury your trash, or discard it in pit toilets—pack it out. Practice “leave no trace” camping. All fires are prohibited. Upon receiving your reservation, watch the Leave No Trace video for helpful tips on how you can help protect Haleakalā Crater.
Establish a Trip Plan: Cell phone connectivity in the wilderness area of the Haleakalā Crater is not available. Prior to any trip, all backpackers should leave a trip plan with another person that includes the details of the time and locations they plan to hike. Make sure this person understands that should you become lost or injured on the trail, they are your only link to help and should report you overdue if you fail to contact them by a predesignated time. If lost, stay where you are. Use bright colors and reflective materials to attract attention.
Click here for more information on wilderness cabins in Haleakalā National Park.