Mt. Haleakala, a 10,023' dormant volcano, dominates Maui's landscape. It, along with the West
Maui Mountains make up the vast bulk of the island. From sea level to the summit is about 38
miles. It is the highest elevation rise, for the distance, that you can peddle or drive in the U.S.. The
road to the summit is smooth pavement all the way. the last 3500' climb in elevation is in Haleakala
National Park(fee for entry).
Except for a snackbar/market just above the "22 miles" turnoff, there
are no food or other services available except water at the ranger station, so bring your Powerbars
and Cytomax. The weather at the summit can be in stark contrast from the tropical sea level
climate. High winds and icy conditions are not uncommon. The sun can be scorching so bring
plenty to drink. If you do this ride in summer, leave early so that the mountain climb will
be done in the cool 60-70 degree range. In winter, temperatures maybe up to 40 degrees colder
at he summit.
If you bike to the summit, you can go down the back way. A paved road to
Skyline Trail begins just before the television antenna complex. Turn left there and follow the road
for about 1/2 mile until you just pass the microwave antenna on your right. Hang a left onto the
cinder rock trail. A cable gate at he trail head keeps 4 wheelers out.
From here it is about 5 miles to Mamane Trail or if you stay on Skyline, 7 miles to the road entrance to Poli Poli Springs Park. Intermediate to advanced bike skill are required to handle some of the steep and loose rock areas. However if you walk these short stretches, it's an easy downhill adventure for most anyone.