Sliding Sands Trail
Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii
The Keoneheehee Trail, commonly called Sliding Sands, begins near the Haleakala Visitor Center on the 10,000 foot summit of Haleakala—look for the kiosk near the trailhead. We began our hike later in the afternoon, at a time when the sun was casting pretty cool shadows on the crater, giving it an alien quality. It starts out, deceivingly easy, going downhill, but be prepared; this hike is extremely strenuous, especially on the hike back out of the crater. Along the first section of the trail, you descend into the cinder desert about 2,800 feet, allowing you to see the awesome transition of colors in the cinders as you head for the first cinder cone, Ka Luu o ka Oo. If you hike to the cinder cone and back (our option), you will have completed a 5.0 mile roundtrip hike, but it is also possible to hike the entire trail for a 10.0 mile roundtrip trek. As mentioned before, it is the hike out that is the killer—you are walking on loose cinders and attempting to breathe some pretty thin air, so you should allow about twice the time to hike out as it took to hike down.
Sliding Sands revisited in June 2004: