Perched on the rim of the crater at 9745ft, this visitor center is the park’s main viewing spot. And what a magical sight awaits. The ever-changing interplay of sun, shadow and clouds reflecting on the crater floor creates a mesmerizing dance of light and color. The center has displays on Haleakalā’s volcanic origins and details on what you’re seeing on the crater floor 3000ft below.
Nature talks are given, books on Hawaiian culture and the environment are for sale, and there are drinking fountains and restrooms here. Hikers, note that it may be easier to fill a thermos at the water filling station at the Park Headquarters Visitor Center.
By dawn the parking lot fills with people coming to see the sunrise show, and it pretty much stays packed all day. Leave the crowds behind by taking the 10-minute hike up Pa Kaʻoao (White Hill), which begins at the eastern side of the visitor center and provides stunning crater views.