QT Luong • Exploring Haleakala National Park

This park, with its dormant volcano, is a stunning location for photography. QT Luong takes us on a trip from sunrise to sunset of verdant tropical surrounds, a vast crater and sacred pools

The mythical island of Maui enjoys a mild tropical climate through the year. A photo trip there will shorten a cold winter. The western part of the island is quite developed and full of beach resorts, but on the eastern part of Maui you can still capture undisturbed diverse tropical and volcanic landscapes. Haleakala National Park protects two areas of the eastern part of Maui and the contrast between the two always amazes me. The nearly freezing temperatures, barren lava soil and sea of clouds of the 10,000-foot-high Haleakala Crater couldn’t be more different from the paradisiacal tropical pools and waterfalls found at the ocean’s edge at Kipahulu. Taken individually, each of the areas offers landscapes that are remarkable, but it is their juxtaposition that makes the experience unique.

Haleakala summit and Kipahulu area are a long distance from one another and from the small town of Kahului by road. The road to Haleakala Crater (Route 378) has the distinction of being one of the steepest in the world, rising from 2,000 feet to above 10,000 feet in about 20 miles. It takes about 1.5 hours to drive the 30 miles from Kahului to the park entrance and then 0.5 hours to drive the remaining 10 miles to the crater. The four overlooks are ...

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About Author


QT Luong is known for being the first to photograph all America’s 59 National Parks – in large format. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan featured him in The National Parks: America's Best Idea. His photographs are extensively published and have been the subject of four large-format books including Treasured Lands (winner of 6 national book awards), several magazine and newspaper profiles, solo gallery and museum exhibits across the U.S.

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