Haleakala is an "active" volcano that last erupted in 1790. The crater is 3000 feet deep, 7.5 miles long, and 2.5 miles wide.
The switchback road to reach the summit rises 10,023 feet above sea level, less than one hour in a car. That's a pretty steep grade. We were more than a little dizzy and short of breath at the top. The temperature outside went from 85 degrees by the beach to 40 degrees at the summit! I sure wish I had brought a sweater!
The summit of Haleakala is home and the ONLY home to an endangered plant called Silversword.
This plant can live up to 50 years in this cold and windy place. It produces maroon flowers when it reaches 1.6 feet tall. After it flowers and produces seeds, it dies.
At over 10,000 feet in altitude, the summit of Haleakala is above one third of the Earth's atmosphere and has excellent astronomical seeing conditions, so it is also home to the Haleakala Observatory, Maui's first astronomical research observatory. I would love to see through these telescopes! Sad that it is not open to the public.