Haleakala Altitude Sickness: Quick Guide & 5 Tips

Haleakala Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can put a damper on your visit to the stunning Haleakalā Hawaii. But fear not; we've got you covered. In this quick guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about Haleakala altitude sickness and provide five expert tips to avoid altitude sickness.

Haleakala Altitude

Haleakala altitude, also known as Haleakala National Park altitude, sits at 10,023 feet above sea level at the peak. Haleakala is the third tallest mountain (volcano) in Hawaii, just under Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Haleakala Altitude:

  • Haleakala Altitude or Haleakala National Park Altitude - 10,023 ft (3,055 m)

If you count the mountain below water under the sea, Haleakala is technically taller than most mountains in the world including K2, Mount McKinley, and Mount Kilimanjaro.

What is the elevation of the Haleakala Visitor Center?

The elevation of the Haleakala Visitor Center is 9,740 feet above sea level. It sits in the summit area of the Haleakala mountain.¹⁰

Haleakala Visitor Center Altitude:

  • Haleakala Visitor Center Altitude - 9,740 ft (2969 m)

A second visitor center, named Haleakalā National Park Headquarters Visitor Center, is at 7,000 feet above sea level.

Is Haleakalā Considered High Altitude?

Yes, at 10,023 feet Haleakalā is considered high altitude.

According to Mountain Medicine, high altitude ranges between 4,900 to 11,500 feet.³

Do You Get Altitude Sickness On Haleakalā?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness on Haleakalā.

Since you ascend in elevation relatively fast going up Haleakalā, this puts high strain on your body with regards to altitude sickness.

It is estimated at 10,000 feet that up to 50% of people will experience altitude sickness. A this elevation range, this puts Haleakalā in a very high risk category of altitude sickness.

Which is taller Haleakala or Mauna Kea?

Mauna Kea is taller than Haleakalā, and is considered the tallest mountain in Hawaii at 13,803 feet.

Haleakalā lands at the third tallest mountain in Hawaii at 10,023 feet, below both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Haleakala Altitude Sickness Symptoms

Haleakala altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), is caused by the lower oxygen found at high-elevations.

With little time to adjust, the body is burdened with oxidative stress and other physiological stress. This lack of oxygen can quickly lead to symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

Haleakala altitude sickness symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble sleeping or Insomnia
  • Feeling ill
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms of altitude sickness when climbing Haleakala can kick in as fast as 6 to 10 hours. You should be well prepared before conquering the Haleakala volcano, read our top five expert tips below.

How Hard Is Haleakalā Hike?

Hiking Haleakalā can be extremely hard especially as you climbs to heights of 6,000 to 8,000 feet high. Coming from Colorado, we know that these elevations can be very difficult for people coming from sea level.

The low oxygen levels put a lot of stress on the body potentially leading to altitude sickness, and if you make it to the summit the risk gets even worse, sometimes up to 50% of people feeling symptoms.

How Long Does It Take To Drive To The Top Of Haleakalā?

Action Tour Guide advices that it takes about three hours to drive to the top of Haleakalā.¹¹ Based on this, you're looking at about a 6 hour round trip.

While you may be exposed to the high altitudes for less time than hiking Haleakalā, altitude sickness can still be a threat when driving it.

5 Tips To Avoid Haleakala Altitude Sickness

Visiting the beautiful Haleakalā in Maui Hawaii is a memorable trip that you don't want to be set back by altitude sickness.

As a company with over 10 years of high-altitude experience, we'll share with you our top expert tips so that you can have a more enjoyable Haleakalā visit or climb.

Here's 5 Tips To Avoid Haleakala Altitude Sickness:

1. Take Your Time

The faster you ascend and more intense the activity, the faster altitude sickness can take effect. Take your time and take it easy going up Haleakala.

While there's no way to acclimate for a day or two as Haleakala is a straight shot up from sea level to 10,023 feet, you can go slow and easy to lessen the impact on your body.

2. Maximize Your Hydration

Increased respiratory rate at higher altitudes can lead to dehydration, so much that Wilderness Medical Society estimates fluid loss to be twice as fast than sea level.⁶

 Drink plenty of water before and during your visit to explore Haleakalā. Drinking half your weight in ounces of water per day is often a recommended amount.

TIP: To maximize hydration, add sea salt (naturally containing electrolytes) to your food/drink, and take Zaca's hydration chewables to aid water absorption.

3. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol can have a negative impact o your body at high altitudes. From dehydration and fatigue to worsen sleep quality, it will not make a Haleakalā hike pleasant.

Avoid alcohol before and directly after visiting Haleakalā, or at least until you show no signs of altitude sickness.

4. Get A Good Nights Sleep

Lack of sleep and fatigue can exacerbate problems, even jet lag traveling to Hawaii can have an effect. Proper sleep is vital and can improve recovery, blood flow and oxygen.

Ensure you get a good night's sleep before your Haleakalā adventure, preferably 7-9 hours. Getting natural sunlight during the day can also help your circadian rhythm and melatonin production for better sleep quality.

5. Load Up On Antioxidants

Oxidative stress is shown to significantly increase as you go up to high elevations, such as in Haleakalā.⁷ One study showed the body's master antioxidant, glutathione, to deplete by 45% from altitudes.⁹

Antioxidants are a promising solution, load up on them with ones such as glutathione to help free radical damage from oxidative stress.⁸

By following these five tips, you can enjoy a better experience visiting the altitudes of Haleakalā National Park.

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1. Haleakal Elevation
2. Haleakala National Park Maui Altitude
3. Effects of high altitude on humans
4. Patient education: High-altitude illness (including mountain sickness)
5. Altitude Sickness - Hiking Haleakala
6. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
7. High altitude and oxidative stress
8. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
9. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
10. The Haleakalā Visitor Centers Elevation
11. How Long Does it Take to Drive to the Summit of Haleakala?
12. Hiking Haleakala National Park