Scenic spots to swim, float, and soak in the sun at the West's amazing national parks
Hawaii’s national parks feature volcanoes, not beaches. And yet Maui’s Haleakala National Park includes a “beach” of a sort—not sand but large, warm basaltic stones; not ocean but the refreshing roar of plunging freshwater cascades. Oheo Gulch (popularly misnamed Seven Sacred Pools) lies beyond Hana town in the verdant Kipahulu district. The lower pools, right off the roadside parking lot, are superb “swimming holes,” but they crowd up by midday; get there before 10.
Don’t miss: The moderate 2-mile trek on the Pipiwai Trail to 400-foot-sheer Waimoku Falls, the most beautiful in Hawaii.
Get there: 10 miles southwest of Hana on State 31; $10 per vehicle; nps.gov/hale or 808/248-7375. –Paul Wood