The Haleakala Sunrise is one of the most famous attractions for tourists visiting Maui. Being in Haleakala National Park to witness the sunrise or sunset is a unique and memorable experience for everyone. You’re almost 10,000 feet above sea level, able to watch as the clear nights’ sky and stars fade away as the sun rises. When visiting Maui you have to remember that it takes some planning. Here are some helpful tips to remember to make the most out of your trip to Haleakala.
It’s very important to remember that the National Park Service requires a reservation for all visitors in personal and rental vehicles to access the Summit District between 3:00 am to 7:00 am to watch the sunrise. The National Park Service has a one-day $1.50 sunrise reservation that can be reserved up to 60 days in advance. The park entrance fee can be paid on the actual day of your visit.
When visiting Haleakala you also have to remember to arrive as early as possible. The drive can be very long depending on where you are staying in Maui. It can take up to two hours to drive from the Haleakala Highway(HI 37), then swirling up the Haleakala Crater road which leads into the Summit District. Once you arrive you need to drive through the Parks Visitors Center at 7,000 feet to get to the Haleakala Visitors Center at 9,740 feet. The sun rises at around 5:38 am over the summer and in the winter the sunrise can be as late as 6:55 am. It’s ideal to arrive at the Haleakala Visitors Center a half hour before the sunrises, or even earlier to make sure you have a good spot. Witnessing the vivid colors of the clouds and the sky the sun rises above the clouds is a truly remarkable experience.
Hawaii can be very cold at the Summit District. For every 1,000 feet of elevation, the temperature will drop 3º. The Haleakala Visitors Center has an elevation of 9,740 feet. Temperature can be often in the -40-degree range, so it’s very important to bring blankets, shoes, pants, and multiple layers of clothing.
Pick Up Breakfast
In the Haleakala Visitors Center, you won’t have anywhere to purchase any food or water. So it’s important to arrive after filling up your tank, and you should bring extra food for an early morning breakfast.
Stay beyond Sunrise
Shortly after the sunrise if you just stay an extra ten to twenty minutes you will have an opportunity to watch a beautiful show as the colors of dawn stretch across the landscape of the Haleakala National Park. Many tourists leave immediately and don’t realize they are missing out on this amazing experience. The Haleakala National Park also offers hiking trails, horseback riding, and over 30,000 acres of land.
If you aren’t interested in waking up early to watch the sunset you can still have a chance to witness the sun go down. You can just drive up the summit and watch the sunsets into the starry night.