While visiting Maui, one of the top things to do is to see the sunrise on Haleakala. Haleakala stands at 10,000 feet above sea level, which allows you to watch the sun rise over the tops of clouds.
In order to see the sunrise on Haleakala, you will have to wake up pretty early in the morning. I’m not a morning person, but this was worth it. I headed up to Haleakala around 4 am, planning to get there around 5 to do some stargazing before the sun came up. The road up to Haleakala is incredible, especially when you’re driving up it alone and in the dark. It’s a long winding road without lights or guard rails. I have to say it’s a bit eerie to be driving up the side of a huge mountain in the dark, unable to really see it.
At the summit, I found parking and started layering up. Even though it is Hawaii, 10,000 feet above sea level is really cold, and really windy. The Haleakala summit was crowded, but I climbed a little further up the mountain to get a better unobstructed view.
And then the sun came up. And it was probably one of the more memorable moments of my life…
Tips For Watching The Sunrise on Haleakala
- Bring warm clothes. Bring gloves and a hat if you have it. I had a winter jacket lined with fleece and I was still freezing my ass off.
- Make sure to bring a 5 hour energy or some caffeine. You will want to be wide awake for the drive. Bring food too, nothing ruins a good trip like being hungry.
- Check how long it will take you to get there the night before (use Google Maps to the Haleakala Summit), and what time sunrise is. Give yourself enough time to get there and stargaze. I was lucky since I was staying in Paia which is only about an hour away. If you are staying in more touristy areas such as Lahaina, you will probably want to wake up even earlier.
- Don’t stand with the crowd, climb up to a higher point for a better, unobstructed view
- Near the top, there will be a little stand that will charge you a small fee to get in ($15/car) and it will allow you to enter for three days.
- Don’t leave as soon as the sun comes up, it gets better and most of the tour groups leave then.