Haleakala Sunrise and Sunset – Maui Hawaii | Go Hawaii

Haleakalā Sunrise

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Sunrise and Sunset on Haleakalā

One of Maui’s most memorable experiences is seeing the Haleakalā sunrise or sunset from almost 10,000 feet above sea level, and like anything worthwhile, it take some planning. Here are a few tips to make the most of your Haleakalā expedition.

Make A Reservation

The National Park Service requires a reservation for visitors in personal and rental vehicles to enter the Summit District from 3:00 am to 7:00 am to view the sunrise. The one-day $1.50 sunrise reservation can be made up to 60 days in advance. The park entrance fee is separate and payable on the day of visit.

Come Early

Depending where you get started from on Maui, it can take you up to two hours to drive the Haleakalā Highway (HI 37) and then up the winding Haleakalā Crater Road leading to the summit of Haleakalā. It’s an early wake-up call, but the reward is well worth it. Drive past the Park Visitors Center at 7,000 feet to get to the Haleakalā Visitors Center at 9,740 feet. Try to arrive at the Haleakalā Visitor Center no later than a half hour before the sun rises — earlier for a good spot. In the summer the sun rises as early as 5:38 AM, in the winter as late as 6:55 AM. The color of the sky and clouds before daybreak are stunning.

Bring Warm Clothes

This is Hawaiʻi but it gets very cold at the summit. The temperature drops 3º for every 1000 feet of elevation, so at the Haleakalā Visitor Center’s 9,740-foot elevation (where most people watch the sunrise), it’s about 30º colder than at sea level. Be sure to bring pants, shoes, layers of clothing, and blankets. Temperatures are often in the 40-degree range.

Pick Up Breakfast

Although there are restroom facilities, there is no food or gas sold within the park. So fill up your tank and bring some food and drink for an early morning breakfast. And most importantly don’t forget your camera.

Stay Beyond Sunrise

One of the most common mistakes visitors make (besides wearing shorts) is to leave immediately after the sun rises. If you stay just ten to twenty minutes later you’ll be treated to an incredible show as the colors of dawn stretch across the landscape of the Haleakalā National Park. Encompassing over 30,000 acres of public land, the park offers hiking trails, pre-arranged horseback riding tours and more endangered species than any other National Park. Parking reservations are self-guided, but guided Ranger tours are available. 


Not an early riser? Take a leisurely drive up the summit and give yourself some time to explore before the sun goes down. Sunset at Haleakalā, with its flaming clouds, is as breathtaking as its morning counterpart although a little less known. And just as with the sunrise, bring a snack, drinks and hang out for a while as the quiet of dusk transforms into a starry night. 

Average Sunrise and Sunset Times
Summer sunrise average time is 5:45-6 a.m. HST and Winter sunrise average time is 7 a.m. HST, overall sunrise times by day can be found here.

More information: (808) 572-4400; http://www.nps.gov/hale  
To make a reservation!