Know Before You Go, Shaka Guide's Sunrise at Haleakala National Park Tour
- You’re about to go on an awesome adventure to the summit of Maui’s tallest volcano, but there are a few things you should know about the tour before you get started.
- You must make an online reservation and pay $1.50 if you’re visiting the park for sunrise (between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.). You can make that reservation here.
- Pack warm clothes -- temperatures can drop below freezing at the summit. (no joke!)
- The tour starts and ends in Kahului. This is about a 2-hour drive from the resort areas of Kaanapali and Lahaina in West Maui.
- There’s nowhere to buy food in the park. Pack a picnic or eat before you go.
- Entrance to Haleakala National Park is $30 per car -- you can pay with cash or credit.
- The sun rises at about 7 a.m. in the winter and 5:30 a.m. in the summer.
- Expect to spend about 4-6 hours on the tour.
- We recommend starting from Kahului around 4:30 a.m. (depending on the time of year)
What to Expect!
To Spend 4-6 Hours
Exploring This tour is concentrated in Haleakala National Park with only a few stops outside the park. It’s designed for you to make it to the summit for sunrise first, then make stops on the descent down the mountain. Please note, this tour does not need to be done in time for sunrise, it still makes for a great experience no matter when you go!
Cold Temperatures and Possible Altitude Sickness (don’t let it stop you!)
You might not have packed a jacket for your Hawaii vacation, but you’ll definitely want to run to the nearest gift shop and grab a sweatshirt before embarking on a trip to Haleakala. Or even bring a blanket or towel from your hotel or vacation rental, just anything to keep you warm! Temperatures are considerably cooler in the park before the sun rises, especially at the summit where they can drop below freezing.
Also, be prepared with some water as altitude sickness is common atop the mountain. You’ll gain a lot of elevation in a short period of time.
To Be Active
Haleakala is known as one of the best spots for hiking in Maui. There are three hikes on this tour -- Sliding Sands Trail, Halemau'u Crater Hike and Pa Ka’oao Trail. The first two are about 11 and 8 miles respectively, the third is a short .5-mile walk. If you want to attempt Sliding Sands or Halemau’u Crater but don’t have time for the full hike, you can always trek about a mile in and turn back -- you’ll still see awesome views on both!
Listen to the stories and legends of this massive volcano. In Hawaii, Haleakala is a sacred spot, and we’ll tell you all about its importance to Hawaiian culture. We’ll also share stories of the demigod Maui (maybe you’ve heard of him from Disney’s Moana?)
Aside from the morning reservation which costs $1.50, there’s only one entrance fee on this tour and that’s at the park itself. Entrance costs $30.00 per car. There are optional trips to Upcountry Maui and Makawao Town where you can visit some paid attractions and grab a bite to eat. Pro Tip: This park entrance fee can also be used within 3 days on the Road to Hana tours to access the Kipahulu section of the Haleakala National Park.
Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day.
- Layers, Jacket, Blanket: temperatures can reach below freezing at the summit, especially before sunrise
- Hiking Clothes
- Water Bottle
- Bathing Suit
- Sun Glasses and/or Hat
- Car Charger *Very Important*
- Phone Mount
In Hawaiian the word malama means “to take care” and the word aina means “land.” When you’re in Hawaii, we ask that you practice this and pick up your trash; respect the marine life, plants, and animals; and avoid spots that are unsafe. Hawaii’s natural resources are precious, it’s up to all of us to help preserve these resources for generations by respecting the aina when you visit.
We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at email@example.com.
RELATED: 10 Ways to be a Safe and Responsible Traveler in Hawaii
For more help planning your day check out our Sunrise at Halekala National Park Tour suggested itinerary.