Haleakalā Sunrise & Sunset: Everything You Need To Know
Watching the Haleakalā sunrise is truly an unforgettable experience! In 1916, Haleakalā National Park in Maui was established — that was 43 years before Hawaii became a state. And, truth be told, Haleakala may be the most stunning place you’ll visit on your Hawaii vacation.
Did you know, Haleakalā means “House of the Sun”?
It was named that for a good reason! The Haleakalā sunrise and sunsets are well known all around the world. With its summit over 10,000 feet above sea level, there’s no better place on the island to view that big orange sphere in the sky up close and personal.
What You Need To Know To Plan Your Trip To Haleakalā
Good news! The park is open 24 hours every day, seven days a week. If you’ve already made plans to watch the Haleakalā sunrise or sunset but are unsure how to fully enjoy your time there, then don’t worry — we’ve prepared this trip planning guide to help make your visit seamless.
Stay Warm On Haleakalā
Maui weather is wonderful all year. Shorts and shirts are great most of the time, but at 10,023 feet above ocean level, the climate conditions are a bit different from the rest of the island. And by different, we mean much colder! Temperatures are commonly 20 degrees cooler than other parts of Maui. Be sure to wear warm clothing and bring blankets and jackets to watch the sunrise — even in the summer!
Get Ready To Hike
You can drive pretty much to the top of Haleakalā, and we’ll take you there on our Haleakalā National Park Driving Tour. From there, you can hop out of your car and do a little hike around the summit and crater. We highly recommend this hike if you’re able to do it.
In addition to the summit hike, there are a variety of hikes around Haleakalā National Park for the walking wanderer. Just don’t forget to pack water and food as there are no stores to buy supplies once you’re in the park.
Plan In Advance
Watching the sunrise at Haleakalā is a very popular activity. As such, there are restrictions on how many cars can enter the park between 3:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. each day. You must make a reservation if you plan on watching the sunrise at Haleakalā — this is not a spur of the moment activity! Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance. Check the official Haleakala National Park website for more details and to make your reservation.
You reservation does not include the entry fee to get into the park. It costs $25 per vehicle or $12 per person.
If you arrive to the park after 7:00 a.m. — you don’t need a reservation. These are just for sunrise visitors.
If you’re taking the Shaka Guide tour, make sure you download it in wifi at your hotel before you leave!
Don’t Forget Your Camera
Whether it’s your phone or your digital camera be sure to carry it with you! If you’re anything like us, you’re gonna be taking a lot of photos.
Make sure it’s fully charged before you head to the summit. You would not want to see that “low battery” warning come up on your screen as you’re capturing the sights up there. Clear some space on your memory card as well. But don’t get too caught up in taking photos or videos that you’d miss out on experiencing the magic of watching the sunrise or set.
Help Preserve The Environment
The summit is sacred to Native Hawaiians and should be respected by everyone who visits.
Additionally, the National Park is home to several endemic species plants and animals not found anywhere else in the world. It’s up to us to keep their habitat clean and healthy.
So clean up and leave no trace when visiting the park. Do your part to ensure these species continue to thrive.
Start Early for the Haleakalā Sunrise
The light from the sunrise starts creeping up very early. You need to be at the summit at least an hour before the sun rises. We strongly recommend an hour and a half if possible.
Of course, the exact time of sunrise changes throughout the year. To help you figure out what time you should arrive, visit www.timeanddate.com. Simply scroll down to the list and find the date you plan on going.
Get Ready To Walk On Sunshine 🌄🌞
Alright, by now you should be ready for your epic Haleakalā adventure! If you’re taking the Shaka Guide tour, you don’t even need to worry about directions. Just fire up the app the morning of your outing, start the tour, and our friendly guide will lead you there.
Just make sure to grab some warm clothes or a blanket to get cozy under. Pack some snacks and water, double check your reservations and hit the road! If you’re National Park Member, you can also bring your annual pass for free admission into the park.
Otherwise, you should be good to go!
Also check out: The Best Day Hikes in Mount Haleakala