Visit This National Park To View The Hawaii Sunrise From One Of Its Highest Points

With its magnificent natural beauty and array of outdoor adventures, Maui should be your next vacation destination. This Hawaiian island is also known for having spectacular spots to watch the sunrise, including Haleakalā National Park. Haleakalā translates into "House of the Sun" and is home to a dormant volcano. Likewise, Haleakalā is said to receive 1.5 million visitors a year for its sunrise views alone. So illuminating is the sunrise here that famed author Mark Twain, who visited Maui in 1866, said it was "the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed, and I think the memory of it will remain with me always." 

The colorful sunrises at Haleakalā are undefeated because they are viewed from thousands of feet above sea level. There are four viewpoints around the summit that guests can choose from. The highest in Haleakalā and all of Maui is Pu`u Ula ula (also known as Red Hill Summit), at 10,023 feet above sea level. Next, at 9,740 feet, is the Haleakalā Visitor Center. Then there's Kalahaku and Leleiwi Overlook, which are 9,324 feet and 8,840 feet above sea level, respectively. 

There are no walk-ins when it comes to experiencing a sunrise at Haleakalā. Visitors must make a reservation online to get inside the park between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Reservations can be made 60 days before your visit and cost $1. However, visitors should be aware of what a trip to Haleakala entails. 

How to prepare for Haleakala National Park

When visitors arrive at Haleakalā National Park, they must obtain an entrance pass that costs $15 to $30. This is in addition to the $1 sunrise reservation. That said, if you plan to make a reservation, check the weather beforehand and the time of sunrise. Before you make the trek to Haleakalā, know that driving to the park can take hours, so ensure you give yourself enough time before leaving if you want to catch the sunrise.

Once you arrive at the park, you still have to drive 37 miles to the summit, which will add more time to the journey. You must also find parking in one of the designated lots. There are no lights, and the road zigzags, so drive carefully and slowly. Remember that the earlier you arrive at Haleakalā, the more likely you are to see the sunrise from the viewing point of your choice. If this sounds too harrowing, consider paying for an authorized tour from Haleakalā Eco Tours or Valley Isle Excursions to pick you up and drive you to the park.

While Hawaii is known for its year-round warm weather, you can expect temperatures to be in the 40s at Haleakalā. Dress appropriately for these conditions. Furthermore, bring breakfast or snacks, and while you're at it, ensure your gas tank is full. None of these can be purchased at Haleakalā, and the last thing you want is to be starving or stranded. After enjoying a stunning sunrise, explore Haleakalā's flora and fauna with a hike.