If you’re visiting Maui Hawaii, experiencing the Haleakala sunrise should be on the top of your Maui bucket list! With every trip we take, we always find ourselves saying, “I wish we knew this” or “how much better would it have been if we did that”. Can you relate? So in this guide, I am sharing 6 tips that will help you have an amazing experience while visiting for the Haleakala sunrise!
If you are on the fence about seeing the sunrise, let me tell you that is the best sunrise I have ever witnessed!
Mt. Haleakala Sunrise Packing List
- Warm Clothes for sunrise (layer up) winter jacket, gloves, hat, room comforter, etc.
- Bring a second set of clothes depending on how you set up your day after the sunrise. (bathing suits, flip-flops, snorkel gear, sneakers, sunscreen, etc.) I always like to recommend Blue Lizard Australian Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 and Juice Beauty SPF 30 Sport Moisturizer. Both are chemical-free sunscreens and safe for coral reefs!
- Camera or phone with a full battery and a portable charging power bank (phone lifesaver!)
- Flashlight to see. There are no lights at all, so to get up to the summit would be rather difficult without a phone flashlight at the very least!
- Reusable Water bottle and snacks (please do not leave trash)
- Your reservation and driver’s license.
1. Make a Reservation for Mt. Haleakala Sunrise
The most important tip you need to know is that a reservation needs to be made for the Haleakala sunrise (3 am-7 am) online.
Also, note that this is 1 reservation per vehicle and the name must match the driver’s license. They take these reservations very seriously. If you’re like me and you didn’t realize a reservation was necessary, there is still hope. 40 tickets will also be available two days in advance, at 4:00 p.m. Hawaiian time.
They go quickly so have the web page open and ready to go at 4 PM. Link
If you are smart and looking this up now, you can purchase your reservation 2 months in advance and the reservation is $1.50. There are other guidelines, so definitely check the above link out. You do not want to wake up at the crack of dawn to realize they will not let you up.
To get into the park is an additional 25$ per private vehicle. The receipt is good up to 3 days if you would like to do anything else here like the 7 Sacred Pools and hiking on the other side of Mt. Haleakala (definitely recommend).
2. When to Arrive for Sunrise at Mt. Haleakala
Now that you have your ticket, make sure you don’t miss the sunrise! You want to get there around 5 AM. By doing this you give yourself time to use facilities and get find a good spot to view and capture the Haleakala sunrise.
Depending on where in Maui you are driving from, this can be 1 hour to 3 hours.
3. How to Dress For the Haleakala Sunrise
Believe it or not, what you wear is going to determine how much you enjoy this sunrise so keep these tips in mind!
You would think being on a tropical Island would mean beach attire should be fine right? NOT HERE! You are at an elevation of over 10,000 feet so it can go below 34 Degrees Fahrenheit.
I would recommend layering with a winter jacket and even gloves if you are setting up a tripod to take pictures. We brought the comforter from our hotel since I was unaware of the weather beforehand!
I would also suggest bringing a second set of clothes to change into for the rest of your day.
4. Make Sure to Get Fuel Before Entering Haleakala National Park
Once you start to go up the mountain there are no gas stations in sight. We gassed up, got coffee and snacks for our way up. These snacks and drinks came in handy since there is nothing for purchase once you get there! I would even suggest a quick bathroom break too!
5. Drive Carefully and Enjoy the Show of Mt. Haleakala
Once you start driving up the mountain, there are no more street lights and it is incredibly dark. There are quite a few twists and turns with no guardrails so please be very careful driving up!
Once you make it to the top of the mountain, there will be a short trail to follow for the best views! Again, it is pitch black so a flashlight is ideal. Don’t forget to have your camera and phones charged to get stunning pictures!
6. Plan Other Aventures in Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park is huge so I’d suggest planning other tours and things to do after the sunrise. Popular activities include bike tours, visit the lavender farms and hikes around the crater. There is also a lot to see that you missed on the dark drive up here.