Maui Haleakala Sunrise : 6 Important Things to Know

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Important Maui Haleakala Sunrise Tips

If you’re visiting Maui, Hawaii, experiencing the Haleakala sunrise at Mout Haleakala National Park should be at 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 Maui guide, I am sharing 6 tips that will help you have an amazing experience while visiting the Mt. Haleakala sunrise in Maui, Hawaii!

If you are on the fence about seeing the sunrise, let me tell you that is the best sunrise I have ever witnessed!

Haleakala Sunrise in Maui Tips
Haleakala Sunrise Tips

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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 one 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).

Views of sun coming up at Haleakala sunrise

2. When to Arrive for Sunrise at Mt. Haleakala

Now that you have your ticket for sunrise at Mt. Haleakala, 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!

A couple gave us that suggestion and I was so happy I brought it!

I would also suggest bringing a second set of clothes to change into for the rest of your day.

Clothing attire is another very important tip before visiting the Haleakala sunrise
Me with my hotel comforter and I was still cold!

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, and 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 reach 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!

short trail to see the Haleakala sunrise

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, visiting the lavender farms, and hikes around the crater. There is also a lot to see that you missed on the dark drive up here.

You can also use my 5 Day Maui, Hawaii Itinerary here! This Maui guide covers a ton of awesome things to do whether you’re in Maui for a couple of days or more.

Other tips to keep in mind is having cameras and phones charged

Mt. Haleakala, Maui Sunrise Packing List

  1. Warm Clothes for sunrise (layer up) winter jacket, gloves, hat, room comforter, etc.
  2. 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!
  3. Camera or phone with a full battery and a portable charging power bank (phone lifesaver!)
  4. 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!
  5. Reusable Water bottle  and snacks (please do not leave trash)
  6. Your reservation and driver’s license.

If you found these Haleakala Sunrise tips helpful, I’d love it if you could share below!

Important Mt. Haleakala Sunrise tips you should know when visiting Maui, Hawaii!
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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

11 thoughts on “Maui Haleakala Sunrise : 6 Important Things to Know”

  1. I love when you read really good practical tips. I would never had considered having to make reservations to watch a sunrise but the pictures says it all. You gave to plan to get those shots.

  2. Such a great & thorough guide! Definitely echoing the importance of dressing warm for this. Sometimes Haleakala even sees snow!

  3. Wow the views are epic up there! I bet it’s hard to wake up to start the hike but the sunrise is rewarding! And how cool that there are lavender farms in this area!

  4. OMG I need to do this!! I just started really getting into photography and this is like a dream. Great tips (especially the reservation and weather)!

  5. Super helpful article, Sam. I’m heading there next month and had no idea about reservations being required. And, it’s also helpful to know just how cold it is as I didn’t anticipate temperatures that cold. Sincerely appreciate the tips!


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