Taking a trip to Haleakalā’s summit to see the sunrise is a must for Maui visitors. As it’s such a popular spot for vacationers, Haleakalā National Park have introduced a new sunrise reservation system. This will do away with overcrowding and guarantee car parking spaces.
This new development means you’ll need to do a bit more organising ahead of time if you wish to go up the volcano during sunrise hours. We’ve put together all the information you need for planning your trip to see this natural display of beauty!
Sunrise Reservation Required
As of February 1st, 2017, Haleakalā National Park require you to have a reservation to enter the summit area between the hours of 3 am and 7 am.
Reservations cost $1.50 per vehicle and can be purchased online at Recreation gov.
You can buy your reservation up to 2 months in advance. For more last minute bookers, another 30 tickets will be released up to 1 day ahead of time (and can be bought up until 6 pm the evening before.) These reservations have to be purchased online and will not be available to buy at the park.
On entry to the summit you will need to present your reservation confirmation and a photo ID to match the name of the reservation holder. The reservation entitles you to a parking space in one of their 4 summit car parks.
If in the unfortunate event that you find bad weather at the top then they are very clear that there are no refunds for this $1.50 reservation fee.
If you don’t have a reservation you’ll be allowed access to the park after 7 am.
Park Entry Fee
Please note, the sunrise reservation is not your entrance pass to Haleakalā National Park. Your entrance pass is payable via credit card on arrival at the park.
A standard private car pass is $20.
These passes are valid for three days. As the summit only makes up one area of this stunning national park, it’s worth considering whether you want to explore other areas of the park in the days which follow.
If you are visiting the Big Island during your vacation too, then consider buying the Hawaiʻi Tri-Park annual pass which costs only a little more at $25. This pass, valid for 12 months gives you access to Haleakalā National Park as well as Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and Puʻuhonua ʻO Hōnaunau National Historical Park (which are both on Hawaiʻi Island.)
You can see all the park entry prices and information on the different passes on the Haleakalā National Park website.
Other tips for visiting the summit for sunrise:
1. Dress For The Cold
The temperature can be very cold at the top, particularly before the sun is up. Many people underestimate just how cold so be sure to bring a coat and dress warmly with several layers which you can peel off as the sun comes out and warms everything up a bit.
2. Plan Your Route
Be prepared for winding roads and remember that you will be driving up a volcano in the dark. Plan your route ahead of time so you know where you’re going. Leave plenty of time so you are not in a rush. It’s a good idea to arrive in good time for the sunrise anyway, so you can enjoy the stars beforehand and settle down in a good spot for the main event.
3. Take What You Need
There are no opportunities to fill up with gas once you have left the upcountry towns so be sure you have enough in the tank before you go.
You may also wish to take snacks and a thermos for warm drinks, to enjoy whilst you’re up there. You won’t find anything available to buy at the top.
We also recommend bringing a flash light for navigating from the car to the summit. And most importantly, don’t forget to bring your camera!
We hope you enjoy your Haleakalā sunrise experience! Please do share any of your own tips in the comments section below and let us know how you find the new sunrise reservation system.
Other Ways to View the Haleakala Sunrise
Another way to view the sunrise atop Mount Haleakala is at the beginning of a downhill bike tour. These professional, guided tours pick you up and take you to the top of the mountain to take in the sunrise. (And handily, they’ll take care of the park entry fee and reservation for you).
You’ll then descend back down the volcano a short way, before being then set free to cruise down the longest road descent in the United States by bike!
We offer four options to catch the sunrise and bike the volcano:
- Maui Downhill Sunrise tour (they also offer day tours for the sleep-needy)
- Mountain Riders offer 28 miles of paved descent. That’s a big descent.
- For those of you still reading, but hating the thought of biking, this Haleakala van tour is for you.
- And for those of you who want even more, how about: Sunrise – Downhill Biking – AND Zipline? Oh yeah. This tour is a beast.
So: Sunrise. Downhill descent of a volcano by bike. Then breakfast of champions at Charley’s. Now that’s a morning you’ll remember.