Haleakala Sunset or Sunrise: Which Is Better?Updated: November 29, 2021
The Haleakala summit provides breathtaking skyscapes to everyone lucky enough to go there. Whether it’s a sunrise or a sunset, seeing the sun from atop the peak is an experience you would not want to miss for the world. Of course, both the Haleakala sunset and sunrise are amazing sights, but here are some things to consider if you’re deciding between the two.
If you’re okay with waking up early or if you’re still experiencing jetlag from your flight, then take advantage of that and see the sunrise from Haleakala. If you’re there a little bit before sunrise, you can also see the stars before dawn breaks. But if you want to sleep in, then you can wait until evening for the Haleakala sunset. After the sun sets, you will be greeted by a clear night sky full of stars. Two awe-inspiring sights in a row sounds like a great time, doesn’t it?
Things you need to know before you go
Whether you decide to see the sunrise or the sunset at the Haleakala summit, it’s essential to plan ahead. Here are some things to consider before making that trip to Haleakala.
Pack warm clothes
You might not think of packing warm clothes for a trip to a tropical island. But trust us, you will need them, especially if you’re planning to visit the Haleakala summit. The weather can be unpredictable, too, at the summit. It can get as cold as of 30°F (-1°C) with the highs averaging at 50°- 65°F (10-18°C). Once the sun goes down, it will get cold real quick. Plus, it’s windy at the top. So when you’re packing your vacation wardrobe, throw in a pair of long pants, a long sleeve sweater or light jacket, socks, and closed-toe shoes. That way, you’ll be comfortable while watching the Healakala sunset.
Bring snacks and a chair to sit on
When heading to the summit, it’s recommended that you or your group drive up to the top. It’s 10 miles long with several thousand feet of elevation between the entrance to the summit. It can be a long drive, so if you get hungry, at least you’ll have something to munch on if you bring snacks. Plus, there’s no place to get them in the National Park. Nor are there gas stations, so don’t forget to check that your car’s all filled up when driving up the summit.
Aside from food and drinks, you will also want to bring something to sit on during your sunset or sunrise viewing. You’ll likely be there for a while, so you might as well try to get comfy. A beach chair, a small chair, or even a beach blanket will make do.
Sunrises at Haleakala require a reservation
If you have decided to catch the sunrise at Haleakala, you will need to make a sunrise reservation first. Reservations are available 60 days in advance at Recreation.gov, and they’re quick to sell out, so make one in advance! Aside from a reservation, there’s also an entrance fee you’ll need to pay when you want to get into Haleakala National Park itself. And if you want, you can also book a sunrise tour where you’ll have your own guide and driver to take you to the top. However, if you’re going to see the sunset instead, you won’t need a reservation! You will only need to pay the entrance fee, and you can drive yourself up to the peak. Also, make sure to stick around after the sun goes down for another stunning view of the night sky.
The Haleakala sunset and sunrise are both amazing views in their own right. So whichever one you pick, you’re sure to enjoy it. And if you want a private experience of the Haleakala and other Maui sights, you can also book a jeep tour from Hoaloha Jeep Adventures. Click here to learn more!