Most people dream of the iconic Hawaiian vacation. Something about sitting on the beach soaking up the sun , feeling the warm breeze on your skin, hearing the palm trees sway back and fourth and just leaving all the everyday stress back at home that appeals to everyone. I enjoy these activities as much as the next person but the best experience on all of Maui is watching the sunrise at the summit of Haleakala National Park.
Experiencing sunrise at Haleakala means you have to get up very early. This means setting an alarm clock on vacation! Most people visiting the island are 2-3 hours from the summit. You also need to count in time to ensure you get a parking space as there is limited parking at the summit and you will want to find a place to watch, get your camera ready and try to keep warm.
Sunrise is viewed at just under 10,000 feet elevation so be prepared for cold. Temperatures are often below freezing and if there is any wind it can be downright freezing. Wear warm clothing, gloves, hat, coat and then bring a blanket. These items are essential to have a great experience.
There is a moment before the first bit of light that you begin to wonder if it is going to be worth getting up so early. This thought quickly fades away when the first light comes over the apex of the earth giving off a sliver of red. You get excited seeing the sun make it way over the horizon.
Suddenly the sun is in full view. It’s rays of light dance off the clouds, the sky begin to turn blue and you stare in amazement. You feel at ease as some of the rays of light appear to go in your direction giving you a feeling of warmth inside. This is not time to be a tourist and leave missing half the show. As the sun continues to rise it will show off its colors before lighting up everything in front of you.
The visitor center is a good place to warm up and look around after sunrise. It is also a good idea to bring snacks or breakfast as it is a long way back down the mountain. You will want to have time to explore more of the park before heading back.