Haleakala National Park

Haleakala National Park

Watch the Sun Rise from Haleakala Crater

November 17, 2009, 7:18 am

I’m not much of a morning person, so if I’m going to get up at 3:00 am and trek up a 10,023-foot dormant volcano to watch a sunrise, it better be worth it.

Watching the sunrise at Haleakala Crater on the island of Maui will live on in my memory as a truly ethereal moment – standing above the clouds and watching the day being born at my feet was like having a view from heaven.

Known for its stunning sunrises and sunsets, Haleakala means “house of the sun.” With a circumference of 22 miles and a depth of 3,000 feet, Haleakala last erupted in 1790.

You can venture up via car, bicycle, horseback, on foot or on a guided tour that will pick you at your hotel. The drive up takes about 2 ½ hours. It’s chilly in the mornings, around 40 degrees, so be sure to bundle up. (The visitors in shorts and sandals were shivering.)

Fees: vehicles $10, hikers and bikers $5. There are no gas stations or convenience stores on the road to the summit, so fill up the car and bring snacks and water.

While in the park, you’ll have a chance to see the rare Silversword plant and the Hawaiian state bird, the Nene.

It’s worth the early rise. You can always nap later.