Hawaii Mom Blog: Visit Maui: Haleakala National Park

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January 2, 2017

Visit Maui: Haleakala National Park

Amazing experience to see the sunrise above the clouds!

Viewing the sunrise at Haleakala National Park on Maui had been on my bucket list for a couple of years now and I finally checked it off last month.  I probably wouldn't have appreciated this experience if I had done it in high school (as when most of my friends did it) so I am happy I did it for myself.  It was an amazing experience watching the sunrise above the clouds.  Spectacular and so beautiful!

Plan to get there at least an hour before sunrise.  When we arrived the parking lot was already full and park rangers were instructing drivers to triple park.  Beginning on February 1, 2017, visitors in personal or rental vehicles wishing to view sunrise at Haleakalā National Park will need to make sunrise viewing reservations ahead of time at recreation.gov.  The cost is $1.50 per car and is in addition to the park entrance fee.

We left Kihei about 4am and got to the parking lot about 5:50am.  There was a long line paying for park entrance ($20 per car - good for three days) that caused some traffic.  Credit cards only and no kamaaina rate.  The road up to the summit is filled with turns and because it's pitch black it makes for some dangerous driving so be extra cautious. 

I wore two jackets, a scarf, ear muffs, and uggs and I was still super cold.  It is crazy windy up there.  I even got wind burn as a result.  Enduring the cold turned out to be worth it and I would definitely do it again.  When the sun popped up over the skyline, some people cheered which was nice, but most were quiet and respectful of the sacred place. 

I would definitely go again.  I hear the sunset is beautiful too, but no less cold and windy so  I will be sure to bundle up even more and definitely not forget the gloves.  My fingers were practically frozen and could barely operate my camera. 

The gift shop at the visitor's center is cash only and they don't sell snacks or water.  Restrooms are also available at the visitor's center.  Don't forget to pack a tshirt and slippers to change into when you head back down so you can enjoy a nice breakfast in the Kula area.

Check out my new favorite site - the Haleakala Crater webcam

The drive up to the summit at over 10,000 feet elevation.

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