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Do you need hiking shoes for heleakala sunrise tour

On Skyline’s Haleakala Sunrise Tour, experience edge-of-the-world views open up in all directions while the early sunlight casts hues of natural light onto Haleakala crater floor. Be there when Haleakala National Park awakens with the rising sun near the summit of Haleakalā.

The heavenly beauty of the crater at sunrise is why ancient Hawaiians believed this area of the mountaintop was the ‘realm of the gods’, or ‘wao akua’.

Haleakala National Park is the #1 visitor attraction on Maui, and Skyline’s Haleakala Sunrise tour is the #1 tour on Maui.


We’ll pick you up and drop you off: This tour starts early, so we’ll pick you up at your hotel, provide you with a warm jacket, and bring you directly to the summit of Haleakala National Park. At the end of a glorious day, we’ll then drop you off at your hotel.

The Haleakala Sunrise: Watch with 360-degree views from the top of Haleakala at 9,740 ft over sea level, as the sun rises and the rich colors of the mountain landscape takes shape below you.

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View the Sunrise from the Top of the World
What better place to see the sunrise over Maui than from Haleakalā, Maui’s highest peak and a top visitor attraction.

View the Sunrise from the Top of the World
What better place to see the sunrise over Maui than from Haleakalā, Maui’s highest peak and a top visitor attraction.

SCHEDULE (times vary depending on sunrise times throughout the year)

2:00 AM – 3:00 AM: Pickup at your hotel or accommodation.

6:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Experience the classic sunrise from the summit of Haleakalā National Park, followed by a full breakfast at the historic Kula Lodge, included with your tour.

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Return to your hotel or accommodation.

Get to the summit in style: Tour in comfort to the top of Haleakalā with the newest fleet of guided Maui tour vehicles with large viewing windows, comfortable seating, and climate-controlled interiors.

Breakfast with a View: After your Haleakalā sunrise experience, we’ll stop at the historic Kula Lodge in upcountry Maui for an amazing valley view and sit-down breakfast. Vegetarian, gluten free, and light options are available.

REQUIREMENTS (times vary depending on sunrise times throughout the year)

The tour is ADA accessible and the walk to the summit from the parking lot is short. However, if you’re interested in viewing the sunrise from an even higher point, there is a small hike up some stairs and over rocks.

GUIDES (times vary depending on sunrise times throughout the year)

LEARN ABOUT AUTHENTIC HAWAII: Our guides make each tour a unique experience. Trained to uncover Hawaii’s rich history and to keep you safe and smiling throughout the tour, they’re experts at what they do and set Skyline apart from the rest.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (times vary depending on sunrise times throughout the year)

CLOTHING: Cozy jackets will be provided when you arrive at Skyline. We recommend you dress in warm layers and wear pants, a jacket or sweatshirt, socks, and closed-toe shoes so you are warm enough while viewing the sunrise. Temperatures at the summit of Haleakalā are routinely in the 30s and 40s.

CAMERA/CELLPHONE CAMERA: You will definitely want to capture the beauty of the sunrise on the top of Haleakalā, so bring your camera!

WHAT ELSE TO BRING: A reusable water bottle and sunglasses.

INTERPRETIVE APP: Download Skyline Hawaii’s Haleakalā National Park Interpretive App from the App Store or Google Play Store. It’s available in nine languages (Hawaiian, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English) and has great info to augment what you’ll hear from your tour guide!

WEATHER & REFUNDS: Weather at the summit can vary widely, and inclement weather can impact or limit sunrise views. Every sunrise atop Haleakalā is a unique, one of a kind experience. Some mornings are clear, while some are clouded in. Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds based on inclement, cloudy, or rainy conditions at the summit as they are outside of Skyline Hawaii’s control. But, we hope any visit to Haleakalā National Park and the summit of this legendary volcano are experiences guests will remember and revere as generations have before – even under adverse weather conditions.

CAR SEAT REGULATIONS: Hawaii’s Child Passenger Restraint Law requires children under 4 years of age to ride in a child safety seat. Please note that guests will be required to provide child seats that meet State requirements. Click here to view Hawaii’s car seat laws.

FAQs (times vary depending on sunrise times throughout the year)

Tours operate rain or shine. If we do cancel, we’ll make every effort to contact you in advance to reschedule or refund the tour.


Our Hassle-Free Cancellation Policy guarantees that you receive a 100% refund for any tour cancelled at least 48 hours in advance of your tour time. For cancellations or changes made within 48 hours of your tour, refunds will only be provided if we are able to resell the spots on your tour.

There is some cell phone reception throughout the park and at the summit, but it can be spotty.

7:00 AM – 3:00 PM (every day)

Haleakalā means “House of the Sun.”

Haleakalā National Park has the highest mountain peak on Maui, at 10,023 feet over sea level.

Skyline Hawaii does have ADA accessible tour vehicles available, please call our reservations team at 1.808.878.8400 for more information or to make a booking.

Have More Questions?
Feel free to give us a call at 1.808.878.8400

CONSERVATION EFFORTS (times vary depending on sunrise times throughout the year)

Giving 1% and More.

Skyline is the first zipline operator in the world to join 1% for the Planet—a group of businesses committed to giving at least 1% of all sales back to environmental conservation. And because we take our “Do Good. Have Fun.” mantra very seriously, we also support multiple other community and health nonprofits just for good measure.

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“This has to be the best tour I have been on my entire life. The service was amazing and I was fortunate enough to have some of the best guides. Our bus driver, Carlos, went above and beyond helping us get the best view of the sunrise by being there early, taking creative pictures of us, and even making an extra 3 minute stop at spot where you can hear a really cool echo. Carlos also had plenty of information to share with us about where we were and a few cool stories during the bus rides.”

How to see the Haleakala sunrise on your own without a tour Maui Hawaii travel blog

So one of THE most popular things to do in Haleakala National Park is to see the Haleakala sunrise.

It is one of the most popular things to do in all of Maui!

It is possible to do the Haleakala sunrise on your own!

So first, yes, you can do the Haleakala sunrise on your own!

So you don’t need a tour to do the Haleakala sunrise.

And while you don’t need a tour to do the Haleakala sunrise, you do need a reservation.

Going to see the Haleakala sunrise on your own means a drive to the Haleakala summit.

It’s about watching the sunrise from the Haleakala summit.

One of the most important things you should know about doing the Haleakala sunrise on your own is that it requires waking up very early.

Since you are going to see a sunrise… it means that you need to wake up well before sunrise to go and actually SEE it!

And it also takes some time to drive to your Haleakala sunrise spot.

Many people report leaving their hotels at 3am or 4am to make it in time to see an epic Haleakala sunrise.

If you decide that you’d rather not do it on your own, there are also Haleakala sunrise tours. (Tours might mean waking up even earlier.)

Can you go to see the Haleakala sunrise without a reservation?

And then another one of the most important things you should know if you want to do the Haleakala sunrise is about reservations.

No, you can’t go to the Haleakala sunrise without a reservation if you’re doing it on your own.

You need to buy your Haleakala sunrise ticket from the National Park Service before you go.

If you want to go after sunrise time, then you can go to Haleakala without a reservation on your own!

You need a permit only if you want to go to the Haleakala summit between the hours of 3am and 7am… and these hours include the sunrise hours!

The Haleakala sunrise reservation often (always?) sells out in advance.

So, you don’t need a TOUR to do the Haleakala sunrise, but you do need a RESERVATION or permit of sorts.

Haleakala sunrise on your own: haleakala sunrise reservations required. maui hawaii travel blog

👆 The road to the Haleakala sunrise viewing area is a national park fee area. This means that there is a national park entry fee. Additionally, reservations are required for entry from 3am to 7am. This means that reservations are required to see the Haleakala sunrise!

Going to Haleakala after sunrise

Now, I have not actually seen the Haleakala sunrise myself.

I decided that I did not want to wake up so early and/or put in so much effort to see the sunrise.

Instead, I went to the Haleakala summit during the day, and I thought it was amazing.

But, plenty of people have said it is well worth it to see the Haleakala sunrise!

So you may think it’s well worth it to see the Haleakala sunrise too!

No matter when you go – sunrise, during the day, sunset – weather does have to be on your side, though!

Plan your Haleakala sunrise earlier on in your Maui trip

Another thing that you may consider as you are planning your Maui itinerary is that you might try to schedule your Haleakala sunrise trip within the first few days of landing in Maui.

If you’re flying from the mainland US or Canada for example, jet lag will be on your side.

3am Hawaii time is 6am PT is 9am ET! (Exact time difference will depend on when you go. There is no daylight savings time in Hawaii.)

A bit about how to see the Haleakala sunrise below!
  • One of the most popular Maui activities: Haleakala sunrise tour at 10,000 ft

I have a lot of 30-90 second Maui outdoor travel videos. A few of them might be on this page. If you can’t see the video directly above, save the Maui video playlist to watch on youtube later!


    OR Haleakala sunrise tour OR Maui snorkeling on your own OR Road to Hana tour OR Road to Hana helicopter

IMPORTANT. If you wanted to see the famous Iao Valley in the West Maui Mountains, unfortunately that won’t be possible from August 2022 and the rest of the year. Check the Hawaii State Parks website to confirm.

How to see the Haleakala sunrise on your own

1. Make a Haleakala sunrise reservation through the National Park Service in advance.

Once again, reservations are required in order to enter the Haleakala National Park summit entrance on your own between 3am and 7am. (It was like this even pre-covid.)

You will make Haleakala sunrise reservations through the National Park Service reservation system which is (If you need any convincing to do the Haleakala sunrise, you can read the reviews there too. Most reviews are VERY positive.)

The cost to make a Haleakala sunrise reservation is $1. See current fees.

2. The night before your Haleakala sunrise, get ready as if you’re going on winter vacation the next day.

The Haleakala summit, where you’re headed to see the Haleakala sunrise, is at high altitude.

The summit is above 10,000 feet!

This means that it can be COLD.

Since you’ll be arriving before sunrise, that means that you’ll be arriving in the dark.

And that means that it will be even more cold!

Also as part of your preparation to enter Haleakala National Park before sunrise, you will want to make sure you are ready to show proof of reservation.

Reviews indicate email or print will work.

The day before you will also want to be sure you have a full gas tank so that’s not something you have to worry about in the morning!

3. On the morning of your Haleakala sunrise, leave your hotel very early in the morning in time to make it in time for the Haleakala sunrise.

The drive time from South Maui / Wailea to Haleakala summit might be around 1.5 hours. (map)

The drive time from West Maui / Kaanapali to Haleakala summit might be around 2 hours. (map)

The drive time from West Maui / Kapalua to Haleakala summit might be around 2 hours. (map)

And then you will want to add in some extra buffer time just in case!

4. Arrive at the Haleakala National Park entrance.

Once you arrive at the Haleakala National Park entry station, you will also need to pay a national park entrance fee.

The Haleakala National Park 3-day pass is around $30 per car. See current fees.

There is no one-day Haleakala pass.

But this 3-day pass (receipt) is also good for the Haleakala coastal side. (aka the Kipahulu district of Haleakala National Park aka the Road to Hana side of Haleakala National Park! This side of Haleakala National Park is where you will find the famous bamboo forest and famous waterfalls.)

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Or, if you have a Hawaii national park pass or US national park pass, then you can use it to get into Haleakala National Park too.

5. Drive up Haleakala Highway in the dark up a narrow winding unfamiliar road.

Look carefully as you are driving so you don’t hit the NENE! (pronounce: nay-nay)

Haleakala sunrise on your own: you will drive to haleakala summit for haleakala sunrise in the dark and there may be nene on the road. maui hawaii travel blog

Nene, as seen in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. You may also see nene in Haleakala National Park. As you are driving the Haleakala Highway in the dark for your Haleakala sunrise, take extra care to look out for wildlife, including nene!

6. Arrive at the Haleakala National Park Visitor Center parking lot near the summit.

Driving straight from the national park entry to the visitor center may be around a 30 minute drive.

You will also pass a Haleakala “headquarters” visitor center shortly after you pass the entry station. This is not it!

The main visitor center is near the summit.

If you end up parking at the Haleakala National Park Visitor Center, you can walk the remaining half a mile to the summit.

Haleakala sunrise on your own: there is haleakala visitor center parking lot half mile from the haleakala summit sunrise. maui hawaii travel blog

👆 Parking lot near Haleakala Visitor Center, also the Sliding Sands trailhead parking.

7. If the parking lot at the summit isn’t at capacity, then keep driving to the Haleakala summit parking lot!

Haleakala sunrise on your own: road to haleakala summit sunrise. maui hawaii travel blog

Haleakala sunrise on your own: road to haleakala summit sunrise. maui hawaii travel blog

8. Watch the sunrise from the top of Haleakala!

And your Haleakala sunrise experience may go something like that!

You will know best whether you think a sunrise is worth waking up for!

Because according to the Haleakala sunrise reviews, pretty much everyone who goes thinks it’s an amazing experience and well worth it!

So if you decide to go… and you get good weather so that you can see the sunrise… there’s a very good chance that you will think the Haleakala sunrise was worth it too!

The absolute closest place to stay near the Haleakala sunrise

Haleakala sunrise on your own: haleakala camping hosmer grove campground near haleakala sunrise. where to stay near haleakala sunrise. maui hawaii travel blog

👆 You used to be able to just show up for free camping in the Haleakala National Park Summit District at the Hosmer Grove Campground. Not anymore! 😭 You now need to make a camping reservation through the National Park Service.

If you want to shorten the morning drive time to the Haleakala sunrise, then there is the Hosmer Grove Campground located in Haleakala National Park that you can try.

This is around a 30 minute drive to the summit.

And technically even though you are already in the national park, you are supposed to still have the Haleakala sunrise reservation if you want to be on the road to the summit between 3am and 7am.

This Haleakala campground used to be free, and it used to be first-come first-serve. Both of these were actually rather good things.

Now that there are reservations required, and there are so few campsites available, well, it probably requires a little bit of luck to go camping at this spot near the Haleakala sunrise. (There are only 6 campsites.)

Here’s How To Do A Self Guided Haleakala Sunrise Tour

Skip the Haleakala Valley Isle Excursions tour that costs $160+. It cost us just ONE DOLLAR to do this tour on our own and I’m going to tell you exactly how you can do your own self guided Haleakala sunrise tour!

A Haleakala sunrise tour is one of the Maui bucket list items that we checked off on our Hawaii trip. Waking up at 3am to drive to the top of Maui volcano probably isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I felt like it was such a fun adventure that made me feel alive and connected to Maui in a whole different way. There’s no need to book pricey $160+ guided Haleakalā sunrise tours – you can easily do this experience on your own. I’ll tell you how!

How To Do A Self Guided Haleakala Sunrise Tour in Maui

Napping on the trip up would be nice, but is it worth $160++? No thank you. You can 100% easily do this sunrise tour yourself! It’s easy, safe, cheap and FUN. Save that money for a snorkel cruise or a nice dinner.

Keep reading for my self-guided Haleakalā sunrise tour – when to leave, what to pack, the best place to watch the sunrise from (this may surprise you) and literally everything else you’ll need to know for a fantastic haleakalā national park sunrise. We spent exactly $1 on our sunrise tour and you can, too!

You have to make Haleakala Sunrise Tour Reservations from the National Park PRIOR to the day you plan on driving up the summit. The ticket is just $1 per car and you can reserve online HERE.

Insider’s Tip: Haleakalā National Park is $30 to enter and you can also use this ticket to enter’Ohe’o Gulch at the end of Road to Hana. You can use your annual National Park pass to get in for free.

While researching fun things to do in Maui I came across some Haleakala sunrise tours and was shocked to see they were starting at $150!! That’s crazy as it’s just $1 to buy a Haleakala reservations sunrise ticket and National Park tickets are about $30 so that markup seems out of this world to me. We had rented a car and actually have an annual park pass, so this tour ended up costing us just $1.

As noted above, you have to buy your $1 sunrise ticket in advance (not at the gate) and there are only 80 tickets available for each day. As you can imagine, those go FAST so we bought ours a couple months before our trip.

Also, I want to make sure you know: Haleakala National Park is at about 9,400 elevation. This means it’s COLD at the top! There was frost on the ground when we arrived that morning and I was happy I packed a sweater, though I wish I packed a heavier one. I saw some people bring the blankets from their hotel room which was genius if you didn’t pack a sweater.


As I mentioned, we woke up at 3am so we made sure to pack our car with what we wanted to bring the night before so our sleep brains didn’t have to think too hard. Make sure to FILL UP YOUR GAS TANK prior to driving up. We didn’t do this and ended up having to quickly fill up halfway up the summit at the last gas station. It’s only about 18 miles from central Maui, but you climb 9000+ feet for two hours that sucks the gas out of your tank. Don’t make our mistake, fill up!

I also recommend grabbing a big jug of Starbucks ice coffee and a gallon of water to help you fuel up for the day. I’m a hot breakfast kind of gal, so we bought frozen burritos from a grocery store and heated those up in our hotel room microwave before heading out in the morning. We also brought some fruit to snack on. We woke up at 3am and didn’t get back to central Maui until about 8am, so you’ll want food. Trust me!

Packing List

  • Pre-purchased National Park sunrise ticket
  • Credit card for National Park pass
  • Full gas tank
  • Coffee
  • Water
  • breakfast + snacks
  • a sweater (or two)
  • sturdy shoes
  • camera
  • Gloves if you have them downloaded
  • Maui playlist loaded on Spotify
  • Buy sunrise tickets at the gate
  • Go in shorts (you’ll freeze!)
  • Bring cash for your pass

If you plan on staying at the summit to do some hiking, don’t forget to pack everything you need for that!

What Time To Get Up + Tips For Driving To Haleakala

Trying to figure out the best Maui hotels or resorts to stay at for a sunrise tour? The best ones are the hotels halfway up the summit so you can cut down on driving time, but I prefer the hotels near the beach, as most people do. I would recommend not launching from Wailea or anywhere north of Kaanapali, as that will add 20-30 more minutes to your early morning drive.

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Favorite Hotels for each region to start your sunrise drive from
Kaanapali: Hyatt Maui (we stayed here!! Loved it! Find my full review here.)
Paia: Paia Inn
Kihei: Days Inn (budget on the beach!)
Mountainside: Kula Lodge

When you have to leave totally depends on when the sun is rising during your visit. I recommend planning on arriving at the summit parking lot 45 minutes PRIOR to sunrise, as you’ll need time to park and find your spot as it gets competitive. During this time, there will be a bit of morning glow happening around the skyline Hawaii has which is really beautiful to see.

The drive took us about 1.5 hours from Kihei so we left at 3:30am. If you are visiting in the winter, the sun may rise even earlier and you may need to plan on being there closer to 3am-4am. Google the sunrise times the night before when setting your alarm!

Pro Tip: The Haleakalā National Park entrance gate is still 30 minutes away from the summit! Your GPS may trick you into thinking you don’t have to leave as early. Driving times vary, too!

The drive up the summit is really windy and one lane. If you are driving slow PLEASE use one of the turnouts to let other people pass. Seriously, don’t be a dick. We got trapped with 7 other cars (7!) behind a slow car at the front who was going about 10 miles per hour the drive up and it caused us to be a bit late to the sunrise. So, don’t be that person, let the more awake people pass you.

I recommend downloading the Gypsy Maui app for your drive up and/or down! He’s known for his Road to Hana driving tour but also has ones for other parts of the island! Or, you can do what we did and download the Moana soundtrack for the drive up, which was extremely fun to listen to. Download my Maui playlist on Spotify here!

Look for this sign and trail!Skip this crowd by the bathrooms

The Best Hidden Spot To Watch Sunrise At The Haleakala Summit Area

There are two parking lots that you can watch the sunrise on Haleakalā crater from, the upper and lower. The upper usually fills up first and they will block it off if it’s full. Don’t worry – my secret spot is accessed from the lower lot, so it doesn’t matter if you’re running a bit late and miss the upper lot!

How to find my secret amazing spot to watch the sunrise: most people will be lining up behind the railing to watch the sunrise. Walk past those people, past the park ranger manning the crowd, and up the path towards the small hill. It’s about a 5-minute hike and really easy, even when you are sleepy!

It curls back behind this small hill and at the top, you’ll find a flat summit and tons of big rocks to sit on! this is the perfect spot to watch the Maui sunrise as most people don’t hike up here! It’s not the highest peak so a lot of people don’t think to go there, but it’s a great spot.

Most people will be lining up behind the railing to watch the sunrise at Maui. Walk past those people & up the path towards the small hill for my secret spot!

I was really overwhelmed when we were standing in the crowd by the railing. I wasn’t thrilled about standing on rocks shoulder to shoulder with crowds and trying to watch the sunrise past railings and people’s heads. then I notice a guy sitting on top of a small hill up the way and realized there’s probably a better, less crowded place to watch the sunrise from! 5 minutes later, we were perched with about 10 other people and experienced a calm, magical morning.

Pro tip: Most people leave right after the sunrise, but I recommend sticking around for 10-20 minutes more to watch the skies continues to light up, and also to avoid the rush of cars driving down. You made it this far already, why rush back?

The drive back down was pretty fun. It was so pretty seeing Maui from 9000 feet up! We were too tired to hike that morning, but I would love to come back and do some of the trails. This morning though, we were all about beelining to the nearest brunch spot we could find because at that point, we were already up for about 5 hours and really needed a hot meal! We grabbed loco moco and coffee at Kihei Cafe, one of the best Maui breakfasts we had, and late a tour at the tropical plantation. What a great day!

So there you have it: how to save $150 and do a self-guided haleakalā sunrise tour instead. Stop Googling for ” Haleakala sunrise tour cheap ” — there’s nothing cheaper than doing it yourself and spending just $1 (or $31 if you don’t have a park pass.) Start the new day 9000 feet up and only $1 poorer.

NOTE: There are some Haleakala sunrise bike tour companies that will do a hotel pickup, drive you up, let you watch the sunrise and then have you bike down the volcano and give you a continental breakfast at the bottom. I’m told from a friend who likes to go adventure activities that this tour is really fun and the highlight of his trip. If that’s your thing (it’s not my thing) then I think that’s a good reason to book a Haleakala summit sunrise tour. Otherwise, do it yourself! These are the best Haleakala sunrise tour companies that offer downhill bike rides down the volcano.

Looking for a Haleakala sunset tour? The same thing applies – do it yourself! No special tickets are needed to see the sunset. The crater is viewed more easily in the evening, so if that’s important for you, or if you can’t fathom the idea of waking up at 3am, then catch a sunset. Haleakala tours are best when you do them on your own time, whenever that may be.

I think it’s obvious. Maui Haleakala sunrise tour or on our own: go on your own! Just make sure to grab your Haleakala sunrise reservation early in planning!

I hope this helps you plan your Haleakalā sunrise tour!! My husband and I agreed it was such a fun thing to do in Maui and I would easily do it again (but with more sweaters this time.) If you have any questions about doing your own self-guided Haleakalā sunrise tour, leave a comment below or DM me on Instagram @thewhimsysoul or @whimsysoul and I’ll be happy to answer them for you!

Looking for other fun sightseeing tours, additonal hiking tours Haleakala offers or Polynesian adventures in Maui? Check out some of my other Maui blog posts the learn about ideas of fun things to do on the island!

I’m the founder of Whimsy Soul (this blog you’re reading!) I’m a type 3 enneagram cat lady who lives in San Francisco and loves to find everyday magic to share with others. You can probably find me hunting down hot springs with girlfriends, kayaking, cooking with my husband, petting strangers’ dogs or watching like, all the things on Netflix. Follow me on Instagram for even more inspiration!




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