Park Headquarters Visitor Center (7000 ft/2134 m) - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Haleakala Visitor Center (9740 ft/2969 m) - 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Kipahulu Visitor Center (sea level) - 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
If you visit Maui, go see the sunrise from the top of Haleakala National Park. Small kids might not be amenable to the chilly, early trip, but older kids and adults will appreciate it. Do it your first morning on the island, when you are still jetlagged and on mainland US time. Take plenty of warm layers and a camera. Try to find a spot away from the crowds to enjoy the sunrise.
It takes a long time to get to the summit (2hrs). There is alot of hype about watching the sunrise there. However, i found it disappointing. Since the sun rises on the leeward side of the island there are generally clouds blocking the view. Since this is a 1/2 day adventure i would recommend spending time doing something else.
If you want your kids to experience amazing - take them above the clouds. Going to Haleakala crater is amazing. Make sure you take jackets and long pants if going for the sunrise. It may be Hawaii but it gets COLD up there! Our kids didn't believe us. We are from Utah and they were FREEZING. The wind coming up and over the crater freezes your bones. It would be wise to bring a coat and gloves. It takes about 2 hours from Kahului and Kihei and about 2.5 hours from Lahaina side. So wake up EARLY!
GET THERE EARLY - We got to the site an hour early and almost did not have a place to park. Luckily they opened up the bus parking for cars but it gets full FAST no matter what day you go.
KOMODO BAKERY - A lot of people head to Makawao after the sunrise and go to Komodo bakery. They are famouse for their creame filled doughnuts and doughnuts on a stick. They do sell out though and once they are gone, their gone. They also have weird hours and days that they are opened so check often to make sure you wont be disappointed when going there
WATCH OUT FOR BIKERS - after the sunris, if you choose to stick around and look at the crater, you will most likely be following bikers down. They usually ride in large groups. Some are courteous to drivers and pull over to the side to let you pass, others as we found out will take up the whole road and not let you pass for a very long time!
You literally are above the clouds and looking down into a crater. Suggested for anyone traveling to Maui!
The sunrise atop Haleakala is the most beautiful I have ever seen. Billowy clouds sat below the peak, reflecting oranges, pink, reds, and purples. We could see the Big Island in the distance and as the sun came up, suddenly the chilly temperatures didn't seem like much of a bother.
After the sunrise, we had a guide drive us down just past the park entry (You are no longer allowed to ride bikes inside park boundaries) and cruised downthe volcano as the sun began to warm up the island. The views were unforgettable. If you have tweens or teens, I highly recommend this experience. It is all downhill and you will be using your breaks instead of your pedals almost the entire way.
If you are in Maui you must make a trip to the top of the mountain. In my opinion the best time to take in the view is at sunrise. Yes, you will have to make the sacrifice to get up very early, but it is breathtaking and you won't forget it. The ride down is beautiful too and offers a different landscape to enjoy in contrast to the beaches
I loved this part of our trip! What a beautiful view! Next time I want to do the bike ride down the volcano. I loved the park, getting to see the crater, the tour, the dusty crater dirt, and the breath taking views of the amazing ocean! Plan a day trip if your going to do this. Take some snacks, enjoy the view and the landscape.
Standing on the top of Mt. Haleakala as the sun rises over the crater is the most magical moment. It truly is as if you can reach up and pluck the stars out of the sky. However, if you go, don't forget to dress warm. It is very very cold on top of that crater.
We took the 40+ mile bike ride down form the top of the crater to Baldwin State Beach a few years ago. Last I heard, they had cancelled the bike rides, but that may have changed.
The views form the crater at sunrise are nothing short of amazing. Believe it or not, the ride is actually a pice of cake. You go through plantations, lavender fields (the smell is AMAZING) and end up at an awesome beach. The bike companies provide shuttle transportation to & from your hotel.
If you go to catch the sunrise, bring a jacket & hat - it's COLD up there!
Go for sunrise or sunset, you won't be disappointed. We've been a few times when it is cloudy and it is still worth it. We have taken kids younger than 8 as was recommended.
You can also rent bikes or be part of a tour that bikes down Haleakala, which is probably more for bigger kids.
At the park’s entrance, there’s a small trail to the left of the headquarters; take it. It leads to two spectacular overlooks: Leleiwi and Kalahaku. Of the two, Kalahaku is the better because you get a good view of rare silversword plants from here. You can follow the signs for the Silversword Loop Trail; it’s less than 1⁄10 mile and will offer up-close views of these beautiful plants.
NOTE: On any hiking trail it’s important to stay on the well-worn paths. With a slight misstep or detour, a hiker could unknowingly crush the roots of an endangered plant, not only killing the plant, but eventually killing the insects that feed off of the plant. Please explore with caution and be aware that the ecosystem here is very fragile.
Several companies offer guided hikes throughout the park. Hike Maui, operated by naturalist extraordinaire Ken Schmitt, features a veritable menu of hiking options designed to accommodate different ages and skill levels. Many of his hikes include a picnic lunch, and all of them offer a great chance to learn about the biological, environmental, and geographical particulars of the area. In addition to Haleakala, Schmitt leads hikes in the remote areas of Hana, La Perouse Bay, Polipoli Springs, and Iao Valley. Don’t miss a chance to join his living classroom—it’s educational, fun, and beautiful all at the same time. For more information call 879–5270; or visit www.hikemaui.com.
The park’s visitor center is at the end of the road, about 10 miles beyond the headquarters. The center is open from sunrise to 3:00 P.M. and features informative displays that explain the nearby natural wonders. Every hour, the staff rangers provide a short, interesting lecture about the geological wonders of Haleakala. The rangers also host a variety of hikes, during which they take time to explain certain outstanding features of the flora, fauna, or landscape. For more information call the center at 572–4400.
Take the time to go all the way up to the top. It is breathtaking to see it during sunset or sunrise. Be safe and be sure to read about it before going. You will see a variety of fauna and animals that are endemic to Hawaii. The park rangers are always helpful. It is a unique place that is a wonder to see. Bring your camera and take lots of pictures!
If you go anywhere off the beach, go see the summit of Haleakala. The attached map is a bit misleading; you have to drive ten or so miles up a winding road (the only hazard being bicyclists). At the top there are literally breathtaking views of the crater, which is NOT the ugly black lava you might expect; it's a collection of smaller cones and ridges that look like they were painted in greens, reds, and blues. Even preschoolers will be impressed. There are silversword plants up there, and wild nene geese. If you're adventurous, while everyone's jet-lagged get up there early and watch the sunrise. It's a little chilly (downright cold, early morning), and if you only see clouds when you get there, just stick around a few minutes. Costs $10 a carload for a three day pass, but I think it's well worth it.