Haleakala Crater
Haleakala Crater
4.5
About
Part of the larger of the two volcanoes that make up Maui, this peak is more than 10,000 feet up and the highest point on the island.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • TravelingAnnK
    Ventura, California350 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Above the Clouds
    Truly amazing. We were awe struck by the stark beauty. The road up to the top is long and winding. When you are at the top you are above the clouds. The colors of the rock were red, orange, black and brown. In the distance you can see the blue ocean. At 10,000 feet you can feel the altitude.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 6, 2023
  • serenescene1818
    Boston, Massachusetts26 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must do!
    Wondrous place especially at sunset when you don't need reservations. The hikes are strenuous except for the Lilikei Lookout esp the altitude. We were nervous about driving to the summit and considered taking a tour but we're glad we drove as the tours are too expensive. Only the 20min segment between Headquarters Visitor Ctr and Haleakala Visitor Ctr (summit) was a little scary with no guardrails and dropoffs. The rest of the drive was fine.Bring warm clothing including long pants and jackets. The wind was wild. Sunset was beautiful and the ensuing golden hour was magnificient. If you don't like driving mountain paths in the dark, you still have approx 35mins to drive down with some daylight after sunset.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 11, 2023
  • TravelFun7
    Bloomington, Illinois81 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Haleakala is heavenly!
    Not counting the beaches, if you don't do anything else on Maui, do Haleakala. It is 100% worth it, and better than the experience on Road to Hana IMO. We did not go for sunrise and the experience was still absolutely incredible. Completely breathtaking!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 6, 2023
  • Robert P
    28 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful, unique views. Challenging drive.
    The views from the summit are unique and spectacular, very different from the typical Hawaii landscape. We drove and were fine, but it does take some concentration and you will be tired at the end. Use your lower gears on the way down. We went at mid day to avoid crowds and it was not crowded. We drove through clouds on the way up but by the time we reached the summit the clouds had burned off, offering an amazing view. The changing landscape as the elevation increases was interesting. Take a jacket and be careful of the altitude. It is a steep rise and you well feel the effects at the summit.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 10, 2023
  • Patricia G
    7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Extraordinary!
    This was the most moving tour in competition with the Grand Canyon! Nettie, our Kapuna tour bus driver took us up to Haleakala National Park on Maui at sunset. She was a 12 out of 10 commentator and informing as well as inspirational tour guide! We were so honored to be with one of only 500 full blooded Hawaiian's left as a tour guide. We had a heart stopping view of the crater and the mind blowing sunset above the clouds. Our most memorable tour of our cruise and excursions!
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 24, 2023
  • Jeff D
    Murrieta, California323 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Extreme weather change
    Very cool to make the drive and see the view from that elevation. Nice half day trip. I suggest packing a lunch and stop at one of the wonderful view spots and make a lunch stop out of it. Was fun to go from a hot beach through rain and into 40 degree mountains. Bring a warm sweatshirt if you get cold easy. Loved the views the entire way up and down.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 30, 2023
  • Rafal Los
    Atlanta, Georgia6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A magical must-do
    In a word: AMAZING. No review will do this justice - it's something you MUST go and experience for yourself. The facilities are clean, stocked, and readily available. The very top is a wonder to behold - either go for the sunrise, or stay for the sunset - either way it's MAGICAL.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written December 15, 2023
  • JoanneLB
    Long Beach, New York57 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing experience
    Driving up is not for the faint of heart. The road is 1 lane each direction and very windy. Half way up there is no more guard rail and just mountain down the side. It was all worth it. We headed up for sunset. When we got to the top we parked and had to walk up a bit to get to a section to watch sunset. There is another section you can walk further up the road to but the air is thin so we didn't go up there. It feels like this is what being on the moon would be like with the black rocks and dirt. Anyway, you can't see the full sunset because you are up at 10,000 feet and the clouds are there but watching the sun set under the clouds was still amazing. It was my teenage daughters favorite part of the trip. It is high up and definitely cold so bring warm clothes to put on once you get up there. Also, once the sun goes down I recommend moving fast so you can start driving before the tour busses head down and before it gets really dark. If we ever go back we will check out sunrise.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written January 14, 2024
  • TAB
    Encinitas, California17 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Just say YES to Haleakala!
    Every day before our trip, we had the conversation...so, do you want to do the Haleakala crater? Weighing the pros/cons, we realized we needed to secure a ticket online before deciding. So, I created an account and did a trial run to to through the process for getting a reservation the day before I actually made our reservation. Make sure you set up your account ahead of time since securing tickets are a quick process. I was online at 7:00am, and all tickets were gone by 7:02am. Our reservation was for the second day we were there, which was great because we were already a bit jet lagged and getting up at 3:30am wasn't as big a deal as if we were already more relaxed. We almost didn't go because the weather report was for high winds, but we decided to give it a try. We brought hats, polartec jackets, sweats and the hotel gave us extra blankets. Gloves would have been a good addition. We arrived at 6am from Kapalua in our rental car. So glad we arrived early because you can really appreciate going from darkness to light. It was cold and windy, but really not an issue overall. So, if you are on the fence, just do it! It is a beautiful experience. Nature at it's finest. Stop for breakfast on your way down and then kick back and enjoy the Aloha of Hawaii, the people and the beauty of the island.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 13, 2024
  • angeleyes27
    Brigantine, New Jersey5,283 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice on a clear day. Waste on cloudy day
    Twice we drove over 2 hours each way to see the crater and saw nothing because of clouds. The crater when you see it is interesting and beautiful to see. There used to be a webcam so you could see the view at the top but it is inactive. A visitor center at the top was closed. It is a half mile from the visitor center to the summit which has an observatory. Haleakala Crater is beautiful but the road is winding, well paved and has drop offs in places
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 7, 2024
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travelwinegirl
Gloucester, MA86 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
first off The Mt. is known for it's experience at sunrise. I've been there 2 times and have never made it.. usually due to weather. You should know that if you want to do sunrise you need to make a resevation on line (it's $1) for entry between 3AM-7AM. As the weather had been quite rainy and clouds could be seen we decided instead of waking up at an ungodly hour, traveling at least an 1 1/2 - 2 hours drive. We went in the afternoon. we were not disappointed. The traffic of both cars and people were lite and we were able to see everything. Note: there is a $30 entry fee per car and that is good for 3 day AND gets you into the state park on the road to Hana.. so plan ahead and accordingly.
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joe F
Chicago, IL153 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We drove up to the summit of Haleakala Crater to see the sunrise, but the night sky without ambient light or pollution was equally spectacular. We left our hotel at 2:30 am (yes, that early) since the 35-40 mile drive is nothing but switchbacks w/o any lights. Also, you need a $1 ticket to get into the park before 7 am and need to get it in advance online.

Once we got to the summit, the stars we totally amazing. I have never seen so many stars, nor actually seen the Milky Way by looking into the side of our galaxy. And then we watched the night sky slowly give way to a spectacular sunrise, The colors over the crater and in the crater morphed and blended ever so slightly over time but presented a beautiful view over time.
Written March 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jerry K
Adelaide, Australia65 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
The two of us drove ourselves from Kaanapali to the summit of Haleakala in January 2020. It takes awhile to get up there and we wanted to be there well before sunrise so we left at 3:45am. The road up Haleakala is rather nerve wracking with winding narrow roads and a significant ascent. I drove and it was not an easy drive. Parts of the drive do not have guard rails and does get your attention. There are no places to get gas/petrol so ensure to fuel up before you go.

You need a reservation to arrive prior to 7:00am and then it’s a $30 fee to enter the national park. It is very cold (around freezing) so you really do need to be prepared.

We were able to see the stars before first light and that alone was fantastic. We also saw four shooting stars in roughly 30 minutes. The night sky was breathtaking. The sunrise is surreal. There was chanting in Hawaiian as the sun started to peak through. The light illuminated the crater which was simply breathtaking. The views were tremendous as you could see the crater, towns like Kahului far below and even volcanos on the big island of Hawaii.

Simply beautiful!
Written January 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lynn K
Saint Louis, MO12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
I have been to Maui three times and have not had a chance to see the Sunrise. This last trip was really tough to get a reservation. They only offered a very limited about of reservations each morning and could only try to reserve it 24 hours prior. Every morning at 7a I woke up and tried to make reservations for the following day and in literally 30 seconds all of the reservations were gone.

We finally decided to try the Sunset and wow that was beautiful. We downloaded the Shaka Maui app($30 for 6 driving tours) and followed the Sunset & Stargazing Haleakala Tour (self-guided). Totally worth it. It is about a half-day tour (4-6 hours). If you like to hike there are a few trails during this guide.

We packed a cooler and do not forget warm clothes, it gets chilly when that sun goes down. We could not find parking near the observatory, however, there was plenty of parking at the visitor's station right before the observatory with equally as great of a view of the sunset.

I would recommend adding this to your list of things to do.
Written May 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

thegees1
Reading, UK187 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
We drove up 10,000 feet to arrive at the top of the Haleakalā Crater in the National Park. Do be careful at the top as the high altitude may affect you & the last steps to climb ( optional ) may make you breathy.
Make sure you bring a coat or jumper as it can be cold & windy.
At the top there are incredible views & it was straightforward to drive up. It’s $30 entry for each car & there’s a visitor centre that has maps & information. Lots of folk are up here between 3am-10am but we drove up around 2pm & we watched the sunset which was lovely. Do not miss. The scenery is stunning.
Written February 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

CarMarChar
Southampton, UK6 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We booked at 7am when tickets went live two days before, when the forecast looked good for the sunrise trip. Left Lahaina at 3.30am. Bought coffee in Kahului (gas station) at 4.30am. When we got to the park entrance and paid our $30 we were told we couldn’t get to the top due to road conditions and we may not see the sunrise. We decided to plough on but we had to park well below the crater facing the wrong direction to see the sunrise. It was icy and cold and low cloud cover impeded visibility. We needed the restroom so we ended up going down to a lower parking area with restroom before sunrise. Nothing special about the sunrise at that level - it just got light. No colours or atmosphere. That’s the risk you take when you have to decide two days ahead.
Written February 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

redhead_roaming
Seattle, WA2,878 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
By the time we decided to go to Maui, it was far too late to get a reservation for sunrise so we opted to do sunset. Since I haven't done both, I can't say how they really compare but we really loved sunset. We love star gazing so it was probably preferable for us.

We were staying in the Wailea area and it took less than 2 hours to drive there. We also stopped at Safeway prior and packed some snacks and salads that didn't require too much refrigeration so we could essentially have dinner up there. The drive up was a little scary but nothing horrible. It was fun driving through the clouds and once you broke through, being above the clouds was pretty. Driving back down in the dark, probably because you couldn't see the edge, was nice. Ignorance is bliss!

We should have gotten up to the top a little over an hour before sunset but the place where you pay the toll to get in took forever (and it really shouldn't have). Some people roll right through so they obviously have the pass (or they're taking a chance and not paying) but it's just a solo credit card machine and some cars/people seemed to take 3-5 minutes each to pay while it only took us 30 seconds. Not sure if there's ever a person that can take money.

So once we got through that and got to the top, we had less than 30 minutes. The upper parking lot was already full so we parked at the bottom one and walked up (which is what you're supposed to do in that case) and it was around 1/2 mile walk with no sidewalk. By the time we parked and walked up, we had less than 10 minutes and there was a decent crowd all spaced out. We got some beautiful pictures as the sun set. We did notice for people who were arriving too late to make the walk up to the upper parking lot, there was a crowd of people watching the sunset in the lower parking lot.

Within 10 minutes of the sun setting, it got windy and cold. They say it gets down to freezing in that area and I don't think it was far off. In the upper parking lot, there's a lone building that's open with no electricity, that we took shelter in off and on. Otherwise, we laid on the ground and watched the stars for about an hour. We didn't walk around too much so I'm not sure about any trails.

The lower parking lot has a handful of porta-potties that are open presumably 24/7. We used them after the sun had set.

This was one of our favorite things we did while in Maui because it wasn't terribly crowded and people dispersed quickly after the main attraction (I.e. the sun setting) was complete. We didn't see more than a dozen people after that.
Written April 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BnMadven
New York City, NY677 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021
The chance to watch the sun rise above the clouds sounded like a magical experience. I marked the date I could make a reservation to enter Haleakala National Park and snagged a reservation (and you must have one for entry). My partner and I were lucky that the sun rises a little later at the end of November, so we left our hotel in Kihei at 3AM to give ourselves enough time to safely drive up the mountain while it was still dark. The drive up had hairraising moments, particularly the highest sections where there weren't guardrails between the edge of the road and the mountain face. & a tip to future drivers going up, it isn't necessary to tailgate the car(s) in front of you going at the proper speed limit and have your brights on the entire time. You will also be charged $30 for a 3 day parking pass for Haleakala (we were visiting the other side of the park the following day, so that worked in our favor. However, if you're only visiting once, you may need to tell them you only want a 1 day pass). We got to the summit with 45 minutes to spare before the official sunrise but many people got there before us and we were one of the last cars to park at the summit lot. My partner and I were able to wear our November clothes from NYC up at the summit to keep warm. Gloves would be smart, if you're keeping your hands out on your phone/camera to capture as much as you can. The way the light changes truly is magical, turning high and low laying clouds from shadows to shapes. A park ranger was at the summit giving some background and did a Hawaiian sunrise chant as the sun appeared from the horizon of clouds. It was an absolutely magical moment. Many people appeared to leave after the sunrise, but take a few hours to hike part of the Sliding Sands Trail. The topography really feels otherworldly. And if you look hard enough, you can see smoke or steam coming from the tops of the cinder cones further in the valley, to remind you that Haleakala is still a live volcano. Take your time with the hike (and bring water) as you are just under 10,000 feet above sea level and may have shortness of breath at that height. Regardless, it's an experience like no other.
Written December 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hawkhorn
Sugar Land, TX32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
What a great and unique experience. Watching the sunrise from the top of the world. You should really do it at least once if you have the opportunity. I try not to pass up life events that Samual Clements went out of his way to do. Tips: Get on National Parks website up to six months in advance to obtain a sunrise parking permit. (Cheep, $1) Start your drive earlier than you think you need to. Some people are very cautious drivers and the road to the top is not designed for passing in the dark. Also, the glow to the east starts way before the sunrise and you want to enjoy the stars from atop. I know you didn't pack for winter so wear your whole wardrobe if you have too, plus a windbreaker, its cold. Charge your phone or camera, you'll be snapping pictures for an hour and experimenting with the camera settings. Stay after the sunrise, most people head back down. I know you're tired but enjoy the National Park with the few visitors that remain and hike a little, you can always take a nap later. If you are going to Hana, the entrance fee gets you into the Seven Sacred Pools as well. Take your time on the drive out of the park, there are some interesting stops to explore on the way out. I love our National Parks.
Written January 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AnniWe9
Lajares, Spain98 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Solo
Sunrise or Sunset on top of the Haleakala, that was the question. I went for the sunset as you don’t need a reservation for it like you do for the sunrise. That’s how I could check how the weather was on the same day and deceive spontaneously which day to go. You want to bring warm clothes or even a blanket as it gets quite cold up there. The view is stunning and you can easily look over to Big Island from the top. After sunset you want to leave very quick as everyone starts to drive down again.
My tip: the entry ticket is valid for three days, so I recommend to combine visiting the Haleakala for sunset or sunrise with your Road to Hana Trip in this period of time as you will need the entry ticket as well to visit the seven sacred pools.
Written February 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Haleakala Crater - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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