Haleakala National Park
Haleakala National Park
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Also known as the "House of the Sun," this 30,000-acre national park is popular for hiking, camping, and catching sunrises and sunsets.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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5.0
2,585 reviews
Excellent
2,148
Very good
351
Average
67
Poor
9
Terrible
10

Michael B
Bellflower, CA24,082 contributions
May 2022
Haleakalā National Park is named after Haleakalā, a dormant Volcano, which last erupted sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD. The park covers an area of 52.0 sq mi; and is divided into two distinct sections: the summit area, which has 38.6 sq mi of wilderness, and the coastal Kipahulu area.
To reach the crater at the summit of the Haleakala National Park, there is a long winding well maintained road that contains many blind turns, very steep drop-offs without guardrails, and 32 switchbacks, but also passes the visitor center restrooms.
Sometimes animals including cows and Nene geese cross the highway, watch out for them when the conditions are foggy. Even though The National Park Service has suspended commercial bicycle tours within the park after many fatal bike accidents, they are still a danger on the lower slopes of the highway, especially on blind corners when the inexperience cyclists tend to swing wide.
As you near the Haleakala National Park crater look out for the silversword plant it only grows here and nowhere else on Earth. The grounds of the crater are dotted with numerous rare Ahinahina plants, and Nēnē (Hawaiian geese,) can be seen wandering around near the carparks WC, and steps leading up to the observatory.
For Hikers, there are two trails leading into the crater from the summit area the Halemau'u and Sliding Sands trails. The unusually clear views of the night sky here make Haleakalā one of the best places in the United States for amateur astronomy, so bring your binoculars or telescopes.
The car park in the crater only holds 75 cars which is not a problem in the daytime, but for romantics wishing to see the sunrise, it is a big problem as there are no last-minute drives up allowed by the ranger at the park gate. If you do not have prearranged reservations, they will not let you enter. (You have to book at least one or two months in advance)
To drive the road without stopping to admire the "moonlike" scenery will take between 1 and 1.5 hours, the sunset is just as magnificent, and not as crowded. The last place for food or petrol is in Makawao.

TIP: Buy a National Park pass for $20 from the park warden, it covers the entrance for the whole car, plus it can be used for all the other parks nationwide.
I would apricate a thumbs up below if you found this review informative.
Thank you.
Written August 24, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

kimpossible
New York City, NY430 contributions
Jun 2022
Woke up at 2am to make sure we were there for the sunrise. The drive completely in the dark with so many switchbacks was a bit scary especially with the tour busses speeding behind us, but well worth the time and the drive. Make sure to dress warmly because it is cold at the top, but you will be rewarded with a glorious sunrise. Tickets are released 60 days in advance and they only release 125 tickets per day so reserve well in advance.
Written June 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

thisgirl_Gray
Los Angeles, CA2,327 contributions
Jun 2021 • Family
Visited on June 8 with family to watch the sunrise. First of all, be sure to go online and make a reservation if you plan to watch the sunrise because they will not let you in without it before 7am. The cost is $1.00 for the reservation then you pay the entrance fee at the park entry gate upon arrival. The entry fee is per car. Be advised that you should plan to get into the park between 3am and 5am, if the sun is to rise around 5:30. The drive up is about 15 to 30 miles depending the area, and the road is winding and steep; so if you are fearful of heights on a narrow two-lane road you might not want to be the driver. It is very dark going up, and super sunny going down. Some people hang around and hike the trails after watching the sunrise, but we didn't. It is slso very cold and windy, so you will definitely want to wear a warm jacket, maybe even a scarf and gloves, and warmer clothing. This sunrise view is definitely the best on the island and is worth fighting the chilly temperatures. I highly recommend this activity if you do not have a height phobia.
Written June 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jan G
Ostrava, Czech Republic53 contributions
Oct 2022
We got up very early to catch the sunrise and were on time at the entrance gate, where we were "welcomed" by a lady with a cane. Unfortunately, she didn't let us in because none of our payment and credit cards worked (we tried four in total). He uncompromisingly sent us away even though we had paid for the parking reservation in advance and the best thing is that she did not offer us any other payment option even though she saw it and tried to pay with our cards in the machine herself. I would say that she almost didn't want to communicate with us. We are from Europe and we were very much looking forward to this experience, which was unfortunately not allowed to us, although in other parks the staff always helped us to pay in another way. We were very devastated and the whole day was spoiled.
Written November 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

raweekley
Mason, OH134 contributions
Aug 2021
This amazing destination is a time commitment, but the views are unlike any you will see ANYWHERE. That being said, the sunrise experience gets all the press and thus the demand. Obtaining tickets for the limited audience permitted access for sunrise is next to impossible. The alternative? Sunset!

Sunset is amazing as you tower over the clouds and see the kaleidoscope of color created in the evening sky. If you are thinking about making the trip, don't look at the clouds shrouding the mountain and decide against going - that's the magic element that makes it all so unique. You'll be above the cloud cover and the visuals are simply jaw-dropping. Sunset - do it!
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Corneliu A
Montreal, Canada358 contributions
Oct 2022
Proudly claiming 10,023 feet at its peak, Haleakalā is Hawaii's third tallest volcano. We visited the park 11 years ago, but bad weather decided to hide the summit in thick fog. We had chosen a beautiful sunny day for the second try and it paid off. The journey via Haleakalā driveway to the top is simply mesmerizing. Upon entry, visitors must purchase a recreational pass at a cost of $30 per car. Bring extra layers to change into when you arrive and expect strong winds or sunshine. Sunscreen is not an option but a requirement. Do your homework before deciding to hike, some trails are time consuming and not for the unfit. If you are lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, the views at the top are breathtaking. Among a wide variety of lava colors and rocky landscapes, you will see the rare and famous silversword. We arrived early to avoid the midday crowds and had packed snacks and brought water as no drinks or food are available in the park. We felt slight signs of altitude sickness, on the summit crater of Haleakalā, but nothing major. On your way if you want to stop for lunch, we will recommend the town of Kula. Bottom line, the scenic drive and summit hike was memorable and highly recommended.
Written December 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mamma50
Bengaluru, India355 contributions
Oct 2022 • Family
Enjoy sunrise between 3 am and 7 am. Book upto 60 days in advance to avoid disappointment. though we booked very close to our travel. A 2 wheel drive can take you comfortably up the winding roads. Travelling from Lahaina as early as 3 am can be quite challenging. So stay close to the Park, go to see the sunrise, spend the whole day enjoying the ocean views, the mountains and the drive around the crater rim and return to the same close-by accommodation. Simply fascinating. Around dusk, enjoy the sunset view and the stars. The pictures taken are at an altitude of 10,000 ft which shows the different colours of the volcano soil and the beautiful blue sky.
Written December 4, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mike B
Warrenville, IL7 contributions
Feb 2021
We did the sunrise experience on Haleakala and figured out a way to avoid the crowds. We decided to spend the night prior at the Kula Lodge, which is approx 45 mins from the summit. This allowed us to sleep in a bit later than is we had stayed in our Ka'anapali hotel and still arrive early enough for some excellent stargazing. It was a particularly cold day in Maui and the summit (with windchill) was even colder than I had expected. We live in Chicago and brought our full winter gear, but were still really cold. We arrived at 5:30 am (sunrise was at 6:55) and there were already a handful of cars there. We walked up to the summit building (closed due to covid). The stars were epic! Very few people showed up until about 30 mins prior to sunrise and then they really crowded around and in front of other people - zero social or spacial awareness. It got so bad that we left 10 mins before sunrise (had already seen so many beautiful changes to the sky) - we were over the people. On our drive back down we spotted the Kalahaku Overlook and decided to give that a shot. There was no one else there and it was the perfect spot to watch the rest of the sunrise. Sure, we missed a few moments during our drive down, but it was amazing to have that view all to ourselves. It also meant that we were the first to start driving back down the hill, so we didn't get stuck behind slow cars or have others riding our tail. I would do it all again, but would bring handwarming packets for our gloves!
Written February 12, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jessica p
Westlake, OH128 contributions
Jul 2021
Sunrise amazing. I am so glad we got up at 2 am to see this
The park service manages this perfectly so it is an amazing experience despite the crowing of tourists on this island.
Several months in advance I got a reservation on nps.gov. You have to keep checking to see when these open up. I think they release a few the day before but why gamble.
We left Wailea at 3 am. If you are coming form eastern mainland if you plan this at beginning on your trip not as brutal as it is 9 am EST.
The road is very windy. At the park entrance they check you off as they have a list of who has reserved and wont let anyone else in. Then you drive another long drive up to either summit parking or visitor center. The whole second hour of the drive is very dark and very tortuous-. Watch out for cows on the road.
Be aware it is VERY COLD
Like we were in gloves, hat, sweatshirt, long pants (my husband in long johns) and STILL cold.
We got to watching station by 5 am. I thought, great, I have to freeze to death for an hour. The the hour is very dynamic and you see beautiful changes in the sky over the hour that are all worth
The crown was very nice and it was not overcrowded but if you get there later you might not have a perfect view.
There was a junior ranger who gave a short talk and they were to give a chant.
Very moving and not to be missed experience.
The volcano in front of you looks like a moonscape.
After this we did a short hike. There is a weird forest of a number of imported trees such as Eucalyptus, European trees, etc that is a very short and easy hike. I think there is another one on the road out
My only complaint, the NPS had everything closed up. Would have liked to buy some park swag and support the park
Written July 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Aashish K
Columbus, OH87 contributions
Dec 2021
Haleakala at sunrise is a must-do. The reservation was made first thing 60 days in advance but worth it. The drive up in the dark was an adventure in itself. I would recommend arriving 15-30 min prior to sunrise to get a good spot. With windchill it feels much colder than the 30-40 degrees we were told to expect and I recommend to dress appropriately with layers! Pack a large breakfast with plans to get something on the way back or breakfast and lunch to make things easier.

Though the sky initially looked like it wouldn't cooperate, the clouds cleared up and dazzled us. There was a daily sunrise ceremony(?) led by the rangers that added to the experience. The views were amazing, enhanced by the small amount of snow and ice. There are a number of good trails ranging from moderate to difficult, short and long. We tried to keep our eyes open for the endangered nene and while we didn't see one, it was fun nevertheless.
Written December 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Haleakala National Park (Kula) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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