We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Amazing...consider sunset instead of sunrise!”
Review of Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Haleakala Maui Sunrise Tour with Breakfast
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: A dormant volcano measuring 10,000 feet above sea level, it is Maui's highest point.
Reviewed August 2, 2005

My wife and I decided to go up the mountain on 7/25 to see the sunset after spending the early part of our day driving the loop around west Maui. It was one of the best experiences of our trip!

Of course, the main attraction of this park is getting up early and going up to view the sunrise. While I'm sure that is every bit as spectacular, I'd also recommend going up for sunset, which we found to be breathtaking. Here are some things to consider about sunset:

1. You don't have to wake up at 0-dark-thirty. You're finished by 7:30pm and still have plenty of time to get back down and go somewhere for dinner.

2. You can judge whether or not the cloud cover makes it worth the trip (and remember, you actually WANT some clouds...too few clouds = boring sunrise/sunset, too many clouds (or too high) obscures your view. Just make sure the summit is poking through and it'll be fine).

3. It's MUCH less crowded (there were maybe two dozen people there that evening), which makes the drive up (and down) much faster.

4. It's warmer while the sun's up (low 60's)...and even when the temperature drops quickly as the sun goes down (upper 40's), it takes hours to reach the overnight lows you'll feel at 4am (mid 30's).

5. Unless you're planning a horse ride into the crater or the bike ride down the mountain, this gives you plenty of energy and daylight to do some of the moderate hikes and then cap off the visit with the main event (sunset).

Of course, it's all up to the individual (or group) visiting at the time, and I'm sure there are advantages to sunrise that we were not aware of. But I wanted to point out that sunsets are amazing up there because I hadn't read much in that regard since the popular focus is on sunrise.

Also, make a point to take the Leleiwi Overlook trail and the Pa Kaoao trail if you can. Both take 10-15 minutes (round trip) and both have great views.

60  Thank LatePlanner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (6,780)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"sunrise or sunset"
in 148 reviews
"the big island"
in 269 reviews
"parking spot"
in 96 reviews
"visitor center"
in 306 reviews
"sea level"
in 193 reviews
"bring a jacket"
in 162 reviews
"sliding sands trail"
in 166 reviews
"parking lot"
in 267 reviews
"viewing area"
in 64 reviews
"winding road"
in 125 reviews
"warm clothes"
in 174 reviews
"the sun rise"
in 145 reviews
"cloud cover"
in 99 reviews
"credit card"
in 67 reviews
"long drive"
in 172 reviews
"leave early"
in 69 reviews
"mid morning"
in 62 reviews

6,085 - 6,089 of 6,782 reviews

Reviewed July 31, 2005

Well worth the 2 am pick up! Ask for Jen and Jake. They are awesome. Jen drives the van while Jake does the guided ride down the volcano. He is extremely experienced and safety oriented. They work well together. Make sure you TIP them! they only receive min., wage and they do a great job taking care of you. Do it, you will never regret it!

6  Thank BFFsomd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2005

Don't just stare into the crator from afar or ride a bike down the mountainside -- you'll miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand at the edge of a crater! If you're in general good health, take several hours and hike directly INTO Haleeakala Crater.

The half-day hike takes you into a virtual Mars all the way to one of the crator's mini volcanoes! I couldn't believe my eyes when we reached it. My legs got weak when I realized I was on the edge of a HUGE hole with no fence or barrier to protect me from falling in!

It seemed most people turned back before reaching the crater, but if you can stick it out a little more, it will be worth the effort.

We took the Sliding Sands to Ka Lu'u o ka' O'o trail that starts at the visitor center. It slopes a little downward the entire time. One the way, you'll pass by a field of the rare silversword plants atop black earth. You'll have to step down a rocky slope to reach the crator, but I'm a sissy, and if I can do it, you can, too. You'll do some light rock climbing on the way back.

You don't need any exotic equipment to do the half-day hike, just a bagpack and the following:

*Good shoes: I wore Teva sandals, which handled the terrain fine, except my feet were covered in fine yellow dirt by at the end and little rocks made their way under my feet. I'd wear shoes.

*A light jacket. I never needed more than this because of the exersion. Take it off and on as you need to. I brought a sweater and parka just in case, though.

*Sunscreen!!!!! Don't let the cool weather decieve you! A hat (my scalp burned a little) and sunglasses will keep you comfortable, for you'll face the sunshine on the way back.

*A big water bottle, not the smaller ones, as it won't be enough for the uphill hike back. Snacks would be good to replenish energy.

*A camera.

You also don't need to be an athlete to do it. Just rest as soon as you feel tired. (I don't work out, and I had to rest after every uphill stretch.) Taking smaller steps made the return journey a little easier for me, though there were times when I felt like giving up. Really challenged my focus and perseverance. The whole thing took us about five hours.

Good luck!

22  Thank Jaea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Council Bluffs, IA
Reviewed July 9, 2005

We just returned from Maui and would highly recommend the bike trip down the Haleakala crater. We went through Mountain Riders and were really pleased with the entire trip. Our driver, Brad, picked us up at our townhouse gate, and then drove us to their headquarters where we viewed a safety film. Next, we picked up our guide (Popps) and on up we went. It was cold at the top, but we were warned - if you do your reading on this trip, you will know to dress warm. The sunrise was breathtaking, but, in my opinion, nothing compared to the ride itself. My husband had wanted to do this trip and I was reluctant. But I think I enjoyed it more than he did!!! Popps was a great guide, always riding with his eyes on the group behind him. And at stops, Brad was great at taking pictures of us. It wasn't a difficult trip in having to pedal a lot, because you just don't!!! The curves were not really difficult - just a lot of them. But it is really a beautiful ride. This was by far the best activity we did while in Maui. I would recommend it and Mountain Riders to anyone who knows how to bike.
Grandma Bev

7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
A TripAdvisor Member
New York
Reviewed June 29, 2005

Drive up to Haleakala. We decided to do this instead of the bike ride down that everyone seems to do. I'm glad we did it on our own. We were able to drive at our own pace, get out to take pics, and not freeze our butts off in the middle of the night to watch the sunrise. I'm sure that's romantic and all to some people, but freezing my butt off on the top of a mountain at 3am isn't tempting to us! ;)

The drive is gorgeous, amongst the clouds and everything! It seems like there is a breathtaking photo-op at every turn! We captured some of them in our photos for you to view.

We highly recommend taking a leisurely drive up Haleakala!

15  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Haleakala Crater also viewed


Been to Haleakala Crater? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing