The list of “must see” attractions on Maui is never ending. From snorkeling to hiking waterfalls, beach combing to helicopter rides, your adventurous side will never be bored. When planning your vacation make sure not to leave Haleakala Crater out from your list. With spectacular sunrises, aerial views of the central valley, and breathtaking panoramic views; there really is no place like Haleakala.
Haleakala actually means “House of the rising Sun.” The Hawaiian legend states that the goddess, Hina, was upset that the sun was moving across the sky too quickly for her tapa cloth clothing to dry, and her son Maui decided to do something about it. Before sunrise the next morning Maui went to the summit of Haleakala and waited for the Sun to awaken. When it rose, Maui lassoed the Sun and told it that he would let the Sun go, but in return the Sun would have to move across the sky much slower. The Sun agreed to Maui’s ultimatum, and now we get long days in the sun!
There are so many things to do at the summit alone. There’s horseback riding through the Mars-like crater, camping at the foggy forest cabins, perusing the lava rocks for alien-esque flora… but my recommendation for you is to come up and enjoy the sunrise.
Don’t forget to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and warm clothing. It may be Maui, but up here it gets chilly! Let’s put it this way: when I’ve gone up to see the sunrise during the winter years I’ve walked on patches of ice. Even daytime temperature can be cold enough for a sweatshirt or jacket, so don’t forget those layers (or two or three!). Watching a sunrise from the summit is an experience you won’t soon forget. The sorbet of colors in the sky are something out of a painting. Please, please go! A quick Google search will tell you what time the sun is rising on Maui.
Haleakala is 10,000 feet tall, which means that it takes a long time to get to the summit. Expect for an hour and a half drive, with plenty of time to stop and take pictures of the unparalleled upcountry landscape. It costs $10 per vehicle to get into the park, and I suggest staying as long as you can!
Be sure to check out The National Park service website for their detailed info on the Haleakala National Park.