One of my absolutely favorite parts about John and I’s visit to Maui was being able to watch the sun set and rise from the summit of Haleakala. Before heading over to Maui, John told me he wanted to drive 2 hours each way to the top of this mountain to watch the sun set and rise. I was totally against the idea, but I’m glad I went along with it anyway!
Watching the sunrise and sunset from the top of Haleakala was truly a once in a lifetime experience! We were 10,000 feet above sea level, and well above the clouds! So while we didn’t get to watch the sunset or rise over the horizon, watching the light dance on the clouds was spectacular!
I’ll start with sunset, since that was what we experienced first. After a morning on Lana’i, John and I had lunch in Lahaina, then booked it to Haleakala. Some traffic delayed us a bit, but we managed to start climbing the mountain with the sun still up. We really wanted to have a practice run at driving up Haleakala in the daylight, before trying to drive it in the dark to watch the sunrise.
Driving up Haleakala was quite the experience. Just like the Road to Hana, Haleakala Highway had death defying twist after death defying twist. After going around one curve, we came face to face with a flaming ball of gas. Shaded by some clouds, I could see the perfect outline of the sun, along with a piece of road that looked like it ended in the sun, thanks to the curves.
We were well above the clouds when the sun started to set. The light produced a rainbow of colors above the clouds like I have never seen.
The following morning, John and I woke up at 4am, to make our way up the mountain once again. By 4:30 we were on the road. Luckily, we got going when we did, because there was a bit of traffic, due to other adventurers making their way up. There were only five cars behind us that were allowed up to the visitors center. And at that point, cars were quadruple parked. Maybe even more!
It’s a good thing that we packed a sweater and pants, since it was a brisk 40 degrees at the summit for sunrise. We were there around 6:30, which gave us about half and hour to get settled before the sun peaked up over the clouds. There was a little trail that we were able to hike up to then sit on the rocks.
Being able to slowly watch the sun rise was incredible! You could literally see it inching up above the clouds.
If you’re ever in Maui, Haleakala is certainly a once (or twice) in a life time expereience that you have to check out!