I’ve only been to Maui twice, but one of the things that I will continue to do every single time I visit and will hands down recommend time and time again is watching the sunrise over Haleakala and signing up for a bike ride down the volcano afterwards. It is a beyond amazing experience and so extremely peaceful, even it’s an extremely early wake up call. Today I thought that I’d break down our experience with Mountain Riders, so you can know exactly what to expect when you experience your own sunrise over Haleakala.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Haleakala National Park

First of all, I guess that y’all are probably wondering what in the heck Haleakala even is! Haleakala is an active volcano on the eastern side of the island of Maui, but don’t worry, it is  currently dormant. Besides being an active volcano, Haleakala also happens to be the highest peak on the island and can be seen from pretty much anywhere on the island.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Because Haleakala sits on the eastern side of the island, the sunrises over the crater of the volcano are beyond spectacular, which is why the Hawaiians named this volcano Haleakala which literally translates to “House of the Sun”. The Haleakala volcano is part of a National Park and offers not only access to beautiful sunrises, but some hiking trails as well.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Know Before You Go:

Go on your first day in Maui

Believe me when I say that seeing the sunrise over Haleakala is not to be missed, but in order to see the sunrise you have to wake up extremely early. And I’m not talking 4:30 early, I’m talking 2:00 in the morning early, which is why I very much suggest experiencing Haleakala on your first day in Maui.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Most tour groups will you pick you up at your hotel, and depending on where you’re staying, you could have a potential hour drive from your hotel to Haleakala. And that doesn’t even count getting fitted for your bike, grabbing all of your safety equipment, and signing all of your waivers! But don’t worry, your tour groups will have coffee waiting for you, so you can be at least a little perky before the sunrise.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Wear warm clothes

Remember when I said that Haleakala was the tallest peak on the island of Maui, well that’s about 10,000 feet above sea level, and the visitor center where you can watch the sunrise is almost that high above sea level as well. So what does that mean for you besides an amazing view? It means that it’s going to be very, very cold!

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Dressing in layers is definitely the key when it comes to watching the sunrise over Haleakala because it’ll be cold when you watch the sunrise from the summit, but you’ll be back in the warm and balmy island weather once you’ve ridden your bike down to the bottom of the volcano. To give you an idea of what to expect, we visited in July and the average lows at Haleakala are in the upper 40s and the average highs are in the mid 60s, so it will be cold!

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Most of the tour groups will give you some gloves and a body suit to wear, but you’ll still want to make sure that you wear jeans, closed toed shoes, and probably a jacket. There will be stops along the way so that you can take layers off, but the last thing that you want is to be miserable watching a beautiful sunset over the top of the tallest volcano on Maui!

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Go with a tour group

I’ve mentioned it several times already, but I highly recommend using a tour group when you go to the top of Haleakala. Not only will you not have to worry about driving that early in the morning and trying to navigate around an island and a National Park that you’re not familiar with in the dark, but you won’t have to deal with trying to actually get into the park and find parking and dealing with all the entrance fees as well.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Most of the tour groups will pick you up from your hotel, drive you up to the top of the mountain, help you navigate down the mountain, provide you with breakfast afterwards, and take you back to the hotel. It’s actually a very good deal, considering that your entrance fee to the park, bike rental, and transportation are all considered.

Bike down Haleakala

Now I know that the idea of biking down an active volcano doesn’t exactly thrill everybody, but trust me if I can do it, you can too! I definitely am not the one that has the best balance or is the most active or even can really ride a bike, so if I was able to do it, you can too! I mean I might have crashed my bike in Europe, but I managed to not fall off the volcano in Hawaii, but trust me that’s a story for another day.

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

When I say that you don’t have to be active to bike down Haleakala, I literally mean that you probably won’t even pedal the whole time that you’re on the bike. The bikes that are provided to you are a special kind of bike that are weighted to help you literally just glide down the volcano, plus you factor in the incline of Haleakala and yep, you won’t even be moving those pedals at all by yourself! It’s definitely a very different story if you try to bike across The Golden Gate Bridge, you will have to pedal your butt off in that situation!

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

Now besides not really having to work in order to bike down the volcano, choosing to bike down the volcano will also give you the opportunity to take in all the amazing sights of the island while also getting to experience a range of ecosystems as well. It truly is an experience that you don’t want to miss out on!

The Wandering Weekenders- What To Expect When Biking Down Haleakala

If you’re still sure that biking down the volcano isn’t for you, there are several tours that will drive you to the top of the volcano for the sunset and then drive you back down afterwards. It’s still gives you the opportunity to see the sunrise without having to deal with all the chaos that I mentioned before.

Overall though, you really don’t need much in order to enjoy a trip to the top of Haleakala, just your eyes in order to remember an unimaginable experience. Because believe me, it will truly be an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget! I’m linking up with these Wanderful Women from some Wanderful Wednesday- Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World!

Have you ever biked down Haleakala? If not, have I convinced you yet that you need a trip to watch the sunrise over the House Of The Sun?

Other Hawaii Posts

My First Trip To Hawaii- Maui
My First Trip To Hawaii- The Big Island
10 Things I Learned While Visiting Hawaii
Hawaii In Instagram Photos
Which Hawaiian Islands Should You Visit?
How To Spend 9 Days Exploring Maui and Kauai

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Everything you need to know and what you can expect when you're biking Haleakala in Maui.

  • Wow! What an incredible experience. Glad you were filled in on what to do and enjoyed the trip. Love the pictures!

    • It really was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad that we woke up early in order to do it! If you’re ever in Maui, you definitely need to try and do this!

  • omg i didnt even know about this but adding to list! and 2am is definitely no 4am but it looks worth it if you ask me! oh sunrises, get me every time 🙂

    xoxo cheshire kat

    • It’s definitely worth it, and with the time difference, the waking up that early really isn’t too bad. You definitely feel it later on that day, but it’s not too terrible! I hope that you’ll do it if you make it back to Maui!

  • This looks super amazing! I will definitely keep this in mind if we ever end up in Hawaii 🙂

    • How amazing would it be if y’all made it to Hawaii! If y’all are ever there, you definitely need to check it out, it’s an incredible experience!

  • Jen

    Wow! This bike ride sounds absolutely amazing. I am adding it to my list of things to do if we ever go back.

    • You definitely need to do this when y’all make it back to Maui! It’s an incredible experience, and worth every minute of sleep that you miss out on!

  • The first thing I thought when I saw your title was, but isn’t it steep?? So I love that you mentioned that you hardly have to pedal! 2am is definitely early, but I can see how it’s totally worth it!

    • 2AM is very early, but it’s not too terrible because with the time change you’re naturally waking up early anyways. And yes, the volcano is so steep that you barely have to pedal and you basically just coast down. It was so awesome!

  • What an amazing experience to see a sunrise from a volcano! And I love the idea of a no effort bike ride. Very cool!

    • Me too! There are apparently some hard core people that will bike up Haleakala, but I much prefer the ease of just biking down!

  • beautiful photographs! What a treat to see the sunrise in paradise from a volcano! I need to do this if I ever get there!

    • I hope that you do make it there and get to see the sunrise! It’s so beautiful, and 1000% worth the early morning wake up call!

  • 2am is rough but I would totally do it for that view!!!

    • That’s the whole reason why we woke up early, although with the time change it wasn’t too terrible! The view was outstanding!

  • Rachel

    Oh my goodness, I cannot believe sunrise is at 2am!! And with the crazy time difference, that’s like 7am EST so it probably is best to see it on your first day, and stay on your timezone haha! What gorgeous views, it really does seem like a must-see. You got some great pictures!! Happy Wednesday!

    xo, Rachel
    A Blonde’s Moment

    • Thank you! I think that the sunrise wasn’t at exactly 2AM, but we had to be up that early in order to make it there early enough for the sunrise. And there were a lot of people up there! I don’t know how people manage to do this not on their first day! If it hadn’t been for the time change, I don’t think that we would have been able to wake up!

  • Living on Cloud Nine

    Totally worth it and so it’s going in the list for when we go someday!! Amazing photos!

  • Looks so pretty! Definitely going on my list now 🙂

  • Nadine

    These pictures!!!! Amazing!!! And the ones of the two of you on the bike is so sweet 🙂

    • Thank you! I love that they pose you on the bikes because it really does make for a great photo op! When we went with my parents they had us all lay on the car like we’d gotten run over!

  • Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for the advice to go on your first day so it’s not as hard to get up in the middle of the night <3

    Green Fashionista

    • The time change is pretty big, not as bad as Europe, but big enough that going on the first day makes it so much easier! It truly is an amazing experience, and worth the waking up early!

  • I am not a morning person at all (though I am a night owl, so I guess 2 a.m. is OK in that respect. Haha), but I thought this was so worth it! Your photos are stunning, and I love the photos of you two on the bike!

    • Thank you! I loved that they posed us on the bikes for those pictures! It was so pretty with the island behind us! Even with the time change, it was tough to wake up early, but it was all worth it for those views! I bet that you could stay up late and not have to go to sleep for the sunrise!

  • Hawaii has been on my list for as long as I can remember, it’s just such a hike from Michigan. One day though!

  • Those views are amazing! Wow! That’s an early wake up call, but looks like it was well worth it.

    • It was definitely early, even though we had the time difference on our side. But the views and the sunrise make it all worth it! It was so beautiful!

  • Biana Perez

    This was one of the things we didn’t get to do on our honeymoon because I didn’t want to get up early #FAIL!!! Although I can’t bike I did want to experience the sunrise and my friend actually got engaged there last year…she also fainted twice because she was so excited and the altitude hit her weird LOL! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

    • Oh no! I can’t believe that she fainted! And I totally understand not wanting to wake up on your honeymoon! After the stress of getting married, the last thing you want to do is wake up early! I’m totally not a bike person either, but if I can do it, you can do it too! Maybe that means that you need another Hawaiian vacation!

  • They say you learn something new everyday and this post makes that statement true! Never knew or heard about Haleakala but those sunsets are stunning and you give some great advice for planning a trip there! Hawaii isn’t on my 2017 travel list but I sure wish it was!!!

    • I hope that you make it there one day because I really feel like you’d love it! Haleakala was such an amazing experience, and seeing the sunrise over the volcano is something that I’ll never forget. It’s stunning and beautiful and worth the early morning wake up call!

  • What an adventure! We did Haleakala for sunrise and sunset on one of our island hopping trips. We drove ourselves, but biking must have been amazing! On the way down, I remember hardly having to touch the gas at all!

    • That’s how it was on the bikes too! I felt like we never even had to pedal because of the incline and the weight of the bikes. The sunrise over Haleakala was beautiful, and I can only imagine how beautiful the sunset must have been too!

  • As someone else who is hopeless at riding bikes (I think I am the only person to have ever forgotten how to ride a bike) you’ve given me hope this would be possible! I’m so not a morning person but I think for those views I might just be. Also I love that they provide you with body suits. That’s my kind of company! I completely agree that for some things it’s just waaay easier to use a tour group, and this is just the kind of thing. Especially if they give you body suits 🙂

    • The tour guides really were amazing! I don’t think that I could have done the whole navigating down the volcano by myself if it hadn’t been for them, plus they took some pretty cool shots of us on the bikes too! I’m totally not a morning person either, but if I can wake up, you totally can too! And I promise no bike skills needed for this tour either! I didn’t fall off the volcano, so that means that you won’t either!

  • Wow! These views are gorgeous!! I love it! I am again, so not adventurous, active, or outdoorsy in our travels, but this looks super amazing! 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Even though we do some hiking and outdoorsy stuff on our trips, I’m not that adventurous either! You definitely need to try and do this though if you make it to Hawaii, it’s an incredible experience!

  • Great review. I would like to go there one day.

  • These pictures are incredible! I dream of when we’ll visit Hawaii.

  • This looks amazing!! What a gorgeous view!! Would totally love to do this!!

    • I hope that you do make it there one day! It’s so beautiful and so incredible to watch the sunrise over a volcano!

  • I am dying to go to Maui! I have to do this!

    • I hope that y’all make it there soon! Obviously, y’all wouldn’t have to deal with the time difference, but I promise the early morning wake up call is totally worth it!

  • This sounds like so much fun! I’ve been loving your hawaii posts!

  • What an amazing experience!! Whenever we eventually make it to Hawaii I will have to keep this in mind.

    • You definitely need to try and do this when y’all make it to Hawaii! It’s an incredible experience and one to not be missed for sure!

  • Ashley, this looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, so beautiful. Look at you lovebirds out there on your bikes! What a fabulous date.

    • It really was perfect! I was glad that we chose a tour that rode with us all the way down because not only did we not get lost, but they were able to take those awesome pictures of us! When I went with my parents in high school they posed us on the van, and it looked like my mom had run us over it’s pretty funny!

  • The pics are to DIE for!! Idk if I could do it, but I sure could look at those pics!!!