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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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How To Spend 9 Days Exploring Maui and Kauai