On Top Of The World
This is the highest point of Maui with an altitude of 10'000ft (3000m).
Plan in advance when you want to go and see if there are no clouds on that day you are planning to go.
Cold In Maui?!?
Be prepared that It will be cold up here. A light jacket will not be enough especially with the strong winds that are expected almost all the time here.
Sunrise on the peak of Halekala is a truly magical experience.
Although most of the people will be on vacation in Maui, many people get up very early in the morning and storm the peak of Haupa’Akea with their rental Jeeps.
The reason is the reward you get when you see the sunrise up here.
This is rated one of the best experiences on the island.
What About Going To The Summit Not For The Sunrise?
Be aware that this trip only makes sense in the morning because the view will quickly get covered with the high humidity and clouds that form on the horizon so you get no view whatsoever.
If you want to experience the Mars like environment this trip will give you an amazing out of this world experience.
Other than that it's just a dry and dead environment.
Get Up Early (Realy Early)
We got up around 4:00AM and started in our Jeep around 4:30AM and drove 1.5 hours from sea level to 10’000ft (3000m).
We thought we were one of the earliest with our estimated arrival time of 6AM and the sunrise at 6:45AM.
But we learned quickly that many people already were on the peak long before us.
So the parking spot on the Halekala Observatories were already fully occupied.
So one of the employee of the parking lots waved us to another road where we and many other cars parked on the side of the road.
We walked for five minutes to a peak where a lot of people stood already.
We found a nice place to view the sunrise and waited for 30min until the sunrise.
The whole effort was rewarded with the beautiful view of the sunrise and the many colors on the horizon it offers.
After 15min, many of the people rushed down the mountain. After the sun provides a bit of light you can see the death volcano and it’s dry and Mars like environment, with some craters. We stayed another 15 minutes and drove to the Observatories where a couple of parking spots were already open again.
Unfortunately we couldn’t get near to the Observatories because the gates were closed. I don’t know if they are sometimes open or are always closed. So we went in the small house on top of a hill to get protection of the cold wind and saw the view of the whole island.
After that we made our way down the mountain.
A Lot Of Effort
Without a doubt this is a great experience, but a lot of effort as well.
It depends where your hotel is on the island, but just the drive will take up to 3-4 hours but the whole trip can easily take 5-6 hours. And this just for 30 minutes of sunrise?
And because you stood up on 4AM, you will be tired the whole day, if you want to fit another activity in your day.
What To Do After
One option is to lay on the beach and catch up on a little sleep.
But my recommendation is that you go on the last day of your stay.
So you will be up early, go up the mountain be at the airport at 10AM and sleep in the plane.