Visiting Haleakala – House of the Sun

Posted on: May 23, 2018

Planning Your Trip to Haleakala

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been in the news and unfortunately began erupting on May 3. We want all of our guests to know that this is not on Maui. Kilauea is on Hawaii’s Big Island, where only a small area is impacted at this time.

Visiting an inactive volcano is an experience of a lifetime and there is an opportunity to do so when you are on Maui or planning your next trip. Haleakala is an amazing trip that you must consider while on Maui.

Haleakala National Park was established 43 years before Hawaii actually became a state – in 1946. It celebrated 100 years in 2016. Haleakala means “House of the Sun.” This is because the summit sits at 10,023 feet above sea level. This is why experiencing Haleakala as the sun rises is the ultimate way to go.

Haleakala National Park is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A few of our best tips for planning your excursion to Haleakala include:

Plan, Plan, Plan

You will want to make sure you have allotted adequate time during your trip for Haleakala. Driving to the summit can take anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 hours, depending on where you are at on the island. Traffic also plays a factor in the amount of time to allow for the trip. Also, plan for a narrow, winding road all the way up!


The weather can vary based on the time of year and where you are at on in the park. Make sure to dress in layers so you are warm enough if it gets cold. There are no convenient stations for gas or food in the park, so make sure to have a full tank of gas before you leave and water and food for your time at the park.

The Coastal Side

The summit is the most popular in the park, however there is a coastal side that won’t disappoint if you dedicate the four hours of drive time. Be prepared for a secluded area with waterfalls, ocean views, hiking trails and other cultural experiences. However, it is recommended that you not swim in this area, as the water levels and landscape are ever-changing.

The SUN: Haleakala Sunrise

One of the most breath taking ways to take in Haleakala is to watch the sunrise. Haleakala Sunrise is a must, but note you do need reservations. The National Park requires each car entering to have a permit. These permits can be bought up to TWO MONTHS before arrival and as late as 4 PM Hawaiian Time the day before. There is limited parking, you need a Haleakala Sunrise Parking Permit.  The cost is $1.50 per car.

The sunset is pretty spectacular, as well!

Stay the Night: Camping at Haleakala National Park

There are camping opportunities while visiting Haleakala National Park. The National Park Service maintains three wilderness cabins that can be reserved in advance.  These cabins are only accessible by trail so to get to the cabins, you will need to walk 3.7 miles (5.9 km) to Holua, 5.5 miles (8.9 km) to Kapalaoa and 9.3 miles (15 km) to Paliku. You can make your reservations up to 180 days in advance.

There are also two campsites that you can get to by trail. Permits are required and spots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you have a group, there are exceptions that can be made. More information on wilderness camping can be found here.

We hope you enjoy your visit to Haleakala – it will not disappoint!