Dubbed “House of the Sun” by native Hawaiians, Haleakala Crater is the world’s largest dormant volcano and the highest peak in Maui. Set in Haleakala National Park, here you can see a lunar landscape, admire cinder cones and endangered silversword plants, and trek wild hiking trails.
Haleakala sunrise tours are the most popular way to see the crater, offering a unique look amid the orange and red-colored dawn, and saving visitors the hassle of navigating to the volcano’s summit in the dark. Many Haleakala Crater tours include pre-arranged sunrise-viewing passes for Pu’u’ula’ula Summit, the highest point on Mt. Haleakala. Sunrise bike tours typically provide one-way bus transportation to the peak, allowing you to enjoy the view and then cycle down 6,500 feet (1,981 meters) to the ocean.
Aside from early morning visits, other tours dodge the pre-dawn crowds with daytime trips, guided hikes across the crater floor, or full-day excursions to the crater and other destinations within Haleakala National Park. You can also visit Haleakala Crater on a combo tour that also stops at other top Maui sites such as Iao Valley or the Road to Hana.
Things to Know Before You Go
Sunrise tours typically require very early start times, with most tours starting hotel pickup around 2 or 3am.
The weather can be chilly at Mt. Haleakala’s high elevations, especially before sunrise and after sunset. Bring layers and comfortable shoes, and be prepared for rain.
There are no gas stations or outlets to purchase food within Haleakala National Park.
Some facilities at the summit are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, including the Park Headquarters Visitor Center, Haleakala Visitor Center, and Hosmer Grove picnic area.
How to Get There
Haleakala Crater is located within Haleakala National Park on Maui. The only way to get there is by road, and it takes roughly 2.5 hours to reach the summit from the town of Kahului. From Kahului, take Route 37 to Highway 377, then transfer to Highway 378. Haleakala Crater access is at the end of the road within Haleakala National Park.
When to Get There
Haleakala National Park is open 24 hours per day, year-round. While temperatures in Maui remain fairly constant, winter (December through March) brings the coldest and rainiest weather, with average lows of 42°F (5.6°C) and upwards of seven inches (18 centimeters) of rain per month. Sunrise and sunset are the most popular times to visit the crater; opt for a daytime visit to avoid crowds.
Exploring Upcountry Maui
Upcountry Maui, the region around Mt. Haleakala, offers plenty to do after a sunrise crater tour. Head to the town of Kula to walk through lavender fields at Alii Kula Lavender Farm, stop by a Maui winery, or visit Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery, the makers of OCEAN Vodka. You can also seethe western-themed town of Makawao to enjoy some of the region’s best boutique shopping.