Maui Sunriders offered Haleakala sunrise tours for 18 years! We know them VERY well and we decided after all these years, we bid farewell to sunrise tours.
HERE IS WHY WE SUGGEST YOU THINK TWICE BEFORE BOOKING a Haleakala SUNRISE bike tour:
HALEAKALA SUNRISE Bike Tours are VERY EXPENSIVE
To book a sunrise bike tour with any operator will cost about $200-$220 per person! Our tour is only $70 and we still offer the longest self-guided downhill all the way to the sea, with the least amount of climbing. Did you know you can see the sunrise (with a national park reservation) or sunset (no reservations needed) on your own for a fraction of the cost? See below for tips on how to do a sunrise or sunset by driving up on your own to save a ton of money and enjoy a more personal summit experience exploring our beautiful National Park.
ALL HALEAKALA Bike Rides START AT THE SAME PLACE
When you do a sunrise/summit downhill bike tour, you have to get back in the shuttle van immediately after the sunrise and drive down to 6500ft’ where all bike tours are Permitted to start and that is where we begin our ride…(right outside the National Park entrance.) No bike operator can allow you to bike from the summit on bike tours. When you do a sunrise you have to leave right after to do the bike ride. Don’t you want to explore the park and maybe enjoy some of the 35+ miles of hiking trails? We suggest going into the park on your own to really enjoy your time up there.
You’re on Vacation.
To watch sunrise at 10,000′ you have to wake up VERY EARLY as it’s a long drive. Do you really want to wake up at 1-2am on vacation? Riders are often groggy and sleepy after sunrise which isn’t safe for your bicycle ride. Sleep in, so that you are rested to come down the volcano as safely as possible. Also most of the shops & restaurants that you get to explore on our self-guided tour will be closed in the early morning during the sunrise rides.
HALEAKALA SUNRISE TOUR TRAFFIC AND SAFETY
You will be biking down with all the sunrise traffic coming down the mountain as well as local rush hour when locals are trying to go to work and take their kids to school. For locals this can be frustrating and for bike riders all the traffic can be a little unnerving. With our Haleakala downhill ride beginning later, there are less cars on the road which makes it safer and a more comfortable ride down. This also reduces our local impact clogging up the roads…(this is why we don’t do guided tours with sag vans completely blocking traffic, which can be more dangerous with everyone biking closer together.)
If A Sunrise Tour is a must, you can still Join us and save money.
Catch the famous Maui Haleakala sunrise on your own with a $1.50 online sunrise reservation fee through the National Park website AND a $30 park entrance fee per car (pay at the gate- ticket is valid 3 days at Summit & Kīpahulu entrance). The online sunrise reservations are VERY hard to attain as sunrise is very popular & crowded. They sell out far in advance and even their 2-day batch release can sell out in less than a minute. Remember you will need to wake up around 1-2am to get up the volcano in time and it will be VERY cold so dress warm & bring layers. We suggest doing sunrise a different day than your bike ride so you can experience the park afterwards. However, you can do it the same day as your bike ride. Plan to leave no later than 7:20am to get back down to our bike shop in time for your bike ride. It takes about an 1 hour 30 minutes to come down and reach our shop in Paia. Once you arrive in Paia, Park your car for the day and we will shuttle you up for your bike ride. We unfortunately can’t meet riders up on Haleakala. All riders must check-in down at our shop.
Our Recommendation: Haleakala Sunset on your own after the bike ride
The Sunsets at Haleakala are just as good if not better than sunrise. They are also much warmer, less people, no reservation needed and so much less of an ordeal, like waking up at 2am on vacation. Our favorite recommendation is to join us in the morning for your downhill ride. After your ride, grab some food & beverages to bring with you into the park. You will then drive yourself up to the summit at 10,000′. The entry fee is $30 per car (pay at the entrance gate- ticket is valid 3 days at Summit & Kīpahulu entrances) and reservations aren’t needed after 7am. From our shop to the summit it takes about 1 1/2 hours. You can enter the park a couple hours before sunset and explore the park, hike around a bit and see it more than you would at sunrise. It’s also warmer at the crater than it will be waiting for the sun to rise. You can also look up at the volcano and see if the weather is to your liking to view the sunset! Keep in mind all the sunrises and sunsets are 50/50 that you will have incredible views due to our tropical weather and clouds that come through. At least for sunset you can decide if it’s worth it but for sunrise it’s all or nothing, due to your reservation and it’s dark so you can’t totally see the weather. However, don’t be fooled by the clouds, they often linger around 6500′-7000′ and you are driving up to 10,000′. When in doubt you can always check the Live Webcam at Haleakala Summit. It will be cold once the sun begins to set so dress warm & bring layers. For the best viewing seats get there early as the summit parking fills up fast – but the secondary lower lot is just as good so don’t stress about it too much.
From the summit of Haleakalā, Maui’s largest volcano, you can look down to see the famous crater of Haleakalā. Walk through a cinder desert and see the many volcano cones spread throughout this massive volcanic depression that’s 7 miles long, 2 miles wide, and 2,600 feet deep. See another world as you hike in this unbelievable volcanic landscape.
The Haleakalā Crater is part of what the Haleakalā National Park refers to as the “Wilderness Area.” Hikers can take two main trails into the richly-colored crater from the summit area: Halemau’u or Sliding Sands trails. Nēnē or Hawaiian geese can sometimes be seen in their natural habitat in the Haleakalā Crater. “The mountain summit is one of the only easily-accessible areas of Hawaii where our rare and endemic species survive and thrive,” The Haleakalā National Park Service noted. The park itself is composed of more than 30,000 acres of public land, the most famous aspect of which is the Haleakala Crater. At this high of an altitude, the weather is cooler and can be unpredictable, so it’s good to wear layered clothing as well as sunscreen and closed-toed shoes.
The peak of Haleakalā stands at 10,023 feet above sea level and is the highest point on the island of Maui. As one of the most popular Maui activities.
Haleakalā is known as the “house of the sun” because as Hawaiian legend has it, the demigod Maui lassoed the sun here as he stood on the Haleakalā summit in order to slow its descent and lengthen the day. Haleakalā is a dormant volcano that last erupted around 1790. More than one million people visit the summit of Haleakalā each year.
The summit offers a once-in-a-lifetime view across an amazing landscape of rolling mountains, surrounding islands, and the ever-expansive ocean. Gaze across the water at the island of Hawaii with its peaks of 14,000 ft. along with views of Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe.
The clear skies and excellent viewing conditions at the Haleakala summit attract many visitors who bring their telescopes to gaze at the stars and other celestial bodies. In fact, the University of Hawaii’s Haleakalā Observatory is located near the visitor’s center but is not open to the public.
As Featured on Adventure Hawaii