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I’m not much of a morning person, so if I’m going to get up at 3:00 am and trek up a 10,023-foot dormant volcano to watch a sunrise, it better be worth it.

Watching the sunrise at Haleakala Crater on the island of Maui will live on in my memory as a truly ethereal moment – standing above the clouds and watching the day being born at my feet was like having a view from heaven.

Known for its stunning sunrises and sunsets, Haleakala means “house of the sun.” With a circumference of 22 miles and a depth of 3,000 feet, the volcano last erupted in 1790.

You can venture up via car, bicycle, horseback, on foot or on a guided tour that will pick you at your hotel. The drive up takes about 2 ½ hours. It’s chilly in the mornings, around 40 degrees, so be sure to bundle up. (The visitors in shorts and sandals were shivering.)

Fees: vehicles $10, hikers and bikers $5. There are no gas stations or convenience stores on the road to the summit, so fill up the car and bring snacks and water.

While in the park, you’ll have a chance to see the rare Silversword plant and the Hawaiian state bird, the Nene.

It’s worth the early rise. You can always nap later.

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airbrush Dec. 16, 2009 @ 7:13 p.m.

You are so right, but I'd never ride a bike UP Haleakela, the ride down is awesome! I worked there and would drive up before starting work decorating the Fred's & Moose McGillicuddy's in Kiehei, it made my day!!


basilisk Dec. 16, 2009 @ 8:39 p.m.

I have done the sunrise a couple of times, and also biked down the mountain. Me, my brothers, sisters-inlaw and my sister, have gotten together in a condo on Maui a few times, but I have never been able to convince them that is worth getting up at 3AM to see the sunrise. Thanks for the memories.


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