Haleakala Sunrise

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Maui, Hawaii

From the first time I announced on this site that I was going to Maui everyone told me I had to go see the Haleakala sunrise.

In theory that sounds great, except they don’t tell you that you have to wake up at 3 or 4am so you can drive for over an hour through windy roads, up a mountain where your mother will grip onto the door handle for dear life because she thinks she is going to die.


And you need to remind her to relax, she will not die.


It is our very last night on Maui, we are going to see this sunrise.

Despite the long, tired drive into the night we have good luck with little traffic and have fortunately listened to everyone who has told us it is 0C because we are wearing all of our clothing, perhaps 7 or 8 layers and we have brought the hotel blankets with us.


It seems crazy.


Until you see people in bare feet freezing in the cold. They did not realize that we would be 10,000 ft up. But the hearty Canadians we are, we prepare for the worst and are treated to the most amazing view.


We are above the clouds looking into the crater of a volcano.





My mother has mastered the art of taking a photo on my iphone which is a miracle on its own.



It is our last morning in Maui but somehow feels like the first viewing of it.

It’s sooooo cold but so worth it.


Disclosure: I was a guest of the Maui Visitors Bureau, they did not request that I write a favourable review or ask my mother to act like we were in a scene from Fast and Furious 2 because she didn’t trust my driving.



Join the Conversation

  1. Camels & Chocolate says:

    Yep, that sunrise didn’t disappoint.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t think there’s much you could wake up for at 3am that would be worth it but this is one of them.

  2. Haha, this is hilarious. I love the photos of you all bundled up looking like a crazy person lost in the streets. It looks pretty incredible though, I imagine it was completely worth it! I hope you had some delicious brunch and a nap afterwards.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      haha that’s my mother 🙂 we look alike.

  3. Liloo Alim says:

    My daughter and I did the same and everything you described is true. I too thought that I was going to die gripping the door handle with all my might. Ha ha!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It must be a mother/daughter thing.

  4. I have wanted to see the sunrise at Haleakala for a long time. You’re mom must have had such an amazing time with you on Maui. What a blessing!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      We had a really great time together.

  5. We couldn’t bring ourselves to get out of bed early enough to see this sunrise when we were in Maui… after seeing these photos, I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t. Glad you enjoyed it!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There’s always next time on Maui..

  6. Daniel McBane says:

    Hideous. Just hideous–way too many distracting colors. I mean, the blueish sea of clouds contrasted with the bright yellows, oranges and reds of the sky….who wants to see that?

    What’s that? Yes, I DO sometimes use sarcasm in an attempt to disguise my jealousy….How did you know? And what does that have to do with anything?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Very cute, beauty is painful I know!

  7. Oh how fun!! 🙂 I did this one morning in Yosemite and it was SO dang cold but worth every shiver. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was definitely 0C I was happy people warned us.

  8. No matter the temperature, sunrises are always worth it. And that drive is heart rendering no matter who’s driving it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You are right, I’ve never met a sunrise I didn’t love.

  9. Arianwen says:

    That first photo is incredible. This post has got me really excited about the volcanoes I’m going to (attempt to) climb in Ecuador and Chile!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I didn’t climb any of them, you can’t get there by car!

  10. There is something magical about the power of a sunrise. You reminded me of one at the Pinnacles in Western Australia and incredible colours and shadows, but cold…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sunsets are beautiful but you are right, sunrises are powerful.

  11. Wow, that looks amazing! I am NOT a morning person so I rarely see sunrises on my travels, but I’d have to go for it there. I’m glad you had blankets to bundle up in!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am not a morning person either but this is one of those times you just need to suck it up.

  12. Really cool pictures, and glad you got to see the sunrise. I’ll have to live vicariously through you. During my trip, we had nothing but clouds and near freezing rain.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh no, how rotten 🙁

  13. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    Looks worth it to me too!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      And you know how I hate getting up early.

  14. Gorgeous sunrise!

    Though I’m cracking up at the bundled fashion statements. 🙂

    What an awesome opportunity. I’m not much of a morning person anymore so just waking up to go would’ve been a feat in itself.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well you can’t buy a parka in Maui, it just doesn’t exist!

  15. Holy eff that’s gorgeous. Claro, vale la pena!

  16. Ava Apollo says:

    I would have been one of those people in bare feet who got too cold. 10,000 feet is no joke! Did you feel odd from the altitude?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Strangely enough we didn’t have an issue with the altitude. Maybe because we were focusing on how cold it was?

  17. Alexandra says:

    Glad you took our advice and made the journey up for sunrise! Honestly one of the most amazing things you can do on Maui! Just got home two days ago and have been waking up at 3am due to jet lag thinking maybe I should use it for good and drive up to the crater tomorrow! I could use a good dose of Maui Magic 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Did you go?

  18. Wow, that is truly stunning – your photos are incredible. I am obsessed with volcanoes, so am bookmarking this page right now for future reference. I have loved following along on your Hawaiian adventure, and can’t wait to see this beautiful part of the world for myself some day 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If you love volcanoes also get yourself to Latin America, there are a ton of them there!

  19. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says:

    Hi Ayngelina,

    Hearty Canadians?! Surely it was warm for you… but we do get spoilt when we travel and quickly acclimatise to warmer climes.

    I flew over Hawaii for the hundredth time on my way to the Go Media Travel Conference in Canada last month. I so want to visit and know it will happen one day:)

    In the mean time I’m loving seeing (and tasting it) via you!

    And super impressed with your mum’s iPhone skills too!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You absolutely must go. But I do hope you enjoyed my home country.

  20. Mary @ The World Is A Book says:

    Beautiful pictures! It’s definitely worth all the hassle to witness this sight. We visited Haleakala last year but didn’t get to do the sunrise trek. Thanks for showing me what I missed. What a wonderful way to bond with your mom.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh yes frightening her on the drive will be something we talk about for years.

  21. Laurence says:

    Holy crap, that is one awesome sunrise! Certainly looks like the effort was worth it 😀

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I guess the effort is always worth it….unless you are hiking.

  22. If I remember correctly, as we were in the pitch dark, going around corners that we had no clear vision, up the side of a mountain with no guard rail, on roads we had never travelled on in the dead of night…I clearly heard the words of Carrie Underwoods song…’Jesus take the wheel…however I had great faith in your driving as we had survivied the Road to Hanna and beyond and I didn’t think about the fact that in the last ten years or so you have only driven once or twice a year. So all thing considered I thought I did a great job of not screaming..”I don’t want to to die.” And fingernails in door handles eventually go away! Having said all that, it a wonderful experience that I got to share with my daughter…thank you!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Just tell me I’m a good driver. Because it’s true!

      1. You are a good driver!

  23. Special photos of a special moment shared with a special woman! Lah-vely x

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It really was so much better sharing it with someone.

  24. Lisa @ Gone with the Family says:

    Stunning photos! We drove up to Haleakala in the middle of the day when we were in Maui because there was no way that I could get my kids up to make it there for sunrise. It may not be quite so beautiful in the afternoon but it’s not so cold either! I can’t imagine making the trip up that road in the dark as I was sure that my husband was going to crash the car and kill us all in daylight – I think maybe it’s worse being a passenger than the driver on roads like these! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am sure it was absolutely beautiful during the day, I saw that you could camp in the park and that would be pretty special.

  25. We had overcast cloudy weather the day we wanted to visit the crater – so we didn’t get a chance to see it. 🙁

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh how sad.

  26. Gorgeous views! Definitely worth the drive and cold–I always remind myself that it’s this type of experiences that we remember later, not staying in bed.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I didn’t think we would actually do it but I am so glad we did.

  27. Audrey | That Backpacker says:

    Epic sunrise! I love how the clouds cover the ground. Must make it seem like you’re even higher up! 😀

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      As soon as we hit 8000 ft we drove over the clouds, it was pretty spectacular.

  28. so beautiful! We were so close to there but never made it all the way up. What a sunrise!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You drove half way?

  29. Lisa at Wanderlust Women says:

    Wow – This has been tops on my travel to-dos for years. Now I MUST

  30. wowww totally worth it! That must be one of the most beautiful sunrise locations I’ve ever seen (in photos) Added to my bucket list 😀

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Definitely worth it.

  31. Melly Schug says:

    Wow, the sceneries were so breathtaking. Perfect shot on the sunrise! Too bad I cannot take being on elevated areas!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      What a shame, I didn’t find the altitude too difficult but it was SO cold.

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