One of the saddest revelations that came from my interview earlier this year with Albert Perez, the new executive director of Maui Tomorrow, was that he could recall enjoying the sunrise at the summit in Haleakala National Park with no one around. That kind of luxury–taking in all that serenity in total silence–is sadly just a memory these days.
“Sunrise viewing at the summit is especially busy during holidays,” said Haleakala National Park Chief of Interpretation and Education Polly Angelakis in a press release sent out today. “Visitors should be aware that they will encounter long lines at the park entrance station and there is limited parking at the summit itself.”
There’s something almost funny about the way park officials are gently trying to steer people away from focusing on Haleakala only in the early morning hours. “The park is beautiful at any time of day so visitors may want to consider a later morning or afternoon visit,” Angelakis said in her news release. “Sunsets are also stunning. Above all, please travel to and enjoy the park safely.”
If you do insist on visiting the Haleakala summit to see the sunrise, be advised: It’ll take people driving from Wailea about 2.5 hours to get there; three hours from Lahaina and two hours from Kahului.
“Visitor[s] should also keep in mind that the summit is an additional 40 minute drive past the park entrance,” Angelakis noted. “The driving times take into account the heavy sunrise traffic and steep, winding road.”
Oh, and Angelakis says people should use credit cards to pay for their $15 three-day pass into the park because they “are quickest to process.”
Photo courtesy National Park Service