Please read on below for my personal tips on this road trip.  To the right is a nice video which captures the experience nicely.  However, it doesn't seem to be very cold on the day it was shot.  I have never had this experience.  Dress warmly!!  If you've smartly packed the outer shell of your ski jacket (as I've instructed on my packing list page), this is the trip to reunite it with the fleece liner.  A ski cap and gloves wouldn't hurt either.  You'll see this again, along with more tips below.

This is number 2 on my Maui road trip list.  If you have to choose between the first two, only do the Road to Hana.  But, by no means, think this trip is a waste of time.  If you’re staying in Kihei, as I suggested, you’ll have this dormant volcano towering over your view out your back door.   You should plan on doing this trip early in your vacation, before your body has time to adjust to the time difference.  The trip requires you to leave Kihei by 3am, in order to reach the summit on time.   How you get there depends on how adventurous you are.  Most just drive there (my suggestion).  Once you get

This is number 2 on my Maui road trip list.  If you have to choose between the first two, only do the Road to Hana.  But, by no means, think this trip is a waste of time.  If you’re staying in Kihei, as I suggested, you’ll have this dormant volcano towering over your view out your back door.   You should plan on doing this trip early in your vacation, before your body has time to adjust to the time difference.  The trip requires you to leave Kihei by 3am, in order to reach the summit on time.   How you get there depends on how adventurous you are.  Most just drive there (my suggestion).  Once you get

to Hale Akala Highway (about 20 minutes from Kihei), it’s 38 miles, and a 10K ft. elevation change over twisting, turning roads which will test your dramamine.   There’s a $20 fee per car to enter the park, which is also good for when you do the Road to Hana (Haleakala Nat'l Park extends down to the Seven Sacred Pools).  So, save your receipt (It's good for three days).

Apparently, this has become a very popular thing to do.  There are about 150 parking spaces in the 4 parking lots at the summit.  Due to overcrowding, you are now required to make a reservation for $1.50. Click here to make your reservation.

 

Another option, is to let a tour company take you there.  They pick you up at 3am, drive to the top, you watch the sunrise, they give you coffee, a muffin, a rainsuit and a mountain bike.  You then ride back down the volcano.  ALL 38 MILES.  Of course, there’s only about 400 ft of pedaling.  Once you reach the bottom, they feed you a nice breakfast, all for about $100 pp.

I’ve never done it the bike tour.  I guess I thought it was a waste of money when you have a perfectly good rental car.  Another reason is it isn’t without danger.  People have been hurt and even killed on this excursion.

  

I guess things have changed a bit since I last checked.  Some companies still have the 3am hotel/condo pick up option.  Others want you at their shop by 3:30am for the sunrise tour, 9am for others.  I don't see anyone offering a breakfast anymore.  Another change is, you don't start your bike ride at the summit.                                                               

You now go to an area at around 6,500ft. and ride about 23 miles (very little peddling).  Prices vary greatly, depending on your company and tour.

 

If I had to pick one to try, I'd do this:  https://mauisunriders.com/bike-tours/express/

But, the whole point of this trip are the stunning views from 10,023ft.  (Do it for the sunrise if it's your first trip.)

I spoke to a park ranger once who said she had been up there 13 years and had never seen the same sunrise sky twice.  It’s never the same, but always beautiful.  Some consider it a religious experience, as the sun appears to rise from the volcano crater.

At 10,023 ft, you’re above the clouds and it’s pretty nippy before the sun comes up, as I’ve said.  Do you have to pack a winter coat?  No, but you’ll be glad you did.  What I’ve done in years past, is wear the fleece from my Columbia ski jacket on the plane, and pack the thin outer shell in my suitcase.  Another tip, is to have a flashlight or at least the light from your cell phone.  There is no electricity or light at the summit, and it will be pitch black when you arrive.  By the way, your cell service will be spotty.

The map above shows the route from Kula, which is in Upcountry.  

Add on the time it will take to get there when planning your trip.  

 

Also, this is a really nice adventure for the less than adventurous.  Not too taxing (unless you decide to hike into the crater).  As long as you aren't prone to car sickness, you'll count this as one of your vacation highlights.  You should also be aware that when you step out of the car at 10,000 feet, the air is much thinner.  Take your steps slowly, and watch for altitude sickness.  Especially when you climb the stairs to the observation deck.

Use this link to plan your visit to Haleakala National Park.

On your return from the summit you’ll be hungry.  I’d suggest the Kula Lodge for breakfast.  The coffee is great and the view spectacular.  They have some nice gardens, too.  You could then stop in artsy little Makawao.  Walk around the shops and galleries.  Definitely stop at the Komoda Store & Bakery, you won’t be sorry.  Our favorite are the Guava filled Malasadas.  If you’re there in February, Malasadas are a staple on Fat Tuesday.  Now, if you’re still in a prone position, continue down the road to the Hippie-Surfer town of Paia.  Another place with little shops, restaurants and watering holes.  I’d suggest the Paia Fish Market for lunch here.  Try the Fish Tacos!  Just down the road is Ho’okipa Beach Park, which is the Wind Surfing capital of the world.  There are professional surfers there and it’s thrilling to watch.  The waves can be over 50 ft tall in winter months.

You could also save this part of the trip for another day.

Here's a nifty little tool I've come across.  It works for your adventures on Haleakala as well as the Road to Hana.  

You'll download the app while you have a wifi connection, and it will work even when you lose your cell

signal (as you will in spots of both of these tours).  

I'll be using it in November, and I'll be sure to give you my honest review.  But, from all indications, it looks like a real winner and a must have, especially if it's your first trip to Maui.  Click on these links for iPhone and Android.

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What about Sunset?

We did this for the first time in May 2017.  It was colder than I had imagined.  I was guessing that since it had been baking in the Maui sun all day, it would still be warm enough before sunset (As opposed to being there for sunrise).  Wrong.  What I didn't count on was the 30-40 mph constant wind.  That made the rental car temperature of 45 degrees, about 20 in the wind.  You can read further about our adventure HERE.  

Some Pics from 2018
Some Pics from 2017
The view from Upcountry.  You can see Red Hill, Molokini and Kaho'olawe on the left, Lanai toward the center and West Maui to the right.
Jacaranda Trees fill the landscape in Upcountry Maui.

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