Sunrise at Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA
Gord McKenna
Gord McKenna www.gordmckenna.com
Sunrise at Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA
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Sunrise at Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA
fototante.de
fototante.de www.fototante.de
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USA Sunrise at Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

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This photo was taken during sunrise at the summit of Haleakala in Maui, Hawaii in January. Haleakala is a large shield volcano that forms eastern Maui (75% of the island). The peak is approximately 10,000 ft (3,055m).
(thanks to Wikipedia for the detail).

Catching the sunrise on Haleakala is one of the most breathtaking sights one can imagine.

Photography Tips

To catch the sunrise, you must arrive very early and set up your camera in the dark. A tripod is strongly recommended, especially if you want to perform HDR photography. The details of Eric Helligrath's photo are below:
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lens: Sigma 18-35 f/1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/125
Aperture: 4.5
ISO: 125
Focal Length: 19mm on a Nikon crop sensor. So about 29mm full frame.

Travel Information

Travelling in a personal/rental vehicle?... Book your reservation 60 days in advance. See the Haleakala National Park Service website for details. Then, once in Maui...

Head towards Kahului EXTREMELY EARLY in the morning (~3-4 am). Take 37 East and turn left on 377. Head east/south for 6 miles then turn left on 378. Proceed up the volcano ("mountain") via the zig-zag road. You're probably going to get stuck behind slow drivers or a bus. This road is nearly 19 miles and very slow. Did I mention leaving early?... You're driving from sea level to 10k+ ft elevation. It'll take 2-3 hours so plan to leave such that you will arrive sufficiently before sunrise.

Continue along 378 to the peak and park in the lot. Then follow the signs for the Pa Ka'oao trail to the summit (adjacent to the visitor centre). A flashlight or phone light is necessary so you can see the trail and not trip/fall and become injured.

At the summit you'll have to deviate off the tail... perhaps this is "discouraged" by the signs, but virtually everyone does it. Follow the crowd and you should be fine.

Due to the elevation, the temps are below freezing. Beautiful-looking ice crystals form on the ground from the moisture in the air. Even though you're in Hawaii, the summit - especially during "winter" - is very cold. Bring LOTS of layers to keep warm. A sweatshirt, fleece, or rain jack by itself is not sufficient. I know you're in Hawaii, but really, this area is darn cold. Layer up.

By the way, there is NO ROAD WHICH CONNECTS WAILEA TO 37 AS A SHORT CUT. IF YOU SEE A ROAD ON GOOGLE MAPS, IT IS PRIVATE PROPERTY AND BLOCKED OFF. THERE IS NO SHORTCUT. ONE MUST TAKE THE "LONG WAY" TOWARDS THE KAHULUI.

I recommend going the first or second day after you arrive in Maui before adjusting to the time zone change. It's easier to wake up very early (assuming you're travelling east -> west). Also, you'll need to pay for a parking pass which is active for a few days if you want to visit the Pipiwai Trail / Seven Sacred Pools on the eastern side of the island.

One final thought - the weather may not cooperate and you may need to return on the following day(s). I was lucky and had a beautiful sunrise on the first attempt. Another person there mentioned he had to attend 3 straight days. But the sunrise worked the effort.
Spot Type Outdoor
Crowd Factor Lots of people
Best Timing Sunrise
Sunrise & Sunset 05:43 - 18:59 | current local time: 15:09
Photo Themes clouds crater Island Ocean Sunrise volcanic rock volcano

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Thank you Gord McKenna for creating this photo spot in USA and Eric Helligrath, Seb Voigt, fototante.de, Mia Pflieger for improving it with additional photos or content.
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