For Travel Tuesday I'd like to take you to Haleakala.
Haleakala National Park is located in Maui, Hawaii. This is one of those places that even though being on the small Island of Maui, those who visit the Hawaiian destination often overlook Haleakala.
First, if you are going to go if you really want to get a chance to see the best views of the park, you are going to have to get up early. I got up to leave around 4 a.m. but many will get up to make the drive around 3:30 a.m. (My trip was in January, different times of year the time you will need to get up will vary.)
Second, even though you are in Maui, you'll want a good warm jacket, or blanket and even gloves and a hat to keep you warm. The temperatures at the top before sunrise or after sunset can be below freezing.
You'll take a bit of a drive, up a very dark and very curvy road as you basically climb in elevation from sea level up to around 10,000 feet.
Park in the parking lot and walk over to the viewing area, and wait in the icy cold wind in the dark at the overlook with the other park visitors. Get your camera's ready, because what you are about to see is spectacular.
First you'll start to see the yellow glow of the sun as it rises and lights the puffy clouds below you. While the old volcano's will start to take shape in the area below you.
Each second during those minutes of the morning you will watch as the sun starts to move up and catches the clouds and each cloud will start to look as if the edges are lighting on fire.
It's literally a spectacle that is fit exactly for the word BREATHTAKING!
I bet if you have a extremely fancy camera you're pictures will turn out better than mine. But even if you just have a digital camera that cost a bit less than $200, you'll still be able to capture pictures like these.
Once the sun is up over the clouds, the scene changes quickly. As the clouds begin to slowly fade away until they are non-existent. In return the temperature starts to warm, and you won't feel like your nose is about to fall off.
Once the sunrise is over, you can take a drive further up the road, and hike around to stand on top of Haleakala's tallest peak. At which you'll have fabulous views of the island and even all the way to the big island of Hawaii.
After, I suggest taking the day to hike around and explore Haleakala. There are plenty of hiking trails, and yes it does warm up:) You can even arrange to take a bike trip down the steep curvy road to Haleakala National Park.
You can also stop at the different look outs, and view the old volcano's and hike around the old cinder desert. It's beautiful, and so full of different colors. You'll love it!
You're park pass is good for 3 days, so after you can go the next day up the Road to Hana (I'll have to do a separate travel post on this area next week.) There you will be able to visit the other side of Haleakala National Park, which is a total transformation from the desert area, to lush tropical forests.
MY TIPS IF YOU GO
Get up early, don't try to sleep in until the last possible minute. Once the parking lot at the top fills up it is closed off, and you may have driven all that way and miss the spectacle of the sunrise.
Bring a warm jacket and gloves as well as a stocking hat. Just small items to fit into your suitcase that will otherwise be filled with beach gear. But honestly, if I didn't have gloves with that cold wind, I wouldn't have been able to stand taking any pictures.
Check the weather first before you go. Although my pictures and my morning ended up being ideal, it isn't always that. It could be freezing rain or yes even snow. You can't control the clouds or lack of, it's probably a different experience for everyone.
Bring lots of water if you plan on hiking and definitely bring your camera!!!
Plan to spend the day, or at least half the day. Don't think you can do both this and the road to Hana in one day. I'm sure you could, but you won't have any time to stop and see anything, as you'd barely have enough time to drive the two roads.
As for driving, if your rental car has a lower gear when coming down off the mountain put it in the lowest gear so you can avoid using the break. If you don't have this option, try to keep your pace slow and avoid pushing on that break as much as possible. For me, I popped it into a lower gear and didn't have to use the break except for the couple of times I caught up to other vehicles.
Aren't the pictures amazing! Can you believe that so many people go to Maui, Hawaii and stick with the beaches and never get to see these amazing Maui sights! Pure crazy, huh!