Translated from Hawaiian, Haleakala means “House of the Sun”, so viewing a sunrise atop the summit area of Haleakala is among the most sought-after experiences in the islands. The otherworldly landscape, altitude, unique flora, and pervasive influence of ancient Hawaiian culture combine to create an event simply beyond imagination.
Your expert driver-guide will greet you at your hotel and welcome you aboard a state-of-art minibus. It features expansive side windows and an incredible panoramic front window well above the driver’s seat to open up the finest possible views along the way to the summit area. Your driver’s live tour narration is augmented with captivating video segments shown on high tech vehicle monitors.
The dormant volcano Haleakala was formed approximately 1 million years ago through the building up of layers of flowing lava. It has been a sacred location for Polynesian people who settled on the island 400-650 A.D. Haleakala National Park is also home to over 1,000 different species of plant life. During the 38-mile drive to the summit area, you will view the magnificent silversword plant found nowhere else on earth and will pass ancient sacred locations and breathtaking views from the safety and comfort of your vehicle.
Stop for a rest at the Ranger Station of the Park, located at 7,000ft and where visitor information is available.
Once you reach the viewing area, watching the Maui sun as it rises above the clouds is the climax of the morning. The unforgettable show of light and colour bursting into view is a spiritual experience for many. Majestic views from the 9,740ft elevation are unparalleled anywhere. They are so expansive that under especially clear sky conditions other islands may be seen several miles away.
Afterwards, stop at the Haleakala Visitor Center, a small stone structure on the edge of a cliff constructed in 1936. You’ll want to spend some time with the welcoming staff and look for souvenirs.
The journey back down is just as spectacular. Descend through the clouds as you gently glide through the changes in topography, weather, and scenery accompanied by elevation changes. Views of Kula come into focus when approaching the open country slopes of the agricultural land in this rustic region, home to early Portuguese and Chinese immigrant plantation workers.
Upon descending from the dormant volcano, you will join newfound friends for a delicious local style breakfast at Kula Lodge with its Upcountry hospitality and stunning views of the West Maui mountains before returning to your hotel.