Haleakala Volcano Sunrise and Upcountry Maui

///Haleakala Volcano Sunrise and Upcountry Maui

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise and Upcountry Maui

Want to see something unexpected on Maui?  Try visiting Haleakala for the sunrise and the quaint Upcountry of Maui.

Sunrise at Haleakala and Upcountry Maui


Hi guys,

I’ve been to Maui three times but never made it up the mountain to watch the infamous Haleakala Sunrise.  I’ve got to be honest… the thought of going somewhere cold on my WARM Hawaii vacation didn’t interest me a lot.  It took a good amount of convincing from my husband to get up and go.

Luckily I’m not too stubborn because I’m so glad I went.  Seeing the sunrise at Haleakala has to be one of the most memorable things I’ve done on my trips to Maui.  It literally took my breath away.

We took our rental car up the mountain ourselves BUT it would have been so relaxing to go on a tour.  In fact, THIS Haleakala Sunrise Tour has nearly everything I did on my trip without having to take yourself up the mountain in the pitch black on a super curvy road.  Plus I love tours like this because you come away with so much more knowledge and history than if you were to go alone.

Book your adventure and then read about mine!


Catching up on Hawaii?—> My Favorite Hawaii Run, Dinner at KPC



Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

Our first morning in Maui, the hubs and I woke up at 2 AM to drive several hours to Maui’s dormant volcano Haleakala.  We did it our first morning, so we would still be accustomed to east coast time and the wake-up call would be easier.  It felt like old times waking up in the dark!

We got all of these tips from the BEST MAUI TOURBOOK… Maui Revealed.

The drive up the mountain was dark and curvy.  We live in the mountains, so we are a little more used to roads like this, but it was still a challenge.  Ok, to be entirely honest it was not a challenge to sit sleep in the passenger seat, but the Hubs said the drive was tough! 😉

The volcano peak is at 10,023 feet, so it’s a long way to go from the beach.

We arrived at the top of the mountain and it was so dark you couldn’t even see to walk.  We used our phones as flashlights to reach the viewing area.  It was really spooky!

After waiting in the freezing cold (literally in the 30s!,) the colors started changing.  Even before the sun officially rose, we saw the colors bounce off the sky.

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

As the sun came up, we were blown away at our surroundings.  In the pitch black, it was hard to get our bearings and understand where we were!

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

Such a stark difference from the lush green Maui beach resort.  It kind of seemed like we were on the moon!

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

As the actual sun started peaking above the clouds, the colors became even bolder.

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything quite as spectacular!

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

I tried to take pictures but also wanted to just watch the sky changing.

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

I never imagined the first day of my Hawaii vacation wrapped up in my winter coat, but it was worth it.

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

After enjoying the show, we explored the viewing area.

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

We could see all the way down to the tropical beaches.

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise

We considered sticking around to do some hiking, but we were both exhausted and hungry, so we went back down the mountain.

Haleakala Volcano Sunrise


Upcountry Maui


We decided to stop to eat about half-way back down the mountain at Kula Lodge.

We shared a really yummy omelet and…

Breakfast at Kula Lodge / Running in a Skirt

banana macadamia nut pancakes for the win!

Breakfast at Kula Lodge / Running in a Skirt

It was still cool and brisk, but the views were so pretty from Kula Lodge.  Totally worth the trip!

Breakfast at Kula Lodge / Running in a Skirt

Before we went down to the beach, we stopped at a Lavender farm called Ali’i Kula Lavender.  We figured out where to go with our tour book, Maui Revealed.

Lavender Farm on Maui, Ali'i' Kula / Running in a Skirt

They had gardens, trails and a cute shop to explore.

Lavender Farm on Maui, Ali'i' Kula / Running in a Skirt

I loved these tropical flowers.

Lavender Farm on Maui, Ali'i' Kula / Running in a Skirt

You could smell the lavender everywhere!

Lavender Farm on Maui, Ali'i' Kula / Running in a Skirt

It was a really beautiful and relaxing place!

Lavender Farm on Maui, Ali'i' Kula / Running in a Skirt

We bought some lavender tea and scones and enjoyed a peaceful morning.

Lavender Farm on Maui, Ali'i' Kula / Running in a Skirt

The next stop was the Surfing Goat Dairy!

Yup– surfing goats!

Surfing Goat Farm on Maui / Running in a Skirt

These folks make THE BEST goat cheese you’ll ever try.

Surfing Goat Farm on Maui / Running in a Skirt

And as an added bonus they just had baby goats!  These cuties were only a day old.

Surfing Goat Farm on Maui / Running in a Skirt

I wanted to take the tour, but both the Hubs and I were so exhausted from traveling and the sunrise adventure that we decided to just take some goat cheese back to Wailea with us.

Surfing Goat Farm on Maui / Running in a Skirt

We spent the rest of the day relaxing at the Wailea Beach Marriott!

Before we knew it, it was time for the sunset!

Sunset on Wailea Beach from Wailea Beach Marriott

I can’t ever remember taking the time to watch both the sunrise and sunset in a single day before.  It’s kind of magical!


If you want to go on a similar adventure without driving, check out THIS TOUR from my friends on Maui.  So much fun.  And don’t forget to get my favorite Maui guidebook HERE!


Also, check out these fun tours of Maui where all the legwork is done for you!




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haleakala volcano sunrise


Your turn!

Have you ever watched the sunrise and sunset in one day?

How was your weekend?

By | 2020-06-02T17:06:29-04:00 December 21st, 2015|Other US Travel, Travel|37 Comments


  1. Best Maui Hikes February 19, 2020 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    […] Sunrise at Haleakala and Upcountry Maui […]

  2. […] recommend also purchasing some cheese from the Surfing Goat Dairy from my Haleakala Sunrise & UpCountry Maui […]

  3. Joleen @ Joleen Cuisine February 28, 2016 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    Totally agree that the sunrise at Haleakala is one of the most spectacular and breathtaking views, ever. Lovely photos!

    • JulieWunder March 5, 2016 at 8:36 am - Reply

      Thanks you Joleen! It was such a great time. I’m so glad you got to see it too.

  4. Pragati // Simple Medicine January 2, 2016 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Hawaii is such a beautiful state! Gorgeous photos, as always! Happy New Year, Julie!

    • JulieWunder January 3, 2016 at 11:17 am - Reply

      It is! It is magical! I hope you had a great New Year!

  5. Emily Smith December 23, 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    We watcthed the sunset at Haleakala many years ago (24 and a half, but who’s counting?) Wonderful memories. We didn’t have the clothes for it as we were there in April so did not have any wintry clothes with us, but we took a blanket from the hotel and cuddled up in it. It was cold indeed but so gorgeous. Your photos brought it all back — thanks for the memories!

    • JulieWunder January 3, 2016 at 10:16 am - Reply

      So happy to hear that Emily! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  6. Andrea December 22, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Wow!!! That sunrise is amazing! Hopefully your husband thought it was well worth the drive because it is a pretty spectular sight. I hate mountain, windy roads too but I’d brave it to see this!

  7. Rachel @ RachelMcMichael.com December 21, 2015 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    Wow- that view was spectacular! Simply stunning!!!

  8. Mandi Korn December 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    What a awesome day, my daughter loves Volcanos, and we hope to take her to one, probably not in Hawaii…..but they are probably the best ones out there. It’s really cool you got to see a sunrise and sunset in one day, not many people can say that. Look forward to more images:o)

  9. [email protected] the Long Way Home December 21, 2015 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    Wow. Just wow. I want to go and my husband won’t talk about it…

    • JulieWunder December 21, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      🙁 Show him the pictures!!! It’s amazing. Like no place else!!!

  10. Farrah December 21, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Oh em eff gee, SO GORGEOUS. I reallyreallyreally hope I can go to Hawai’i next year!!! :O My aunt just revealed that her graduation present to me is…a trip to Hawai’i! *-*!! I just need to have the free time to be able to go! :O :O :O Thanks for sharing such beautiful pictures in the meantime!! <3!

    • JulieWunder December 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      NO WAYYYYY!!!!!! So excited for you!!!! Good luck finding the time!

  11. Runaway Bridal Planner December 21, 2015 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Love the photos they are stunning! This is one of my favorite things to do in Maui, and when I tell people to take a coat they laugh at me, but hey at times it can even be snowing up there, thats the difference between sea level and 10,000 feet:)
    But oh, isn’t it so worth it! There is just no way to describe how it looks to see each of those clouds catch fire with the sun as it makes its way up.
    You had a beautiful and perfect morning to do it too, nothing better than when the clouds are floating above the volcanos and clear skies over your head!
    Makes me wish I could go back to Maui next week, and see it again.
    It’s funny you mentioned watching the sunrise and sunset. I remember doing the same thing in Maui when I visit, there is just something calming about starting the day and ending the day watching the sun go up and down on the horizon!
    So jealous of your trip, and I know I said this above, but beautiful pictures!!!

    • JulieWunder December 21, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      Thank you!! It is such a memorable experience!!! I love Maui so much I could go again right away 🙂

  12. Ivanna December 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Looks like an amazing time and these are some AMAZING pictures. Thanks for sharing

  13. Blane Sherer December 21, 2015 at 11:37 am - Reply

    What a beautiful sunrise !
    What an awesome way for you and the
    hubs to begin your vacation.

  14. Heather @Fit n Cookies December 21, 2015 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Wow! That is beautiful. I would love to start the day with a sunrise like that, and ending with a sunset isn’t so bad. Definitely a fun first day in Hawaii! PS Love that Steeler hat 😉

  15. Yes I agree nothing like watching the sunrise from Haleakala and biking down. I did not get to try that goat cheese though-one of my favorites

    • JulieWunder December 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      You’d love it!! So creamy! And then we got a hard spicy one that was amazing.

  16. Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood December 21, 2015 at 9:13 am - Reply

    So many beautiful pictures!! Very jealous. Also, those GOATS! I love goats, and those are just too cute!!!

    • JulieWunder December 21, 2015 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      The goats were so freakin’ cute!! And the cheese— wwwwooooww!!

  17. Annmarie December 21, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I went to Maui on my honeymoon and the Haleakala sunrise was definitely my favorite part!

    • JulieWunder December 21, 2015 at 9:02 pm - Reply

      Ohhhh how I love Maui! So glad you got to go too!

  18. Diane December 21, 2015 at 7:36 am - Reply

    So beautiful !! I love your pics and always anxious to see more !!

  19. Susie @ SuzLyfe December 21, 2015 at 7:34 am - Reply

    What an amazing day, start to finish. Simply perfection!

  20. Terri Waller December 21, 2015 at 5:32 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing, absolutely beautiful!!!!!!

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