Ascending the 10,023 feet to the summit of Haleakala to watch the sunrise is one of Maui’s most popular visitor activities. But as of February 1, 2017, it can no longer be a spur of the moment trip – reservations are required.
The process is pretty simple and is completed entirely online at Recreation.gov. (Look for the Make a Reservation button and search “Haleakala sunrise.”) One reservation is required per private vehicle to enter the park between the hours of 3 a.m. – 7 a.m. The cost is $1.50, the pass is only good for the day of the reservation, and the reservation holder must be present along with the pass and a photo ID. Reservations can be made up to two months in advance and as late as 4 p.m. Hawaii Time on the day prior to entry. If you do forget to book ahead or there are no more reservations available for the date of your choice, all hope is not lost. Thirty additional reservations will be made available two days in advance, but these tend to go very quickly, so try not to count on them
Reservation Fee Does Not Include Park Entrance Fee
To clarify, the reservation fee does not include the entrance fee to the park; these are two separate items. The entrance fee to the park will be paid when you go through the gate (credit cards are preferred). This $20 fee per private vehicle is charged no matter what time of day you enter the park and it is good for three days.
The National Park Service instituted this new reservation system in order to help regulate traffic, parking and maintain public and employee safety. It will basically ensure a more organized and less stressful experience for everyone.
Entering the park any time other than between 3 a.m. – 7 a.m. does not require a reservation. If you are unable to get one, a visit to the park would still be worth your while. And here’s a little insider tip for you – sunsets from the summit are spectacular as well!