From my advice for watching Haleakala sunrise, I recommend that you map out your directions at least a day before you plan to go. Otherwise, you’ll be fumbling around for directions in the dark while you’re only half awake. That’s a recipe for getting lost in a hurry.
In theory, getting to the summit of Haleakala sounds easy peasy. In my opinion, it’s not as easy as it seems. Though, we’ve been to Haleakala for sunrise multiple times, we still sometimes wonder if we’re headed in the right direction. Driving in the deep dark of the night just adds to the challenge.
The last time we drove to Haleakala for sunrise, we temporarily parked at the Visitors Center. We had a brief
argument discussion whether we were in the correct spot or not. I’m not going to say who was right or wrong 😉 but I asked Andy to humor me and continue drive a bit further, because I could faintly see that we hadn’t reached the summit. Well, he did and then we reached the summit.
To help clear confusion. Andy created this brilliant custom Google map identifying the summit parking lot. If you check out that map in the satellite view, you’ll be able to get your bearings a bit better before you’re driving around up there in the dark.
View Haleakala Summit Parking Lot in a larger map
From this Google Map link the summit parking lot is also indicated. You should be able to create custom directions from that link. (Disclaimer: Please note that the summit parking lot is accurately identified, however, sometimes Google directions may not be 100% accurate.)
More hints and tips to help you get to the sunrise view:
– Once get onto the winding road to the summit, you need to drive as high as the road takes you. The prime sunrise viewing point is at the summit.
– After you’ve found the correct parking area, you’ll need to find a short trail that leads you to the a hexagonal-shaped shelter. You can see that shelter in the satellite-view in the custom Google Map.
– Use a GPS Navigation System if you have one. The audible directions are very helpful in the dark. Also bring a print out or downloaded list of directions as a back up.
– Review more tips on my Haleakala sunrise post, including what to bring and wear.