One of the top things to do on a Maui vacation is to watch the sunrise over a volcanic crater from 10,000 feet elevation. Apparently, this activity has become a little too popular with more people (and cars) visiting than available parking spaces. Per officials at Haleakala National Park,
The four summit parking lots serving sunrise viewing hold approximately 150 vehicles. Vehicles regularly exceed 300 per sunrise. When vehicles outnumber parking spaces, visitors park on road shoulders or in the up-bound lane of Crater Road. The cars block emergency vehicle access and damage park infrastructure, vegetation, and critical habitat for endangered species such as the Hawaiian petrel and Haleakalā silversword.
Crowds at sunrise viewpoints often number over 1,000, with accidents resulting from visitors moving off trail and climbing cliff sides in the dark.
In an effort to alleviate this issue, park management will begin using a reservation system to limit the number of visitors to the available space. Starting February 1, 2017, you must have a reservation to enter the park between the hours of 3am and 7am. Reservations can be secured for a nominal fee of $1.50 per car up to 60 days in advance. You can begin making reservations December 1, 2016. Note that the $1.50 per car reservation fee is in addition to the current $20 per car entrance fee which is valid for three days — including a visit to the coastal, Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park off the road to Hana.
Sunrise reservations can be made online here.
- FAQs about the new reservation system
- Planning your visit page of Haleakala National Park
- Our tips for visiting Haleakala National Park for sunrise at the summit.