E Ala E
By Pualani Kanahele

(chanted before sunrise)

E ala e
Ka la i kahikina
I ka moana
Ka moana hohonu
Pi’i ka lewa
Ka lewa nu’u
I kahikina 
Aia ka la.
E ala e!

The sun in the east
From the ocean
The ocean deep
Climbing (to) the heaven
The heaven highest
In the east
There is the sun


Since it was our first trip to Hawaii and therefore Maui, we had a pretty packed agenda of things we wanted to see and do. One of these was to see the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. On the day we were leaving, we did just that. After all, we could sleep on the planes, as we had a long trek back to Pennsylvania.

We didn’t hike, we drove. The hike is too long to do at that time of the day and weather changes quite a bit on the way up. Driving wasn’t bad though. It is steep, but plenty of switchbacks ease the climb.

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Seeing sun, water, clouds and rock from the beautiful summit is breathtaking.

Tips for visiting Haleakalā National Park for Sunrise

  1. Get there early. It gets crowded. They do limit the number of cars and have two lots at the top, but it can be hard to find a great spot to view the sunrise once everyone has arrived. 
  2. Pre-buy your park pass. Reserve your pass via the park website well in advance to ensure you can go on the morning that fits your itinerary.
  3. Wear layers. It gets progressively colder as you go up the mountain and while standing outside, you will want a warmer jacket or sweatshirt. 
  4. Take your time. Everyone books it out of there after the sun has risen. Take advantage of your location by staying a bit longer to take photos and investigate the unique natural habitat. 

Kipa hou mai.

Why is this a road trip? They only way to get up the summit that I know of is by car or hiking. Maui is a right for a rental car as the sites to see are far apart and along windy places of rock and water. While you probably have to take a plane first, once you are there, this is a road trip you’ll want to take.