Haleakala National Park encompasses over 30,000 acres of land, ranging from the coastal area of Kipahulu filled with lush jungle and waterfalls soaring up through 6 of the world’s 14 climate zones to the summit of Maui’s dormant volcano.
The name Haleakala means “house of the sun.” Legend has it that the demigod Maui, who the island is named after, went out to capture the sun after his mother Hina complained that the days were too short for her to dry out her kapa (bark cloth). Maui went to the peak of the mountain and waited to the sun to rise from the crater. The legend begins to differ a little here, but basically Maui snared the sun with his lasso and only let it go after it agreed to travel slower for half the year. This agreement allowed Hawaii to have its seasons of winter and summer. Hawaiians enjoyed a longer growing season and Hina was able to dry out her kapa.
Haleakala Crater is a giant shield volcano that takes up three-quarters of Maui’s 727 square miles (1,170 km) and rises up to 10,023 feet (3,005 m) above sea level. The summit’s high elevation, lack of environmental pollution, and ever-changing weather patterns make it an ideal place to view the sky. In fact, astronomers come from all over the world to observe and research.
Sunrises and sunsets at Haleakala Crater can be absolutely breathtaking! The view, along with the feeling of being on top of the world, makes Haleakala an epic proposal location on Maui. However, there are a few things you should be aware of to determine if this is the best place for you and your sweetie!
There will be other people around
Haleakala is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Maui. If you are interested in proposing at the Haleakala summit at sunrise, you will have an audience. If you are open to somewhere other than the summit, there are certain spots on the crater that tend to be less busy. However, we do need to respect park rules and stay within boundaries at all times.
We do our very best to capture you at angles where other people are not in the background, but in reality, people are there. Sometimes we have to crop the photo so you won’t see everyone else around. Other times, we work photoshop magic.
Requirements for Haleakala sunrise
Due to the popularity of sunrise viewing at the summit and limited parking, Haleakala National Park reservations are required for every vehicle entering the park from 3:00 am to 7:00 am. Reservations open two months in advance and often sell out very quickly. Another batch of tickets is opened up two days before the scheduled date. Tickets are $1.50 per vehicle and must be purchased online ahead of time. They are not available up at the park entrance. If you cannot reserve a ticket and/or we cannot reserve a ticket for our photographer, we have to make plans for after sunrise.
We also have to file a permit for being able to take professional photos at Haleakala National Park. The permit process does take a while, so we need at least one month notice to make sure the permit can be filed in time.
If you are staying in a resort area, it will likely take you at least two hours to drive from your hotel to Haleakala Summit. To ensure you get a good spot and are there on time, we will have you arrive an hour before sunrise. The good news is colors before daybreak are amazing. The bad news is you will have to be ready to leave your hotel by 2:30-3:30 in the morning, depending on the time of year and exactly where you’re driving from.
Poor cell phone service
We send you a detailed itinerary of the proposal plan. As long as you follow this plan, everything should go swimmingly. We know that stuff happens though, which can throw the plan off. Normally, you let us know and we try to make it work. However, cell phone service at Haleakala is spotty, so it might be hard to get in contact should we need to make any changes to the set plan.
Although we are on a tropical island, it is very cold at the summit. The temperature drops 3 degrees for every 1000 feet of elevation, so it’s about 30°F (or 17°C) colder than at sea level. Temperatures are often in the 40s F, but can dip below freezing.
We want you to be comfortable and safe, so you’ll need to wear layers, long pants, and covered shoes.
Weather is unpredictable
Weather moves really fast up at the crater and can be completely different from the rest of the island. The weather conditions frequently change throughout the day. It can be raining and covered in clouds and completely clear up to be gorgeous an hour later. If you’re doing a sunset proposal at Haleakala, watching these weather changes take place is nerve-wracking. If the weather cooperates, the colors are spectacular. Since we know Mother Nature likes to change her mind a lot at the crater, it’s a bit of a gamble.
It was cloudy during this proposal, but it cleared up right after.
In summary, if you want your proposal to be:
– in a more private atmosphere
– planned last minute
– close to your hotel or a romantic restaurant
– a time where your love will be dressed up
– in a location that will likely be sunny
Then Haleakala may not be the right Maui proposal location for you. But we have lots of other options we can discuss!
If you’ve read through, think your sweetie would love the background, and you are willing to take the risk, then please waste no time in contacting us for your Haleakala proposal!