At 10,000 feet above sea level, Mount Haleakalā is Maui’s highest summit, giving you prime viewing access for a sunrise like you’ve never seen. But what else do you expect from a peak whose name literally translates to ‘House of the Sun’.
Considered sacred ground by Hawaiians, Haleakalā got its title thanks to the demigod – and namesake of the island – Maui. As legend goes, Maui’s mother, the goddess Hina, complained that the sun moved too quickly and her kapa cloth didn’t have time to dry during the day. This inspired Maui to venture to the top of the mountain in hopes of capturing the fiery sun with a lasso and bringing it to a halt in the sky. Once captured, the sun begged Maui to be let go in exchange for offering the island more sunlight. As a result, the mountain receives about 15 minutes more of sunlight each day than the surrounding areas below, resulting in its fitting name.
Each morning as the sun begins to peek out above the clouds, the sky lights up with bold shades of orange, red and yellow. Locals and visitors who can’t resist seeing this spectacular display will head to the upcountry temple of nature in the pre-dawn hours. The road up is a winding 37-mile stretch in the dark, but once at the top you’ll be presented with an awe-inspiring view. As the dramatic landscape below starts to unveil in the sunlight, you’ll see Hawai‘i Island to the southeast and the only two higher mountains in Hawai‘i, the soaring twin peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
“Haleakalā is one of the sacred grounds where my ancestors gathered,” says Makalapua Kanuha, Director of Culture for The Westin Kā‘anapali Ocean Resort Villas. “That’s our connection to the land, and we warmly encourage visitors to come and discover their own special connections, both to the surroundings and to their family.”