By Dawn’s Early Light: Maui Sunrise

Our 5 favorite places on Maui to watch the sunrise (that aren't Haleakalā Crater)


‘Ōhai Trail West Maui

It takes two-and-a-half hours to drive from Kapalua to the summit of Haleakalā, but a fraction of that time to reach ‘Ōhai Trail, a moderately challenging, lightly visited, 1.2-mile loop.

This is a landscape unlike any other on Maui, where knee-high shrubs cover a rolling plain amid bluffs, and a deep blue ocean crashes against cliffs that drop vertically to the sea. Visit in winter, and you might see whales spouting in the first rays of light.

A ten-minute walk leads to a perch facing east along the island’s north shore. Look up toward Haleakalā Crater (surprisingly visible from this West Maui site), and you’ll notice a caravan of headlights snaking along the road to the summit. At this early hour, those headlights on the opposite side of the Central Valley will likely be the closest vehicles you can see.

After sunrise, head to Nākālele Blowhole, two miles north, and have the place to yourself—but be cautious when hiking down from the road, and remember to view the blowhole from a safe distance.

Kā‘anapali, 30 minutes | South Maui, 1 hour 20 minutes

TIP: South of Kahakuloa village, a section of Kahekili Highway (Route 340) narrows to a (barely) two-lane road that zigzags between sea cliff and drop-off—with no shoulder on either side. It’s safer to drive north on Honoapi‘ilani Highway (Route 30), past Kapalua and Honokōhau Bay, where Honoapi‘ilani and Kahekili highways meet. Continue 2.8 miles and you’ll reach Nākālele Blowhole. ‘Ōhai Trail is 2.1 miles further.



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