10,023 feet above sea level
To capture the true beauty of the east Maui volcano Haleakalā (house of the sun), the best time to visit is sunrise or sunset. It's the world's largest dormant volcano rising 10,023 feet above sea level and delivers the most spectacular views.
Seeing as we already had too many super early mornings with the marathon weekend and myself training prior, we opted for the sunset trip to the volcano. You need to allow yourself plenty of time getting there, so don't forget to take that into account. You can drive there or even take a special biking tour which Matt did years ago and enjoyed, but don't be fooled, the risk of injuries are high. I wouldn't recommend the biking option to anyone who doesn't regularly ride bikes! I can ride a bike comfortably, but its been so long and that will make a difference when you are coming around the sharp corners that have no barricades -plummeting to ones death isn't to be taken lightheartedly, and as I sit here clutching my pearls, quite the possibility.
Obviously we took the driving option and seeing as I'm scared of heights....lets just say Matt was laughing at me holding on to the door of the Jeep, it's very windy as you go up. You can stop off at sections to take photos, which we did and it was so pretty taking it all in at the different levels of the volcano. The air was nice and crisp but nothing that made us put our jumpers on. Once we got to the top and waiting for the sunset, it became a different story.
When I was reading about it and the suggestion to wear warm clothes, Matt thought just a jacket would be fine and that I was crazy packing a scarf and the closest thing to a windcheater I had -so glad I did!! Wearing jeans and a t-shirt (maybe even a light jumper) is fine until the sun starts to set. The wind cuts like ice and only gets worse when the stars come out!! It's weird because you can handle having your ankles showing but your hands feel like they are getting frost bitten. Most people were shivering even in their puffy jackets, so basically dress for the snow! And if you don't, make sure you have gloves! Hell, bring blankets!! By the way, you have to pay an entrance fee for the park at one point on the way up, so don't forget to have some $$
It's not often you get to experience being above the clouds and making the trip was worth it! Even bearing the artic wind didn't dampen the magical experience of being up there. We picked the perfect night, the sky was crystal clear and the moon full, but so bright and red it overpowered the stars and you would have thought it was fake. I have a SLR camera and a decent size lens, but its moments like these you wish you had the perfect lens and tripod to take photos worthy of the national geographic magazine. Then again, it's only worth investing in if you do this all the time. I would go back there just to take those kind of photos though -truly worth it!