Take A Drive Above The Clouds On This Incredible 38-Mile Highway In Hawaii
Just 27 square miles short of equaling the entire size of Oahu, Mount Haleakala is a gentle giant — a dormant volcano that has inspired those who make the journey to its summit for centuries. The mountain comprises 75 percent of Maui Island and is home to desert-like conditions, rainforests, and everything in between. While we love writing about Hawaii’s third tallest mountain peak — including their infamous sunrises — we’ve never talked about the incredible scenic drive above the clouds along Haleakala Highway.
Have you ever taken the road above the clouds to the summit of Mount Haleakala? Tell us, do you prefer driving or being a passenger as you make your way along a scenic route up the mountainside? I’ve done both, and I definitely prefer not driving so I can admire the views and snap some photographs.
The Haleakala National Park Service site has up-to-date information about fees and passes.
Be sure to check out more of our favorite scenic drives across Hawaii.
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Take A Drive Above The Clouds On Hawaii's Haleakala Highway
What are some other scenic routes in Hawaii?
There are many scenic drives in Hawaii. One recommendation is in Oahu on the H-3 from Honolulu through the Ko’olau Mountains. You'll pass through lush landscapes that will bring up images of dinosaurs in your mind.
Another is Oahu's Tantalus-Round Top Drive. This canopy-covered road has lots of curves and offers incredible panoramic views of Waikiki and Honolulu. The National Register of Historic Places added this scenic route in 2009. It’s worth the drive.
Route 200, called Saddle Road by the locals, is the shortest drive from Hilo to Kona on the Big Island. It was once considered a very dangerous road, but it has been made much safer in recent years. Its elevation is 6,632 feet in some places, which means it’s more than a mile high. You will find yourself driving above the clouds with much to see.
Where are the best places to catch a sunrise in Hawaii?
You will want to wake up for some sunrises while in Hawaii. An obvious destination is Mount Haleakala. Seeing the sun come up above the clouds can seem a bit surreal and amazing. The drive down the mountain will incredible too.
Koko Crater is another fine spot to watch the sun come up. This involves a moderate hike up the Koko Crater Railway Trail to an old World War II bunker. Don't forget your headlamp! The sunrise gives a panoramic view of East Oahu.
Any beach provides a great opportunity to catch the sunrise. However, there is something about Sandy Beach at the base of Koko Crater. The view includes rocks, breaking waves, and tide pools. Just be careful. While popular with body surfers, the water here is rough. It may be best to watch the scene from the safety of the sand. This beautiful place is well known for its dangerous shore break.