Biking Haleakalā Mountain on Maui
One of the excursions I kept coming across during my research of Maui was a bike tour that took you to the top of the tallest mountain on Maui to see the sunrise. From my research I also found that you need a permit to get to the top of the mountain, and you have to request it well in advance if you hope to get to the top of the mountain to see the sunrise.
If you Google “Haleakalā sunrises”, the photos are just insane. You’re basically on top of the clouds and the sun emerges from below the clouds and makes for just beautiful photos. I knew it was the one thing I for sure wanted to do, and I convinced the rest of the family to do it with me!
In this post I’m breaking down exactly what our tour was, what it included, and how I really feel about it.
Maui Sunrise Bike Tour
We booked our tour through Maui Mountain Cruises. It wasn’t a bad tour. All the employees were really nice. We drove across the island to Paia; we had to be there at 4:30 am in order to get to the top on time. We left the shop a big late because the driver had to pick up another couple from a hotel. But we were definitely in the bus and out the door before it started getting light.
It’s quite a drive to the drop off point. The tour guide was great about giving some history. He even was pointing out a few celebrity homes! We got to the starting point for bike riding right as it started getting light. We watched the sunlight cover the valley, and it truly was gorgeous.
The following photos were all taken before we started the bike ride. Look at the hues and tones of the sky! Totally epic.
The tour included jackets (thank goodness), gloves, the bike, and helmets. Everything you would need to bike down a mountain.
And it’s not a hard bike ride whatsoever. I mean, as long as you are in some sort of decent shape, you’ll be fine. We only really had to peddle once or twice. It was downhill the whole way! I tracked it on my Apple watch and I think it was right at 25 miles.
My favorite part was that we got to do the entire bike tour at our own pace – the driver dropped us off, and then we saw him one more time to show us where one of the turns was, and then he was at the meeting spot where our car was. So at one point we stopped in the little cowboy town to get some donuts.
The tour was as described. Not bad. The bikes weren’t great. They were all three-speed bikes, with terrifying breaks. One guy in our group had his handle bar come off the bike. I got a flat tire, and they quickly showed up to replace my bike when I called the tour guide.
Overall, it was a fine excursion. We saw beautiful parts of Maui from great vantage points. And it got us out of the hotel!
Haleakalā Bike Tour vs. Haleakalā National Park
So these Bike Tour Groups… there’s a few of them. They advertise they will allow you to bike down Haleakalā at sunrise. But… There is a but.
They do not advertise that they DO NOT get you into the national park; they drop you off below the gate. They also do not mention that you face west. So you do not watch the sunrise. And you’re too low to be above the clouds.
Biking groups just don’t have the ability to get into the National Park. Which is fine, I get it. BUT WHY NOT TELL US THAT? Straight up I wanted to go because I wanted to watch the sunrise above the clouds, not to bike 25 miles down a hill.
I mean, it’s fine. Again, we had a fine time. I actually enjoyed biking down the hill through the eucalyptus forests and cows. I blasted the Moana soundtrack and seriously had a good time. It was just so disappointing that we didn’t actually see the real sunrise that I kept seeing photos of online.
Yes yes, I could have gone back again and driven up that mountain. But my husband didn’t want to, and I wasn’t going to make the trek alone when I sort of already had done that.
But, I just felt like this blog was definitely my time to let the world know exactly what the Maui bike tours include.