Reservations Are Now Required to See Sunrise From the Top of Mt. Haleakalā in Hawaii
The ability to be spontaneous is one of the great pleasures of being on vacation. Sure, it’s fine to have an itinerary, but leaving enough flexibility that allows for an impromptu trip to, say, watch a breathtaking sunrise is what makes for some of the best memories. But if you happen to be visiting the Hawaiian island of Maui and decide you want to see the sun rise from the top of Haleakalā National Park’s famous volcanic crater, you’re going to need to plan ahead.
As of February 1, 2017, visitors wishing to watch the park’s iconic sunrise from the Haleakalā Visitor Center, which sits at an elevation of more than 9,700 feet, need to make reservations ahead of time, at the cost of $1.50 per car. While it may seem like an arbitrary rule or a quick way to add some additional cash to the park’s coffers, the reasoning behind the move, according to an article by The Telegraph, was safety-driven. More people have caught on to the park’s magical early-morning vistas, traffic has increased, and as a result, so have the number of car accidents, not to mention regular traffic jams and damage to the drive-up volcano's vegetation.
Fortunately, the process is very simple. Sunrise-seekers simply need to visit Recreation.gov, where for $1.50 per car, they can reserve a spot at the summit for sunrise viewing up to 60 days ahead of time. Be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible, as spots tend to fill up fast, though a few more will generally be made available about 24 hours ahead of time. The sunrise fee is separate from the $20 entrance fee the park already charges — you’ll pay that upon arrival the day of your visit regardless of what time you go. All you have to do is hope that Mother Nature is on your side: there are no refunds or exchanges, regardless of what kind of weather the morning brings.
H/T: The Telegraph