The Ultimate Guide to Sunrise Hikes in Hawaii: Unveiling the Beauty of the Big Island


Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Big Island of Hawaii by embarking on a sunrise hike. From stunning vistas to serene trails, this guide will reveal the best sunrise hikes that Hawaii has to offer. Discover the magical moments as the sun peeks over the horizon, illuminating the island’s natural wonders. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a photography lover, these sunrise hikes in Hawaii will leave you awestruck.

Featured Photo by S Migaj:

Captivating Beauty at Mauna Kea Summit

At an elevation of 13,796 feet, the Mauna Kea Summit promises an awe-inspiring sunrise experience. Begin your journey in the pre-dawn hours to reach the summit in time. As the first rays of light dance upon the volcanic landscapes, you’ll witness an enchanting transformation. Be prepared for cooler temperatures and bring warm clothing and sturdy shoes for this otherworldly adventure.

Majestic Serenity at Haleakala National Park

Head to Haleakala National Park on Maui for an unforgettable sunrise hike. Ascend to the summit and witness the breathtaking view of the world’s largest dormant volcano. As the day breaks, the vibrant colors painted across the sky create a mesmerizing panorama. Remember to book your permit in advance and be ready for an early morning start to secure your spot in this natural paradise.

Nature’s Splendor at Diamond Head State Monument

Located on the island of Oahu, Diamond Head State Monument offers an excellent sunrise hiking opportunity. Begin your journey under the starry sky and make your way up the iconic volcanic cone. As the sun rises, it bathes the island in a golden glow, revealing panoramic vistas of Waikiki Beach and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Don’t forget your camera to capture this magical moment.

Tranquility at Lanikai Pillboxes Trail

For a picturesque sunrise hike on Oahu’s Windward Coast, explore the Lanikai Pillboxes Trail. This moderately challenging hike takes you to old military pillboxes, offering breathtaking views of the Mokulua Islands and turquoise waters. As dawn approaches, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, creating a serene and unforgettable experience.

Immersive Natural Wonder at Koko Crater Trail

Koko Crater Trail, situated on Oahu, provides a unique sunrise hiking experience. The trail leads you up 1,048 steps to the summit of an extinct volcanic crater. As the sun emerges on the horizon, watch as the surrounding landscapes are painted in golden hues. Take your time to savor the moment and relish the panoramic views of the island’s eastern coastline.

Scenic Wonders at Pololu Valley

Lookout Venture to the northern tip of the Big Island and discover the Pololu Valley Lookout. This breathtaking sunrise hike takes you down a steep trail to reveal an awe-inspiring black sand beach nestled amidst lush cliffs. As the sun rises, the valley is bathed in a warm glow, offering a serene and untouched natural setting that’s perfect for a peaceful morning retreat.

Majestic Sunrise at Pu’u Huluhulu Trail

Embark on the Pu’u Huluhulu Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for a majestic sunrise experience. This trail showcases the island’s diverse landscapes, including lava fields and lush rainforests. As the first light touches the volcanic formations, it creates a surreal atmosphere. Immerse yourself in the ethereal beauty of the park as you witness the birth of a new day.

Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Akaka Falls State Park

For a sunrise hike that combines natural wonders with cascading waterfalls, visit Akaka Falls State Park. Follow the loop trail that winds through lush rainforests and leads you to the breathtaking Akaka Falls. As the sun begins to illuminate the surroundings, the mist from the falls catches the light, creating a mystical atmosphere. Capture the beauty of the towering waterfall against the backdrop of the awakening jungle.

Serenity and Solitude at Waipio Valley Overlook

The Waipio Valley Overlook on the Big Island offers a tranquil and secluded sunrise hiking experience. As the day dawns, the valley reveals its hidden charm with steep cliffs, lush vegetation, and a pristine black sand beach. This moderate hike takes you to the lookout point where you can witness the play of light and shadow as the sun graces the valley floor. Prepare for an early start and be rewarded with a sense of serenity in this untouched paradise.

Experiencing the Magic of Papakolea Green Sand Beach

To witness a sunrise like no other, venture to Papakolea Green Sand Beach on the southern tip of the Big Island. This unique beach, known for its distinctive olive-green sand, offers a surreal setting to welcome the new day. The hike to the beach is moderately challenging but well worth the effort. As the sun emerges, the green sand takes on a mesmerizing glow, creating a magical and unforgettable experience.


Embarking on Sunrise Hikes on Hawaii’s Big Island is a remarkable way to connect with nature and witness the beauty of the island at its finest. From the majestic summit of Mauna Kea to the hidden gems of Akaka Falls State Park, each hike offers a unique and awe-inspiring sunrise experience. Remember to plan your hikes in advance, pack essential gear, and embrace the early morning hours to witness nature’s masterpiece unfold. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a first-time adventurer, these sunrise hikes in Hawaii will leave you with memories that last a lifetime. So lace up your hiking boots, embrace the tranquility of dawn, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the captivating landscapes of the Big Island.

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