Many people count sunrise and sunset as their favorite times of the day. One reason is the lighting; dust in the atmosphere filters the low light and creates intense colors. Another is that the world seems quiet and still at those times. There’s also a certain enjoyment in watching the sun rise or fall over the edge of the Earth. Anyplace with a view of the horizon is good for watching the sun rise or set, but some are especially spectacular.
1. Haleakala Summit, Hawaii
Haleakala is a massive shield volcano that makes up about 75% of the landmass on Maui. From its top, which you can drive to, there are panoramic views of the island and the Pacific. Although the volcano last erupted between 1480 and 1600, scientists consider it to still be an active volcano.
2. The Grand Canyon, Arizona
At the established overlooks along this canyon’s rim, you’ll always find a lot of photographers waiting for the perfect sunrise or sunset shot. If you prefer less company, it’s usually easy to hike a bit along the rim until you find a spot just for yourself. Either way, you’ll love watching the brilliant colors on the canyon walls contrast with the deep shadows within the canyon.
3. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Maine
The lighthouse here, striped like a candy cane, is beautiful all on its own, but this location on the Atlantic coast has a special distinction. It’s the easternmost point of land in the United States, so it’s the first to receive sunlight each day.
4. Florida Bay, Florida
Florida Bay is at the southern tip of Everglades National Park, which itself is at the southern tip of Florida’s mainland. This means that you can watch the sun both rise and set over the waters here, making it a perfect place to start and end your day when you visit this park.
5. The Window, Texas
Located in Big Bend National Park, the Window is a narrow gap between two peaks in the Chisos Mountains. You can hike to this gap and marvel at the precipitous dropoffs and desert views, but for sunset, view it from an overlook in the Basin area. At some times of the year, the sun sets directly in the gap.
6. Logan Pass, Montana
Glacier National Park is a wonderland of mountain scenery, and Logan Pass on the Continental Divide is one of the best and easiest places to experience it. The pass, which is above timberline, has sweeping 360-degree views, so it’s great for both sunrise and sunset.
7. St. Mary Lake, Montana
Also in Glacier National Park, St. Mary Lake is the most spectacular of the park’s large lakes. It’s also the site of the Wild Goose Island Overlook, which is popular all day long
but is particularly impressive at dawn as it frames the reddening mountains. Although this side of the park is known for being windy, the lake is often briefly still at sunrise, perfectly reflecting the surrounding peaks.
8. Arches National Park, Utah
The red sandstone in this desert masterpiece glows at sunrise and sunset. However, the best way to enjoy those times here is to find an arch that frames the rising or setting sun. If you’re up for a moderate 3-mile round-trip hike, head out to famous Delicate Arch for sunset. The view of the arch faces east, so you won’t see the sun setting through the arch, but the glowing-red arch does frame the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the distance.
9. Rialto Beach, Washington
This beach on the Pacific Coast in Olympic National Park features offshore rock outcrops known as sea stacks and tide pools teeming with starfish, anemones, and other aquatic life. Watching the sun set between two of the sea stacks or directly behind one, thereby silhouetting it, is something you’ll never forget.
10. Crater Lake, Oregon
Crater Lake in this national park of the same name is the deepest lake in the U.S. and has stunningly blue waters. Because a road encircles the crater rim, you can enjoy sunrise and sunset from multiple locations, choosing to focus on the sun in front of you or the strong colors it creates when it’s behind you.
11. Lone Pine, California
The small town of Lone Pine sits at the base of the Sierra Nevada on its spectacular east side, where the jagged Sierra crest rises more than 10,000 vertical feet above the valley floor. With the sun behind you at dawn, you can take in the classic view of pink-tinged Lone Pine Peak and Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48, framed by the Alabama Hills below.
12. Zabriskie Point, California
At dawn, this overlook in Death Valley National Park has incredible views of the rugged, wildly colored badlands below, and you can watch the sun hit the Panamint Range and Death Valley’s salt pan beyond. At sunset, enjoy watching the sun disappear behind those mountains, which are snow-covered for about half the year.
Best Place to See the Grand Canyon Sunrise at South Rim
If you’re wondering where the best place to see the Grand Canyon sunrise at South Rim is, you’re not alone. With more than six million visitors to the national park each year, there are plenty of people trying to find the best place to see the show.
And what a show it is! Mother Nature does not disappoint. It was easily one of the most memorable sunrises we’ve ever seen! There are some things you should know before you go, though, and we’ll do our best to answer all your questions for you.
Haleakala Summit at Sunrise or Sunset: Which One Should You Do?
If you’re heading to the beautiful island of Maui and trying to decide whether or not it’s worth planning a visit for a Haleakala Summit sunrise or sunset, the answer is yes!
Either time you decide to go, it’s definitely worth it.
Actually, if I had to rank it, I would say it was in the top three things we did on our vacation in Maui, and I loved just about everything we did there! Here are nine things you should know before you go.
What Are the Best Hawaiian Beaches to Visit in 2023?
If you’re planning your dream vacation to one of the Hawaiian Islands, you probably want to know where the best Hawaiian beaches are. Whether you prefer a hotel with beachfront property or plan to spend your time snorkeling where the sea turtles are, there’s a beach in Hawaii for you.
This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.
Robert Sihler is an educator, freelance writer, and rock climbing guide and instructor living with his family in Driftwood, Texas. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction, streaming films, completing crossword puzzles, and rock climbing. When he goes on vacation, he likes to visit the mountains of the West and climb remote, obscure peaks that have seen few or no prior ascents.