Exploring the Road to Hana

Paia, Hawaii

based on 10 reviews


Added by Matt Ford

Amazing views. A unique driving experience. Duration: the whole day. Waterfalls. Beaches. Fields.

Start near Paia on Highway 36 and head east. The road is famous for its many twists and turns, so consider taking lots of breaks to get some fresh air and avoid getting car sick. There are many stops along the way, from ice cream to medium length hikes.

Some of the Best Stops:

  • Coconut Glen's: the best coconut milk ice cream you will ever have. Glen serves up healthy, tasty ice cream from his unique location at mile marker 27.5.
  • Wai'anapanapa State Park: explore the lava tubes and swim at Black Rock Beach.
  • Pools at Ohe'o: enjoy a short hike through a bamboo forest before arriving at the falls of Mahahiku, you can also swim in the pools below the falls.
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Family Friendly
Picnic Area
Swimming Hole

Exploring the Road to Hana Reviews

Amazing!!!! Beautiful scenery but dangerous if not a good driver, lots of turn and locals drive pretty fast on the curves

My husband and I absolutely loved our day traveling on the road to Hana! It's true what they say - start early if you want to see a lot! Below are the lists of stops we made: 1. Painted Trees 2. Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread (got there right when they opened at 8am for fresh out of the oven banana bread - amazing!!) 3. Ching's Pond 4. Upper Waikani/Three Bear Falls 5. Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park 6. Kaihalulu Beach (favorite stop!) 7. Pools of O’heo Scattered throughout were lots of waterfalls that we stopped at to take a quick photo. The road is VERY twisty with almost constant turns. Neither of us required any medicine or got car sick, but it is definitely meant to be taken by a confident driver! We attempted to go to Wai'anapanapa State Park but it was full and we didn't buy passes in advance. Also we didn't realize the Pools of O'heo are within the National Park that closes at 4:30pm, so we weren't able to see nearly as much of that as we had hoped. Regardless, it was an amazing trip, and we are totally happy it didn't all go as planned and we got to see all we could see! The very best part to us was actually going on the "backside" of Hana, as in not going the most traveled way back home. It was absolutely gorgeous - we saw wildlife, a rainbow and the best sunset of my life! Check with your car rental company if that applies, many don't allow you to take the backside as is quite rough and could damage your car. But if you are allowed and take it slow, it is so worth it!

First, do not attempt to do the Road to Hana in one day if you truly want to experience it's magic. There are so many wonderful beaches and hikes that two days minimum is required in my opinion. Staying in Hana allows you to take your time and truly enjoy this remote paradise. Second (and especially if you only have one day) start as early as possible! Especially if driving from west Maui. One tip we received that was helpful was to start at the top and work your way down. Most people do the opposite of course. There are too many wonderful spots to review here but the "Maui Revealed" books are very helpful with descriptions and tips for visiting this area.

If you like very touristy things with lots of traffic and crowds, then this is for you! If you are amused by a 10ft waterfall with 27 people taking pictures in the middle of the road, this is definitely for you. We started on the north side to get to Hana and came back to town via the south road. The roads are cool and not as sketchy as people say. Coconut Glen's is a place to stop on the north side for some coconut ice cream. Going to the beach and hiking the Makahiku trail to the waterfall was the best part of the 8-10 hr day. There's better things to do on Maui than sit in a car all day!

The ‘Road to Hana is a gorgeous journey along the wilder coast of Maui. Yes it is a bit touristy and yes it can be quite busy but there are just too many sights to see that you will not want to miss. There are numerous overlooks and waterfalls, the black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hana Lava Tube, the red sand beach at Kaihalulu Beach, Seven Sacred Pools at Ohe’o Gulch, fruit stands, and more. It’s a full day adventure. So leave early, fill up with gas, pack a picnic lunch, and hit the road. Be forewarned about the road though. It is winding and narrow with a plethora of hairpin turns and many one-lane bridges. If you continue past Hana (about 4 miles) the road necks down to a one-lane road with many blind curves. If you plan on taking the Hana Highway and connecting with the Piilani Highway to drive all the way around the southern portion island, the section of one-lane highway lasts about 20 miles but there is section of highway sandwiched in here that is extremely narrow and is a pothole paradise. It lasts about 8 miles and varies between deteriorated, potholed asphalt and gravel. The southern portion of the island is very remote and transitions from the lush rain forest to a more arid climate. It’s beautiful in its own right plus you can escape the crowds. If you do decide to drive this rugged section of the island and have a rental vehicle, check your agreement as you might be voiding it.

The road to Hana was an experience. We bought a $15 CD at the gas station to give us a "play by play" along the way - totally worth it. The ride itself is somewhat unnerving if you're not the one driving with tight turns, often one lane, and close to the cliff edge. Otherwise, very scenic passing local spots, waterfalls, and even guys jumping out of the forest with some "Maui Wowie." The stops along the way as mentioned in the review are worth it - especially the lava tubes and state park at the end. Otherwise, Hana itself can be disappointing (but maybe because there's all this buildup all day driving to it).

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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