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Road to Hāna

Suitable for:
Everyone, nature lovers, families, couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Known and overrun
TouriSpot
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
10 hours
Optimal arrival time:
08:00 o' clock
Cost:
Free
Suitable for:
Everyone, nature lovers, families, couples
Insider tip or tourist spot?
Known and overrun
TouriSpot
Insider Tip
Time needed: 1-2 hours
10 hours
Optimal arrival time:
08:00 o' clock
Cost:
Free

Road to Hāna - Description

The most beautiful street of Maui

The most spectacular road on Hawaii Island winds along the northeast coast of Maui: the Road to Hana. This narrow yet busy road to the small town of Hana with just 1,000 inhabitants is one of the most beautiful panoramic highways in the world.

There are several reasons for this: The road offers imposing and very diverse views and it just about sums up what Maui is all about: the deep blue Pacific Ocean, the lush green rainforest full of exotic plants and waterfalls plunging into crystal clear natural pools.
These elements alternate and combine again and again to create a breathtaking overall picture. This is what makes the Road to Hana a very versatile experience.

A day on this beautiful road can be intense for all senses since there are also many culinary recommendations along the road.

The road is already a sight in itself. But if you drive it without stopping, you will miss out on a lot. Therefore, good planning of this route is highly recommended. Even more so if you want to drive the way from the west coast to Hana and back in one day. Take your time for it and read up well. You will find many tips for planning in advance and the individual spots in this article. Also, read about the reasons why certain flexibility can not hurt with all the planning for the Road to Hana.

How to use our Road to Hana Guide

  1. If you have time, read through the section "Things to know at the beginning" first. (A great read before going to bed or flying to Hawaii).
  2. Once you have gained the basic knowledge, you can start with rough planning (why "rough"?). See also our opinions and tips at the end of the article). You have 2 options for planning:
    • A) Simply go through the complete article step by step or
    • B) Our tip: Plan with our interactive Road to Hana Map.
      • You can click flexibly through the individual sights on the map. Each tour stop contains GEO and Milemarker data. If you want to know more, click on "to the description".
      • Once you have reached the description, you can return to it by clicking on "back to the map".

Road to Hana - map to our tour guide

Things to know at the beginning

What exactly is the Road to Hana? The Road to Hana or Hana Highway is the name given to the stretch of Hawaii State Routes 36 and 360. Highway 36 starts at Kahului and from here it is about 50 miles to Hana.
During the first few miles eastward, there is plenty to experience, including a visit to Paia and the Ho'okipa beach park. But things get really spectacular when Highway 36 turns into Highway 360 at the junction with Highway 365.

Road to Hana Brück

At this point, the two-lane highway leads into the middle of the rainforest, partly up to 400 meters above the coast. Over 50 bridges and 600 curves later, you reach Hana, the small town on the far east coast.
The Road to Hana has long ceased to be an insider tip. Every day, up to 800 cars drive along the road - most of them travel in the morning to Hana and back in the evening. One more reason to be well prepared.

Plan the route

road to hana maui maui

With so many cars and tourists in a day, you can imagine what it's like on this coastal road. Not only because Americans are used to different road conditions. American highways are often very wide, multi-lane and designed for large cars. The Road to Hana, on the other hand, is narrow, it is curvy with many hairpin curves, it has two lanes and some bridges even have only one lane.
It's a good idea to at least try to avoid the very big hustle and bustle.

Therefore, you should schedule your trip on a weekday, because there is much more traffic on weekends. Also, you should start early in the day, preferably before sunrise. From Kahului, it is about 50 miles to Hana. That sounds less than it is. Because the four hours that Google Maps calculates for the round trip is not nearly enough. A day on the Road to Hana will be just that: a day, from sunrise to dusk. This is because, besides the drive itself, there are so many opportunities to pull over, get out of the car to see, discover or experience something that makes up the Hana Highway.

road to hana1 Maui

How many stops you can make on the outward journey depends on many factors. If you don't want to rush through, but also plan a leisurely picnic or one of the nice shorter hikes, you should not plan more than four or five stops for one day.
There are always parking spaces, but they are of course limited with such a small road and the densely grown nature all around it. It is also good that way. First of all, be sure to stick to the permitted parking spaces and don't just stand anywhere. And secondly: Don't be upset if you can't find a free parking spot at the waterfall of your choice. On the Road to Hana, a few miles further on, there is certainly another remarkable sight waiting for you.

For orientation: when we recommend stops to you in this text, we will sometimes speak of "mauka". This is referring to the the side facing the mountain, i.e. on the right-hand side on the way to Hana. Makai means the seaside.

Overnight stay in Hana

One option that only some tourists take advantage of is to equalize the Road to Hana experience.
You can stay overnight in Hana. It's a small town but it has hotels - a pretty good one even. This way you have much more time for stops on the way to enjoy the views, splash around in the natural pools and look for alternatives if you don't find a free parking place. Enjoying the Road to Hana and the town of Hana to the fullest instead of following a strict daily schedule is certainly in line with the Hawaiian spirit - hang loose! Another advantage is that it is much easier to get around on the way back since it is much less busy in the morning from Hana on Highway 360 westbound.

Back via the south?

You can also return from Hana via the south of the island. Highway 360 does not end in Hana but winds its way along the coast for quite some distance. Highway 360 joins the Piʻilani Highway (Hwy 31), which leads back to the upcountry.
It is definitely worth not seeing Hana as the ultimate endpoint because there are still many beautiful spots, for example, the famous Seven Pools of Ohe'o, in the southeast of the island. But there is a small catch: many car rental companies do not provide insurance coverage for a part of this route. This is because the road is unpaved between mile markers 37 and 33. After heavy rain, caution is advised here. If you want to be on the safe side, especially for insurance reasons, you should drive the very well-surfaced northern route back. Boredom will certainly not arise and perhaps there are even opportunities for breaks at places where no parking bay was free on the way up. Those who are on the road with a jeep and are confident can also return via the south in the direction of Kahului.

Traffic rules

The usual American traffic rules apply on the Road to Hana. But as mentioned before, the road is not very American.
You are not allowed to drive faster than 25 miles per hour and in narrower places and around sightseeing spots, you should drive at walking speed. There are often a lot of people on the road.

road to hana3 Maui

You will see a lot of rental cars but Hawaiians also live along the coast and in Hana of course. The locals know every curve and drive with a completely different safety awareness along their Hana Highway. And often at a much higher speed than prescribed - certainly not recommended for us. That's why the rule here is: "Let Locals Pass". Don't be annoyed by speedy jeeps that come too close. If the road allows it, pull over and let the locals pass.

Equipment

Those who drive the actual Hana Highway do not need an off-road car. However, the car should be filled up with gas. The last possibility to refuel is in Paia. There is also a gas station in Hana, but don't rely on it, it might be closed.
If you don't have a rental car and would rather enjoy the views of the panoramic road instead of having to concentrate on the bustling traffic and the many hairpin curves, you can also book a tour. Many tourist offices offer one-day excursions to Hana and back - including stops at spots worth seeing.

Necessary equipment for a day on the Road to Hana includes:

  • The correct clothes: Sure, you will be sitting in the car a lot, the clothes should be comfortable. But sturdy shoes are very useful for hikes. Even to the pools near the road, you may have to climb a bit. Sports shoes are more suitable than flip-flops here.
  • The necessary protection: The rainforest will not always protect you from the merciless sun. So be sure to remember sunscreen. Mosquito repellent can also be very useful. In addition to that, not everyone tolerates the many serpentines well - especially in combination with the heat. You better pack something against travel sickness to properly enjoy the day.
  • The helpful orientation: Getting lost is difficult. Nevertheless, there are a few very helpful helpers to miss as little as possible on the road. For example, set markers on Google Maps at the places you want to see. Otherwise, you might have passed a mile marker faster than you would have liked.
  • Our Hawaii Guide: It contains a lot of Milemarker info including tips and can be read by the passenger during the car ride (or by everyone on the outbound flight to Hawaii). So: Feel free to save it 🙂

By the way: Even if there are a few good food stands along the way, you should not rely on them. Maybe you won't find a free parking space, or maybe the owner of the snack bar is having his lunch break or everything has already been sold. Therefore, you should definitely pack plenty of water and food.

What you should see? Hard to say. The Road to Hana offers a lot. You could choose to hop from natural pool to natural pool, plan on lots of hiking, or focus more on picnic spots with great views. Or a little bit of everything. The short effort to customize your day is worth it.
However, despite all the planning, it can happen that you just can't find a parking bay where you would like to get off. On Saturdays and Sundays and in the late morning it is sometimes just too crowded. Don't be sad if a well-thought-out plan doesn't quite work out. Keep certain flexibility and just be happy about everything you will experience on your route.

Quiet places

There are not many public toilets on the Road to Hana. We have noted which spots you can use. It can be useful to bring your own toilet paper. It should go without saying that you should not throw away your tissues or other garbage somewhere in nature.

First part: from Kahului to Keanae

If you stay in a hotel in or around Kahului, you should start early on the Road to Hana. Especially if you want to take in the following two spots before hitting Highway 360. And they are worth it!

Paia

Back to the map

  • Mile marker: Paia is located on Highway 36, east of Kahului Airport.
  • How much time you need: half an hour for a walk through the center. Slightly more if you also want to eat here.

Paia is a small place where many surfers and longtime hippies hang out. Along the main streets (Baldwin Avenue and the other is Hana Highway) are beautiful old wooden houses, with a great selection of restaurants, cafes, shops and yoga as well as tattoo studios. Very early in the day, it is still very quiet here. There is a sleepy atmosphere over the town, but in the evening, when everyone is back from surfing, there is quite a lot going on. You can decide whether you prefer the silence in the morning - or rather a good dinner after a long day on the Road to Hana.
Paia is also a great place for a day trip. Relax at Baldwin Beach Park or Kaulahao Beach, throw yourself into the waves there and eat your way through the treats at the centre in between.

Tip: Fill up your car here before heading to Hana. Food is available at the Mana-Foods organic grocery store, which is located right at the main intersection. Or at the Paia Pit Stop.

Ho'okipa Beach Park

Back to the map

  • Milestone / Mile Marker: 8.8 Hwy 36
  • GPS: 20°56'06.5″N 156°21'19.6″W
  • Between the places Paia and Haiku
  • Plan 15 minutes for a short view of the bay from Ho'okipa Lookout, located directly at the larger parking lot. It will be longer for those who want to end their day here comfortably.
Hookipa Beach Maui

Ho'okipa is a bay about a kilometer wide and it is located east of Paia. A spacious beach and Maui's favourite spot for many surfers. The conditions here are good for surfing all year round. And surfing has been going on here for a good 90 years, day in and day out. Important international competitions are also held here.

All day long you can watch the spectacle in the waves at Ho'okipa and of course paddle out yourself. But Ho'okipa is a place for advanced surfers, the currents in this bay can make the entry very dangerous. The eastern part is reserved for surfers, the western part is for windsurfers.
Those who prefer to relax stay on the beach. There are always natural rock pools where children can splash around. It is too dangerous for that in the open sea.

Ho'okipa, by the way, means "hospitality" in Hawaiian. It gets very atmospheric here at sunset. After your route to Hana and back, this would be a good place to end the day. However, the beach park is closed from 7 pm.
The entrance to the parking lot is on the far east. There is parking right at the lookout. You have a great view of the bay from there. A road leads further down along the beach and there are also parking spaces available there.

R2hana Hookipa Maui

Tip: By the way, the beach park also has toilets, showers and picnic tables. And something much more exciting: turtles. The well-known large green sea turtles (Honu) come - at the latest for the night - on land here. But even in the afternoon you can observe more and more of these fascinating animals. You can find them at the eastern end of the bay, under the viewpoint.
Here, volunteers make sure that no one gets too close to them. Stick to the boundaries, the distance is sufficient for observing and photographing.

We continue on Highway 35. At the junction with Highway 365, the highway becomes Highway 360. It gets hillier and narrower. The second part of the Road to Hana begins.

Second part: Off to the rainforest (to Hana)

And immediately, stops worth seeing begin to line up. So keep your eyes open for the mile markers on the side of the road.

Twin Falls

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 2, Hwy 360
  • GPS: 20.911658,-156.243954
  • Time needed: 1 hour
road to hana twin falls maui

The Twin Falls are the first waterfalls on the Road to Hana that are easily accessible and where you can also take your first swim. However, swimming in the natural pools can be too dangerous after heavy rains. Therefore, pay attention to possible warning signs.
The entrance is right by the parking lot and you can't miss it. There is also a food stand here with smoothies, baked goods and fruit.
There also follows a shorter hike into the plantation, with colourful flowers, banana trees and bamboo all around you. The path is not difficult but can be slippery if it has rained before and in one or two places you also have to cross a stream. Take appropriate footwear with you. Sports shoes that may get wet or can be easily taken off are recommended. Many people go to the famous ("Caveman") Falls for a few good photos and turn back. There are smaller waterfalls on various trails - you can go on a discovery tour here.

Tip: However, since the Twin Falls are at the beginning of the road, you should keep an eye on your time. Enjoy your stay but also consider what you want to see during the day.

Even though large parts of the site are private, there is no admission charge. However, a donation is appreciated by the owners, who ensure that the path to Twin Falls is well maintained.

Take mosquito spray and a towel, wear your swimwear right away.

Rainbow Trees

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 7
  • GPS: 20.885034, -156.206565
  • Time needed: 5 minutes
rainbow tree maui Maui

The so-called "rainbow trees" grow on Maui. These are a species of eucalyptus that owes its friendly name to the colourful bark. On the Road to Hana, there are some examples quite at the beginning along the roadside. Park a few meters behind the trees and walk the short distance back.

If you miss them here, however, you still have the opportunity at Keanae Arboretum (Milemarker 16), for example.

Waikamoi Ridge Forest Trail

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 9.6
  • GPS: 20.875520, -156.186785
  • Allow time: 1/2 hour

The Waikamoi Ridge Trail is an approximately 30-minute loop trail for those who want to take a hike. It starts at the picnic area. Along the way, you can still opt for a side trip, in which case the hike will take about twice as long. The one and a half kilometers of the actual loop are not super difficult but there may be roots or muddy segments at times.

You should be prepared for that: You can't swim here. The trail allows you to immerse yourself in nature with more peace and quiet than many other spots on the road (especially the waterfalls).

Garden of Eden Arboretum

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 10.5
  • GPS: 20.868650, -156.180112
  • Time needed: 1 hour

Continue on Highway 360 to the Garden of Eden Arboretum. You'll find the on-ramp just past the Ka Haku Smoke Shack snack bar at mile marker 10.5.

You have to pay an entrance fee for the magnificent garden (15$ per person, children under 16 pay 5$). Then you can drive through by car. But there is also a very easy circular route, which you can walk well with children. There is a colourful flora (partly labelled) and fauna to admire - you will probably also meet a peacock or two. There is also a café and a small gallery here.
The Garden of Eden is open between 8 am and 4 pm.

Kaumahina Wayside Park

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 12
  • GPS: 20.871545, -156.169188
  • Allow time: 10 minutes

This is a convenient spot for a picnic with a great view, it is a few meters above the water and overlooks both rainforest and the Pacific Ocean.

Tip: There are also toilets here.

Ke'anae Arboretum

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 16
  • GPS: 20.857470, -156.149253
  • Allow time: 15 minutes
rainbow tree road to hana Maui

Ke'anae Arboretum is another botanical garden and an alternative to the Garden of Eden. Admission is free here. If you missed the Rainbowtrees around Milemarker 7, you can stop here and admire the colourful trunks of the eucalyptus trees. A sign explains the other trees and plants you can find at this site. For example, the taro plants.

There are only a few, narrow parking spaces. If it doesn't work out on the way there, maybe you can try again at the end of the day to stop here for a short time.

Ke'anae

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: shortly after MM 16 turn left onto the peninsula
  • GPS: 20.863256, -156.143700
  • Allow time: 15 minutes

The village on this small peninsula is worth a detour. The inhabitants here live mainly from taro cultivation. To the right of the village road, surrounded by palm trees, stands a church built of black lava stones. Along the water, there are a few nice viewpoints.
To get to the village, you have to turn into Ke'anae Road just after the Arboretum makai (towards the sea). This road is a dead end, so it is the same way back to the Hana Highway. This is a "detour" of about two miles but it is highly recommended!

Tip: Aunty Sandy's on the right side of the road sells good banana bread. There is also a public restroom here.

Halfway to Hana

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 17
  • GPS: 20.853725, -156.142519
  • Time needed: 5 minutes
road to hana maui 1 Maui

As the name suggests, you have already completed half of the route to Hana at this point. If you need some food or a restroom, you can rest here. There are hot dogs and banana bread.

Wailua

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: behind Milemarker 18
  • GPS: 20.848618, -156.135764 (here is the turnoff to Wailua)
  • Allow time: 10 minutes

Two miles past the turnoff to Ke'anae, you can take another short detour instead of continuing on the road. Makai leads to Wailua (the turnoff is just behind Uncle Harry's Marketplace). On the road, down towards the bay is the Coral Miracle Church, a church made of coral stone.

Upper and Lower Waikani Falls

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 19.4
  • GPS: 20.832400, -156.138727
  • Allow time: 30 minutes for bathing

Space and a great backdrop for swimming are offered at the Waikani Falls. The upper falls are located in mauka, on the inland side. They are also called Three Bears, thanks to two larger and a smaller (the right one) waterfall, which fall here from a good twenty meters into a clear pool. After a lot of rain, however, the three parallel falls become one big one.

Waikani Falls Road to Hana Maui

An easier entrance to the Three Bears is behind the bridge on the ocean side (makai). Here, a small trail leads under the bridge towards the natural pool.

To the left of the bridge along the creek, some people also bathe in the natural pools. But here, you have to be careful. A little further, the Upper Waikani Fall plunges down. You should not come too close here - the currents can be unpredictable and the way along or through the stream is very slippery.

Tip: Don't despair if you couldn't get one of the few parking spaces here. About a mile further on, there is another possibility to park.

Wailua Iki Waterfalls

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: behind MM 21
  • GPS: 20.824618948204286, -156.13547277850816
  • Time needed: 1 hour

This waterfall is not directly located on the road, so it is a good idea to plan a longer break here. Not only for the road itself but also to relax at the waterfall in peace, without car noises, simply in the middle of nature.

A short loop trail (1.5 miles) leads a little deeper into the forest for this. Do not miss the entrance, there are not always many tourists here.

Tip: You no longer have your car in sight here - remember to take your valuables with you.

Pua'a Ka'a Wayside Park and Falls

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 22 and 22.6
  • GPS: 20.817300, -156.124598
  • Allow 5 minutes for a short rest and 30 minutes for the trail.

At mile marker 22, you are at the highest point above sea level (422 meters above sea level to be exact) on the Hana Highway. A few meters further, there are picnic tables at Puaa Kaa Wayside Park as well as restrooms here.

On the other side of the road, i.e. on the mountainside, a small trail starts to the Pua'a Ka'a Waterfalls - about a mile there and back. It's certainly not the most spectacular waterfall on the route but it's a good way to stretch your legs after the numerous turns.

Hanawi Falls

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 24.2
  • GPS: 20.809627, -156.109588
  • Time needed: 30 minutes
R2hana HanawiFalls Maui

Very beautifully embedded in the middle of the deep green of the rainforest and yet located right on the road - the Hanawi Falls. Many people go swimming here. In order to get to the pools, however, you have to climb a bit. After rainfall it can be slippery here and the descent is not recommended. But then, of course, the waterfalls are particularly impressive. The best view is from the bridge that leads over the Hanawi Stream.

Hanawi Falls road to hana Maui

Before the single-lane bridge, there is a slightly longer parking bay on the left. A bend behind the bridge can also park a few cars more.

Nahiku Road

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 25
  • GPS: 20.807574, -156.096292
  • Time needed: 5 minutes

Between Mile Marker 25 and 26, Nahiku Road turns off to the left (makai), a small, almost overgrown road. Drive through this jungle-like, beautiful road, where even the trees are overgrown with other colourful plants, to have a great view of the coast at the viewpoint at the end of the road - perhaps the most beautiful on the whole route.

Makapipi Falls

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 25
  • GPS: 20.807574, -156.096292
  • Time needed: 5 minutes

One mile further, the last waterfall before Hana awaits you. Park behind the bridge and walk the short distance back - and, as always, watch out for traffic.

The special thing here is: It feels like you are standing on top of the waterfall. Enjoy the view down into the middle of the turbulent water. The Makapipi Falls are really unique on the road and a great photo spot.

Kaeleku Caverns (Hana Lava Tube) and Kahanu Gardens

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 31
  • GPS: 20.787364, -156.027423
  • Time needed: 60 minutes

At mile marker 30.6, cross the last single-lane bridge before Hana. Turn left a bit further towards the sea on Ulaino Road to explore the lava caves (Kaeleku Caverns). The entrance fee is 12$. You will get a briefing at the entrance, detailed information, a flashlight and then you are allowed to walk through the cave on your own. It is quite dark in here and the black stalagmites and stalactites are extraordinary.

If you're not quite comfortable with that, instead of a dark cave, you can explore the created maze of red ti plants.
Find out more info here: http://www.mauicave.com

If you continue on Ulaino Road instead of turning around, you will reach the Kahanu Gardens. You can plan a leisurely walk of about one kilometre here. The remains of the Piilanihale Heiau, a large platform made of black lava, are particularly worth seeing. The entrance fee is 10$. On weekends, there are also guided tours offered, which are a bit more expensive.

Waianapanapa State Park & Honokalani Black Sand Beach

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: approx. 32
  • GPS: 20.786726, -156.002623
  • Time needed: 1 hour

If you feel like stopping at a nice picnic spot by now, you should turn off to Waianapanapa Park. The exit is just after the one to Hana Airport.

Honokalani Black Sand Beach Road To Hana Maui

At Honokalani Black Sand Beach, you should only swim and snorkel when the sea is calm. The black beach and the wild rock formations along the bay are already a sight in themselves. A short walk away, the Waianapanapa Caves are located.

Honokalani Black Sand Beach Maui

Hāna Town

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 34
  • GPS: 20.756428, -155.985502
  • Time needed: 1 hour or one overnight stay
Hana Town Maui Maui

Congratulations! Despite so many great stops and turns along the way, you made it to Hana. On the one hand, you shouldn't expect too much from this little place. After all, on the Road to Hana, the journey is the destination. Hana itself is not spectacular but the way there is. Nevertheless: There are a few things to discover here as well. As already mentioned: For those who want to slow their experience on the Hana Highway down, it is a good idea to spend the night here. This allows for enough time to explore Hana and its surroundings. After all, other sights are waiting south of the city.

A particularly good hotel is the Travaasa Hotel Hana. From Fagan's Cross, you have a great view over the town and Kauiki Head, which sticks out of the sea to the far east. In the northern bay of Kauiki Head is the Hana Beach Park, nothing special. If you want to head back west on the same day, you don't have to plan that much time here. But a side trip to Kaihalulu Beach (Red Sand Beach), which is located at the southern bay of Kauiki Head, is highly recommended.
On the way there, on Uakea Road heading south (just before the sports grounds), you might notice a long queue of people. Many strengthen themselves here before they start the way back. This is the now most famous Thai snack bar on the whole island after all. Pranees Thai Food is legendary good. A speciality is the Panang Curry and the homemade iced tea is also very good.

Remember: There is a possibility to refuel only in Hana.

Kaihalulu Beach

Back to the map

  • Milemarker: the trail starts at the southern end Uakea Road
  • GPS: 20.753521, -155.984491
  • Time needed: 1 hour to relax
R2hana Red Sand Beach Maui

For example, park next to the sports field or the school and continue on foot. After about 10 minutes, you will reach the red beach via a small path. There are not many beaches like that in the world. Thus, this is no longer an insider tip. Nevertheless, it does happen that there is not so much going on here. Many day tourists quickly start their journey home again via the Hana Highway and prefer to be back at the hotel earlier than having to drive the serpentine road in the dark.
Kaihalulu Beach is also good for swimming when the water is calm.

You have probably decided how to proceed at this point in your planning:

  1. You will drive back along the Hana Highway after an already eventful day and maybe you plan to make one or two stops on the way back,
  2. You drive a bit further, enjoy the great things that await you south of Hana, in the southeast of Maui, and turn around (insured by the car rental company at the latest after Kipahulu) or
  3. drive back via the south along the Piʻilani Highway (Hwy 31).

Part Three: Beyond Hana

Hamoa Beach

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 51 (Piʻilani Hwy 31)
  • GPS: 20.719434, -155.987637
  • Time needed: 60 minutes to relax
Hamoa Beach Hana Town Maui

Not even four miles past Hana, another highlight awaits you. Hamoa Beach is popular with surfers but rarely crowded. Hamoa is a real dream beach, the sand is soft and all this is embedded in a postcard scenery. To get there, turn off onto Haneo'o Road (makai).
Here, the current can be too strong for swimming. But careful refreshment is possible and for those who have enough time, a very comfortable spot for relaxing in the sun anyway.

Watch out: You are no longer on Highway 360 now but at the beginning of Piʻilani Highway 31. And on this road, the mile markers are counted backwards.
You are also approaching Haleakala. Soon you will drive along the coast and pass the first gentle hills of the volcano on the inland side.

Pools of Ohe'o

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 42
  • GPS: 20.663939, -156.043098
  • Time needed: 1-2 hours

10 miles behind Hana are the famous Pools of Ohe'o. They are often referred to as Seven Pools. In reality, however, there are more than seven natural pools here. These quiet, beautiful pools are located on several levels. They draw their water from the Oheo River, which rises inland on Haleakala. There is a visitor centre, the Kipahulu Visitor Center, with more information about the national park. A relaxing loop trail to the pools starts here and also the Pipiwai Trail starts here. The pools are great for swimming when the water is low.

Tip: If you've already been to Haleakala, the same ticket (a three-day pass) gets you in here, too. The Pools of Ohe'o are already in the Haleakala National Park.

Pipiwai Trail

Back to the map

  • Mile Marker: 42
  • GPS: 20.6617503187, -156.04525003534
  • Time needed: 2-3 hours

We have written an additional description of the trail which you can find here.

Pipiwai Trail Maui Hawaii Maui

This hike is considered one of the most beautiful on the whole island. It leads through the Haleakala National Park. It goes through an impressive bamboo forest and past smaller waterfalls, including the Makahiku Falls, and over the Palikea Falls. At the end of the trail are the Waimoku Falls, which are over 120 meters high. Swimming is not possible here.

bamboo forest road to hana Maui

The trail is a little more than six kilometres long and more than 200 meters in altitude have to be hiked. It's not particularly difficult but it's definitely strenuous. And as it is often the case in Hawaii, it can be tricky or even dangerous if it has rained a lot beforehand.

For this reason, and also because the Pipiwai Trail can be quite busy, you should plan for over two hours.

Pipiwai Trail path Maui

Now the road gets a bit more difficult. Around Mile Marker 37 to 33, there is often no insurance coverage anymore. Those who want to continue should drive very carefully.

At Mile Marker 28.5 (Pakowai Point), there is a natural rock arch to admire and soon you will pass impressive lava fields while slowly reaching the west of the island. The Piʻilani Highway 31 turns into the 37, which brings you back towards Kahului.

What we say

Tommy
Overcrowded? Yes! Often much too narrow streets and too little parking? Yes! And still: A must on your Maui vacation? Definitely! ;-)
Jessi
You can plan the Road to Hana in advance but it usually turns out differently than planned: Parking spaces are often scarce, so you will not make every stop you wanted. Therefore our tip: Plan roughly in advance, mark more than enough stops that interest you or save our tips and take them with you! And once you are there, go with the flow. "The way is the goal" sounds trite but it fits incredibly well for your Road to Hana tour.
Our checklist & tips:
  • Allow enough time!
  • Pack enough food & water
  • Use fuel & possible restroom stops
  • Even after multiple hairpin bends, stay focused or, if in doubt, take a break.
  • If a place of interest is occupied, simply continue ;)

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Map and contact data

Longitude: -156.16932872745483
Latitude: 20.854636008234976

Your questions answered by us

In which direction should you drive the Road to Hana?

The typical direction is from Paia to Hana.

The disadvantage of this route may be that the side of the road used is more crowded than the other. However, it is not correct to say that you "escape the traffic" if you take the route from Hana to Paia.

On the contrary, if you drive the route in this direction (from Hana to Paia), you will encounter many more vehicles along the many hairpin curves on the way there and back, which you have to avoid. Driving in narrow passages is thus made more difficult and the traffic risk increases.

Another disadvantage of driving the route "the other way around" is that you are on the side facing the ocean. In order to get to the sights, it is often necessary to change sides of the road with heavy oncoming traffic.

Our recommendation is therefore to choose the typical route and swim relaxed "with the flow" from Paia to Hana. The way is the goal!

However, a real tip to avoid some traffic on the way there is to choose your departure time as early as possible and, if in doubt, plan stops like Paia and Ho'okipa Beach Park for another vacation day. (Or end the evening there after the return trip).

You still have questions?

We answer them for you!

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