The Ultimate Guide To Road To Hana
Road To Hana, featuring unfathomably beautiful nature, is truly the "Road to Heaven!"
Road To Hana, a winding scenic drive meandering through the east coast of Maui, is one of the most scenic coastal drives on the planet and a must-do on the island of Maui!
Road To Hana, officially the sixty-five miles long Hana Highway connecting the town of Kahului in Central Maui to the city of Hana in East Maui, features a picturesque coastline lined with rainforests, several stunning waterfalls, lush gardens, lava tubes, and white, red, and black sand beaches! Though the drive can be challenging with several hairpin turns and narrow bridges, the Road To Hana is undeniably the most popular attraction on the island of Maui, and if you were to see only one thing in Maui, it has to be The Road To Hana!
Maui, the second-largest island of the eight Hawaiian islands – The Big Island of Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, & Kahoolawe, is a world of beautiful nature with five distinct regions – South Maui, Upcountry Maui, East Maui, Central Maui, and West Maui, featuring a diverse landscape and plethora of outdoor activities. However, the Road to Hana in East Maui is unquestionably the star of Maui, as it features everything that you could possibly see in the whole of Maui, including beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, and coastal vistas, in a single scenic drive!
Road to Hana is a must-do in Maui but is recommended only for experienced drivers, and others may use one of the several tour companies offering guided tours of Road To Hana!
Driving and exploring the several attractions along the Road To Hana at your own pace is definitely the best way to enjoy the fascinating nature along the East Coast of Maui, but Road To Hana is definitely a tricky drive comprised of approximately 600 hairpin turns, more than 50 one-lane bridges, and a several of blind spots. I would only recommend experienced drivers attempting to drive Road To Hana, and even then, one must be extremely careful, as some sections are unpaved, extremely narrow, and without any side walls or railings. If you don’t wish to drive, you could use one of many local tour companies in Maui, who offer well-narrated and well-paced tours along the Road To Hana.
Here is my ultimate guide to Road To Hana, featuring essential trip-planning information, major attractions, Road To Hana attractions map, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants in Hana!
Planning Your Road To Hana Road Trip
Start early and return before sunset, as you don’t want to be driving the Road To Hana in the dark, and if you have time, consider staying overnight in Hana!
Best Time To Visit Maui / Road To Hana: Maui, with warm weather throughout the year, is a year-round destination! However, there are two peak seasons in Maui – (1) Summer, especially June through August, when the weather is perfect and dry, and schools are on break (2) Early Winter, particularly December, during the holidays when most of the country is covered in snow, you can still enjoy warm weather, beach, and watersports in Maui. The shoulder seasons, January through May and September through November, have a wet climate but are the best time to beat the crowds in Maui. If you need more information about Maui – how to get to Maui, Maui’s public transportation, parking, car rentals, and Maui Hotels, please use my Maui Travel Guide. When it comes to driving Road To Hana, I highly recommend getting an early start in the morning, between 7 AM – 8 AM, and if you’re not staying overnight in Hana, you must start your return back from Hana no later than 4 PM to ensure you don’t have to drive through the narrow winding roads in the dark.
Road To Hana Directions: Road To Hana, officially the sixty-five miles long Hana Highway, starts in Central Maui in the town of Kahului and ends in the city of Hana in East Maui. However, some of the major attractions are located a few miles ahead of Hana, including the Kipahulu District of the Haleakala National Park, Ohe’o Gulch, Pools of Ohe’o, Pipiwai Trail, and are a must-see on Road To Hana road trip. The road past Ohe’o Gulch, Highway 31, commonly referred to as the “Back Side” or “Back Road To Hana,” is an unpaved road along the west side of Maui, which ultimately meets Kahului. However, this road is pretty narrow with several exposed sections and rocky terrains and is deemed unauthorized by most car rental companies. So I recommend making a U-turn at Ohe’o Gulch and taking the same road back to Kahului.
Time Required For Road To Hana Road Trip: While Road To Hana, from Kahului in Central Maui to the city of Hana in East Maui, is just 65 miles long, but given the several attractions and the narrow winding roads, driving Road To Hana and back takes around 8 – 10 hours. While one day is enough to see all the major attractions along the drive by making brief stops, if you have time, I recommend staying overnight in the town of Hana, which will give you two days to leisurely explore all attractions and hike a couple of popular trails along the Road To Hana.
Road To Hana Driving Tips & Etiquettes: There’s hardly a scenic drive as beautiful as Road To Hana, but it’s also a tricky drive with several narrow bridges and sharp turns. However, it shouldn’t be very difficult for a seasoned driver if you follow these driving etiquettes – (1) Fill up your gas tank before leaving the town of Paia, (2) Keep your eyes on the road and not be distracted by the sights, which you should enjoy only after parking at designated parking spots, (3) Use headlights, and honk near sharp turns, honking is not considered offensive, (4) Be courteous to others and give way to the locals and fast-moving vehicles, and (5) Yield near the single-lane bridges to allow oncoming traffic to pass safely.
Road To Hana Sightseeing Tours: If you’re not a seasoned driver or would like to enjoy the scenery instead of driving, you could use one of many local tour companies in Maui that offer guided sightseeing tours along the Road To Hana, including – Road to Hana Tours, Valley Isle Excursions, and Temptation Tours. Most of the Road To Hana tours are offered in a luxury van with expansive windows, comfortable seating, onboard water & snacks, well narrated & well-paced, and stops at all major attractions.
Lodging & Dining In Hana: If you have enough time on the island of Maui, I highly recommend staying overnight at Hana, which will give you enough time to explore some of the pristine areas and hike a couple of trails. While Hana might not have many lodging options like other regions of Maui, you would still find a few decent hotels and bread & breakfasts in Hana – Hana-Maui Resort, Hana Kai Maui, and Bamboo Inn On Hana Bay. While there are not many fancy restaurants along the Road To Hana, you will find a few quaint local eateries and roadside stalls – Hana Ranch Restaurant in Hana, Huli Huli Chicken, also in Hana, Hana Pizza Company, and Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread, known to serve the best banana bread on the Road To Hana.
Best Stops Along The Road To Hana
Road To Hana Attractions Map
Officially Road To Hana, Hana Highway, starts at Kahului in central Maui and ends at the town of Hana in East Maui, but some of the best attractions and vistas on the Road To Hana lies a few miles beyond the city of Hana, and so I highly recommend going past the town of Hana to visit some of the stunning waterfalls, hiking trails and coastal vistas in the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park.
While you could definitely cover most of the popular spots along the Road To Hana in a day, but I would not recommend longer hikes as you must hit the road back before it gets too dark. However, if you have time, I would recommend staying overnight in the town of Hana, which would give you two days to explore Road To Hana and time to visit some of the pristine areas and hike a couple of popular hiking trails along the Road To Hana.
Here’re the best stops along the Road To Hana, starting at Kahului and ending in the Kipahulu District, 11 miles past the town of Hana!
Ho'okipa Beach Park
Ho’okipa Beach Park
Ho’okipa Beach Park, the first stop along the Road To Hana, about 10 miles east of Kahului in the town of Paia, is a state park featuring the gorgeous Ho’okipa Beach, a white-sand beach, a popular spot for surfing and whale watching, especially during the winter months, and the Ho’okipa Lookout located on the edge of a cliff, features spectacular coastal vistas.
Twin & Caveman Falls
Twin & Caveman Falls
Twin & Caveman Falls, located about 10 miles east of Ho’okipa Beach Park, is the first waterfall you will encounter on the Road To Hana, situated in Ho’olawa Valley in a private property, but owners are kind enough to allow visitors. There are two sections, Lower Falls, easily accessible from the parking lot, and the Caveman Falls / Upper Falls that require a short hike.
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
The Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees, located near the Mile Marker 7, about 5 miles north of Twin Falls, are unique-looking trees whose barks have naturally occurring colorful streaks, painted in various shades of green, blue, orange, & purple. These trees are also known as “rainbow gum trees,” and they get their multi-colored streaks due to the peeling of the outer bark.
Garden of Eden Arboretum
Garden of Eden Arboretum
West Maui, the more developed side of Maui, is home to the resort towns of Kapalua, Lahaina, and Kaanapali, features several gorgeous beaches – Kaanapali Beach, D.T. Fleming Beach, Hanakao’o Beach, Kapalua Beach, Launiupoko Beach, Nakalele Blowhole, many hiking trails, including Acid War Zone Trail, Waihee Ridge Trail, Mahana Ridge Trail, and whale watching tours.
Honomanu Bay Lookout, located just 2 miles east of Garden of Eden Arboretum near Mile Marker 14, is a small vista point offering spectacular views of Honomanu Bay and Ke’Anae peninsula. There are no designated parking spaces, and you have to park across the lookout, ensuring you’re not blocking any traffic, and then you can walk up to the lookout.
Ke’nae Peninsula, located near Mile Marker 13, about 3.5 miles north of Honomanu Bay, was once home to a taro-producing community, which was destroyed by the tsunami of 1946. Today the Ke’nae Peninsula is a top attraction on the Road To Hana, popularly known for its stunning coastal vistas comprised of jagged black lava rocks & gorgeous lava beaches!
Upper Waikani Falls
Upper Waikani Falls
Upper Waikani Falls, located near Mile Marker 19, just 3 miles north of Ke’nae Peninsula, is a gorgeous waterfall popularly known as “Three Bears Falls” due to the three parallel streams running down the hill. The Upper Waikani Falls is located right next to the road, but there are no nearby parking lots, and you will have to carefully park off the road and walk to the waterfalls.
Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park, located near Mile Marker 22 & 23, approximately 3 miles north of Upper Waikani Falls, is a sprawling state park featuring lush rainforests, waterfalls, swimming holes, pools, hiking trails, and picnic areas. The Pua’a Ka’a Falls Trail is one of its most popular hiking trails and is an easy half-mile hike and just takes about 30 minutes.
Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach
Wai’anapanapa State Park
Wai’anapanapa State Park, located near Mile Marker 32, approximately 10 miles northeast of Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside, is home to Maui’s popular Black Sand Beach, ocean caves, and a blow hole, and is one of the must-see places on the Road To Hana. The Black Sand Beach is undeniably the star of the park and can be easily accessed via a short walk from the parking lot.
Hamoa Beach, located near Mile Marker 51, about 4 miles past the town of Hana, is a broad, crescent-shaped golden sandy beach surrounded by lush sea cliffs and is rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in Maui! Hamoa Beach is a popular year-round spot for swimming and surfing and has street-side parking with a staircase and a short trail that leads to the beach.
Wailua Falls, located approximately 5 miles from Hamoa Beach and about 8 miles from the town of Hana, is a stunning 80-feet tall roadside waterfall with a plunge pool at the base of the waterfall. However, unlike other roadside waterfalls, Wailua Falls has ample parking and is one of the most photographed waterfalls on the island of Maui.
The Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, approximately 4 miles from Wailua Falls & 11 miles from Hana, is the last stop on the Road To Hana and is home to two of the most popular attractions of the island of Maui – Pools of Oheo, also called the Seven Sacred Pools fed by a waterfall, and Pipiwai Trail, Maui’s most famous hike through rainforest & bamboo forest.
Other Hawaii Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Road To Hana, and I hope this will help you plan your Road To Hana trip. You can find other Hawaii attractions in my Hawaii Travel Guide.
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