The famous road to Hana connects Kahului to the town of Hana in East Maui. It is said to have 600 hairpin curves and 60 one-lane bridges (we didn’t count) before continuing to Kipahulu as route 31. Although 100km might not seem like much, the journey is the main attraction here, not the destination. Hana is a fine place to stop for lunch but shouldn’t be your sole reason to drive out here. This drive past lush valleys bursting with waterfalls and high jungle cliffs cloaked in green hugs the coast most of the way, revealing panoramic Pacific Ocean views. Add a bamboo forest, some lava tubes, roadside foodstands and tropical flowers to the picture and you end up with the vibes that inspires Jack Johnson for his sweet melodies.
Driving the road to Hana is high on the bucketlist of many visitors to Maui. The drive is insanely gorgeous but certainly not easy. So we set our alarms early, packed some snacks, swimming stuff and hiking gear and got ready for another adventurous roadtrip. For those who don’t drive or think that just the idea of driving those windy roads is exhausting there are plenty of organised tours around here. Would you rather sit back, relax and watch all of this awesomeness from the luxury of a van with expert driver, local guide and panoramic windows? Go right ahead and book a tour so you won’t miss out on this fabulous part of the island!
Underrated by guidebooks and the first easily accessible string of waterfalls and pools on the road to Hana. We jsut wandered out of the packed parking lot to peek at the falls. Apparently there are two more, called Ho’olawa, just a small hike uphill. The water plunges from lush jungle into an emerald pool below. Watch out for flash-flooding!Na’ili’ili’haele
A great place for everyone, as you can really bite off as much adventure as you can chew here. Head downhill from the road into the bamboo, down a slippery incline and over a narrow ditch. You can just enjoy the main stream that you come across now or decide to push on. Depending on how much rain there has been, continue upstream or cross and continue up a steep hill to another waterfall.
This dramatic, half-mile long lava tube forms a peninsula that sticks out from the cliffline of Hana Highway. In 1964 the area was almost completely destroyed by a tsunami, leaving only the little church in tact. You won’t fine a sandy beach here and th ocean on this side is rough and dangerous. The waves crashing onto black lava stone with high palmtrees swaying in the wind makes for a fascinating sight.
Untouched by the major developments of the other side of the island and dangling drom the northeastern tip, the Hana community has managed to hang on to their small town and it‘s atmoshpere. Untamed Kahanu Garden contains the world’s biggest collection of breadfruit and a lava-rock structure beleived to be the largest ancient place of worship in Polynesia. The cultural center has free admission and a collection of local art and artifacts. Make sure to stop by Pranee (follow the Thai Food signs) and have one of her fresh and fantastic dishes!
The sense of suspense continues driving out of town on the serpentine road again. This picturesque waterfall is easily visible from the road,so you don’t even need to get out of your car to see it. Mauis most photographed waterfall cascades about 25 meters down the side of a lush jungle wall into a plunge pool. No hiking required, but a great place for a dip!
Pipiwai Trail (Seven Sacred Pools)
Our favourite stop of the entire trip, a small hike through a thick bamboo forest to a final tall waterfall. This trail is also known as the Hana Highway Bamboo Trail, and you can hardly call it a hike, as most of the 6.5km way is on a wooden walkway. Many more than seven pools framed by green diversity of tropical rainforest, this National Park welcomes half a million visitors per year. The bamboo forest goes on into the distance in all directions and the waterfall at the end will surely hurt your neck in awe.
The back road
If you like the road less traveled, continuing past the Kaupo and all the way around Haleakala is an adventure worth taking. In about the same amount of time as it would take you to go back the way you came, you can see a side of Maui that many visitors miss (check the map to be truly surprised by this statement) Another road that might void your car rental contract, this last bit of driving is a fitting finale to this road to Hana trip, seeing the scenery transform from lush jungle to ranchland, grassland and lavascapes. On a clear day, Hawaii island (26km away) is visible from this side! While you don’t actually need a 4×4, big parts are unpaved and the potholes are giant, so be careful!