The Road to Hana is a narrow, winding and mostly one-lane 52-mile drive that features some of the most spectacular sights on Maui. Before we get into my top 10 favorite spots along this world-renowned stretch of highway, here are some fun facts about the Road to Hana and tips to survive the drive.
Road to Hana Facts:
- The trip traditionally starts in Kahului and ends in Hana. (Although Jake and I started the drive from just passed the town of Paia.)
- The highway features 617 turns, 59 bridges and really only one lane.
- It is the longest rainforest highway in the U.S. with occasional travel along sheer cliffs.
- The road is 52 miles long; the average speed is 25 miles per hour.
- The Hana Highway aka the Road to Hana is also nicknamed the “Divorce Highway”.
Tips to survive the Road to Hana:
- Allot a whole day to drive to Hana (or further) and at least 2+ hours to drive back. (We drove back to Paia in the rain, which made the slippery weaving road even more dangerous.)
- Pack snacks as the several food and farm stands along the road close early or when it starts to rain heavily.
- Bring plenty of sunscreen and reapply consistently.
- Bring a rain jacket and prepare yourself for on-and-off rain potentially all day long.
- Drive slowly not only to prevent collision, but also so you don’t miss any hidden gems you’d like to explore along the way that are not mentioned in this post.
Stop 1: Twin Falls
One of the few stops along the Road to Hana with a decent amount of parking, Twin Falls features a farm stand, the Lower Falls and the Upper Falls. Unfortunately, the rain kept us from accessing the one-mile trail to the Upper Falls. Even so, the Lower Falls alone, which is just a short walk from the parking lot, was worth the stop.
Stop 2: Huelo Lookout
Located between mile marker four and five, Huelo Lookout is hard to miss but easy to drive past. Just past the farm stand and down a few steps is a picnic table where you can rest and take in the Maui vibes.
Stop 3: Wailua Valley State Wayside
A scenic stop with relatively clean restrooms, Wailua Valley State Wayside provides gorgeous views of the mountains and ocean on a clear day.
Stop 4: Pua’a Ka’a Falls
The Pua’a Ka’a falls, which empty into a swimming hole, are located at mile marker 22.
Stop 5: Nahiku Marketplace
Located at mile marker 29, the Nahiku Marketplace is a must-visit stop (if you can find a parking spot) while driving along the Road to Hana. You’ll find food stands, charming shops and galleries at this location.
Stop 6: Wai’anapanapa State Park
Don’t miss the stunning black sand beaches, lava tubes, hiking trails and unlimited photo opportunities that await you at this “glistening water” state park. (Wai’anapanapa State Park was hands-down my favorite stop along the Road to Hana.)
Stop 7: Hana Marketplace
If you missed Nahiku Marketplace because you couldn’t find a spot to park, don’t worry because the Hana Marketplace is just down the road and features tasty salads, hot sandwiches, smoothies and a larger parking lot.
Stop 8: Hamoa Beach
Once you visit, you’ll understand exactly why Hamoa Beach is considered one of Maui’s best beaches. This crescent-shaped beach with black and white sand is located just down a flight of stairs and features mostly mild waves. That said, respect the ocean and always swim with caution.
Stop 9: Wailua Falls
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll find a parking spot along the side of the road so you can adequately take a photo of the 80-foot cascading waterfall. If not, you’ll take a quick out-of-the-window shot like I did. If you manage to find a parking spot, be sure to walk the trail down to the swimming hole and stream.
Stop 10: Haiekala National Park
Ten miles past Hana town is Haiekala National Park, a popular spot along the Hana Highway. Note: entry into this national park is $25 per car. Hike the quick half-mile loop to the pools and/or the two-mile hike to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls. Along the two-mile trek to Waimoku Falls you’ll find several other photo-worthy waterfalls and streams, the legendary bamboo forest, and even a gigantic made-for-Tarzan tree.
Some additional stops along the Road to Hana:
- The Maui Garden of Eden is a beautiful arboretum. It is located at mile marker ten and requires a $15 per person entry fee.
- Hanawi Falls is a 200-foot waterfall that empties into a freshwater pool. It is located just after mile marker 24.
- The Keanae Peninsula offers jaw-dropping views of the coastline. It is located at mile marker 16.
- In addition to the above locations, there are countless gorgeous waterfalls along the Road to Hana.
Until next time,