Meandering Maui: The Road to Hana

Recommended Time: One full day, with optional overnight

They say the journey is the destination, and nowhere have I found that to be truer than on the Road to Hana. It’s a must-do for any visit to Maui. It’s short in distance—only 42 miles—but it tests you in ways that perhaps no other stretch of American road does. The drive is a doozy one. 600+ hairpin curves and 59 bridges, more than half of which are only wide enough for one car, is enough to test the patients of the saintliest of drivers. But the rewards are plentiful. Around each curve, a new jaw-dropping view. From black-sand beaches to roadside waterfalls, the journey to Hana is a picturesque one to say the least. It’s not for the faint of heart, but should you choose to embark upon it, you’re in for an extraordinary adventure!

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Before hitting the road, download the Maui Road to Hana GPS Guide on iTunes. As you drive, it will alert you to upcoming scenic vistas, secret swimming holes, and lots of fascinating facts and history.

Make sure you get a full tank of gas before beginning you journey. Get an early start—no later than 7 a.m.! Paia is the place to go to grab a quick breakfast and your picnic lunch. Call ahead to Anthony’s Coffee Co., and pick up your healthy, fresh lunch, with a $10 refundable cooler rental.

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It doesn’t take long to get to your first suggested stop. At Mile Marker #2, you’ll find Twin Falls, a family-owned bio-diverse farm. A short, easy walk from the parking lot will get you to Lower Falls, or a one-mile hike on a slippery, but beautiful trail will get you views of the Upper Falls. Take your first dip of the day! Make sure to grab some fresh-squeezed sugarcane juice or coconut candy before getting back on the road.

A bit past Mile Market #10, stop at the Garden of Eden and Botanical Arboretum for scenes straight out of Jurassic Park—no, really! The 26 acres of trails of tropical rain forests filled with unique Hawaiian flowers were featured in the opening scene of the movie.

Waianapanapa State Park at Mile Marker #32 is the perfect place to set up that picnic lunch. With black-sand beaches, lava tubes, rock arches, and churning waves, this is classic East Maui scenery you’ll want to take some time to appreciate.

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Soon, you’ll arrive in Hana, a sleepy village with less than 1,000 permanent residents. There’s not much there, but after making the journey, you’ll want to get out at Hana Bay Beach Park. Go for a quick swim and enjoy the large, black-sand beach before continuing on past Hana.

Beach on the way to Hana

Beach on the way to Hana

You’ll want to venture just a bit farther to Mile Marker #42: ‘Ohe’o Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools. Part of Haleakala National Park, this is one of the best stops along the Road to Hana—even considered a must-see by locals! Freshwater pools cascade down into the ocean, creating perfect natural swimming pools. Ask about weather conditions before taking the short walk from the parking lot. This is a prime place for flash flooding, and you don’t want to be caught there when that happens!

Oheo Gulch.

Oheo Gulch.

After soaking in the pools, it’s time to do an about-face, and venture back to Western Maui. You can decide to make the trip over two days and spend the night near Hana. Travaasa Hana is a remote, incredibly luxurious place to say, and was voted the No. 1 resort in Hawaii by Condé Nast Traveler’s in 2011. If you choose to make the full trek in one day, aim to get back to Paia and Kahului around sunset.

Do you have any other favorite stops along the Road to Hana?

Places

Anthony's Coffee Co.

Anthony's Coffee Co., Hana Highway, Paia, HI, United States

Hana Bay Beach Park

Hāna Bay, Maui County, HI, United States

Oheo Gulch

Oheo Gulch, Hāna, HI, United States

Anthony's Coffee Co.

Anthony's Coffee Co., Hana Highway, Paia, HI, United States
http://www.anthonyscoffee.com/hana_picnic.html

Hana Bay Beach Park

Hāna Bay, Maui County, HI, United States

Oheo Gulch

Oheo Gulch, Hāna, HI, United States

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