EXPLORE: Maui – The Road to Hana and Beyond
When in Maui, most people attempt the Road to Hana with few making it to Hana and even less making it beyond. I was determined and did the entire trip! But what’s the big deal with the Road to Hana? It is 52 miles of narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns, and incredible island views. The Hana Highway has 620 curves with 59 bridges and takes hours to complete but it is an amazing adventure that is different for each explorer. With so many fruit stands, water falls, beaches, scenes, and stops no one can possibly have the same adventure! Read on to see what all I did on the Road to Hana…
We set out early in the morning from Kihei, grabbed some breakfast in Kahului, and were on our way! I had planned out stops before hand of the places I wanted to see but after leaving all the papers at the condo in Kihei we just went with what the day presented!
1. Ho’okipa Beach Park
Ho’okipa Beach Park is loacted at Mile Marker 8.8. Surfing, beach, picnics, and turtles can all be found here! I don’t know much about surfing but this location seemed to have lots of surfers and a lot of waves! The beach was beautiful and there were picnic tables with a great view. The turtles can be seen resting on the beach throughout the day. I didn’t see any on my first visit which was early in the morning. My second visit the next day was at around 3:30PM and I was lucky enough to see turtles. It was raining and while most people would shy away from the weather, I saw it as an opportunity to view the turtles uninterrupted. I was alone on the beach with over 25 magnificent sea turtles! Amazing.
2. Twin Falls
Twin Falls is located at Mile Marker 2.1. This is the first easily accessible spot for waterfalls and pools on the Road to Hana. This stop has a fun snack stand and I got to cross an item off my Maui To Do List: Drink out of a coconut! The pathway is an easy walk and I got a kick out of the resident cat, Coconut, but I was wishing for some bug spray here. You might consider taking some with you just in case you need it.
3. Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park is located at Mile Marker 22.6. This park features a small waterfall and pool. This stop has adequate parking, bathrooms, and picnic tables. There are a lot of stops on the Road to Hana that are more spectacular but this is a good spot to take a break because of the amenities.
4. Wai’anapanapa State Park
The Black Sand Beach is located at Mile Marker 32. There’s more than just the Black Sand Beach at Wai’anapanapa, which is actually a mixture of rocks, pebbles, and sand. There are trails, a cave, a lava tube, a blow hole, and beautiful views. I saw the blow hole, the cave, and the beach. This stop was probably the longest because of all the sights to see. Be sure to take or hide your things as vehicle break-ins are reportedly common.
5. Hana – Barefoot Cafe
Hana! We made it! When we got to Hana we were super hungry. We ate at Barefoot Cafe, which is actually more of an order window with a patio and chairs. The fish and chips plate was pretty good! We took a moment in the shade to eat our lunch and relax a little bit before heading off to the next stop.
6. Red Sand Beach
The Red Sand Beach is not marked by a mile marker but is located in Hana. I had heard that the Red Sand Beach was tricky to get to but worth it and wanted to see for myself. We parked on the side of the road by a yellow gate and watched the tree line for people exiting and entering the trail. The entrance was easy enough to find and while the trail was not easy it was easier than I imagined. The main safety threat on the trail was actually other people who would walk past you or not wait for you to safely stop before they proceeded. This trail is on the side of a cliff and if you fall, well, nice knowing you. However, the beach is absolutely beautiful! My photos above are not photoshopped! I’m so glad I took the risk to see this beach.
PS – I wore my hiking boots. I saw a lot of people in flip-flops and I think they’re insane for doing this trail in $2 Walmart specials.
7. South Wailua Falls
South Wailua Falls is located at Mile Marker 44.8. When we rounded one of the 620 curves on the Road to Hana we saw this beauty to the right. The falls are tall and impressive with lush foliage as you can see from this instagram picture. This was a fantastic stop as there was ample parking just past the falls on the left and a breathtaking view from the bridge. This stop does require some caution as the falls are best seen from the one lane bridge which is servicing traffic.
8. Pools of ‘Ohe’o (Seven Sacred Pools)
The Pools of ‘Ohe’o are located at Mile Marker 42 (Markers descend after Hana). The cost to enter the park is $10 unless you have a National Parks Membership. The Palikea and Pipiwai Streams are the source of water for all of the falls in this area and start about two miles inland. These streams join together and make a line of pools along the ‘Ohe’o Gulch, which is where you will see the Seven Sacred Pools. The pools vary depending on rain fall and season. This park has some easy to walk trails down to the pools as well as some amazing hiking. This is also a good spot for a restroom break!
9. Palapala Ho’omau Church
The Palapala Ho’omau Church is located at Mile Marker 40.9, almost immediately to the left after you leave the Seven Sacred Pools. This quaint little church is the site of Charles Lindbergh’s Grave which overlooks the ocean. Sam Pryor, friend of Lindbergh and Pan Am executive, and his six beloved monkeys are also buried in this cemetery. The six tiny headstones are those of Pryor’s gibbons. The graveyard is small yet beautiful to see.
10. Shaved Ice
This was a random stop and I had no clue where I was! I wanted shaved ice on the Road to Hana and this stop was the absolute last one. Talk about procrastinating! I had the pineapple shaved ice and got to see a rainbow over the road from which we came. So glad we made a stop here as it was a lovely surprise!
11. The Back Side of Haleakala
If you really want to experience the unexpected beauty of Maui, get to the backside of Haleakala. The road is bumpy but is by no means as treacherous as the rumors make it out to be. While stopped for shaved ice I saw a Mustang convertible roll by! Be advised that if you get out there you are pretty much alone and on your own. The cliffside views are simply beautiful and the rugged landscape is lovely in an entirely different way than the rest of the island. Not many people experience this part of the island but I recommend it for photographers and adventurers alike.
As the sun went down, we continued on around the island and back to Kihei. I may or may not have fallen asleep to the sound of an evening shower while riding in the backseat of the Jeep.
And that was my day on the Road to Hana! Have you completed the Road to Hana? What were your favorite stops? Also, let me know if I can answer any questions for you! Mahalo!