The famous Road to Hana is a coastal road between Kahului and Hana. It is considered one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world, but to be honest, I think that’s a bit exaggerated. However, I would say that it is one of the most beautiful streets in Hawaii.
The road is almost 100 km long and with 617 hairpin bends and 56, usually single lane passable bridges, already a small challenge. You should calculate at least 3 hours of driving time one way. As the road runs along countless photo spots, waterfalls and dream beaches, I would rather calculate a complete day. If you live in Lahaina, for example, you should leave not later than 8 am to make all the sights. Of course, you can also book a night in Hana, then you will have a little more time for everything.
In my opinion, you miss a lot when you turn around in Hana and drive back. My personal highlights of the track can only be found after Hana!
The road to Hana really starts in the small hippie town Paia, which is also the last one with a petrol station. I liked Paia very much and it was almost a pity that we did not have enough time to stroll around. The place offers some good opportunities to buy food, which we gratefully accepted.
Twin Falls (Mile Marker 2)
The first attraction after leaving Paia are the so-called Twin Falls. If I were driving the route again, I would skip these waterfalls. Although the Twin Falls are easy and quick to reach, they were overcrowded and therefore not very idyllic. In addition, I found them disappointingly small and unspectacular – especially considering that there are endless beautiful and spectacular waterfalls in Hawaii.
Upper Waikani Falls (Mile Marker 19)
The Upper Waikani Falls do not cost a lot of time because they can be seen directly from the car. If you want, you can also go down to the waterfalls.
Hanawi Falls (Mile Marker 24)
The Hanawi Falls (photo in the header of this post) can also be seen directly from the car. We went to the water here and thought about swimming. But after I had dipped my foot in the icy-cold water, I changed my mind.
Nahiku Marketplace (Mile Marker 29)
At first sight, the Nahiku Marketplace may seem a bit strange and run-down – well, it might be. Nevertheless, in my opinion it is worthwhile to make a small stopover and eat something.
Black Sand Beach (Mile Marker 32)
The Black Sand Beach is a must-see and you should definitely pack your bathing suites. The contrast between the blue sky, the green trees, the black sand and the turquoise water is simply unique.
Hana itself is not worth the long journey. The place, with approximately 1,235 inhabitants, is quite unspectacular. We only stopped here for a short time, ate something, charged the camera and then went on.
Red Sand Beach
Finding the Red Sand Beach is not that easy – but it’s worth the search! It is best to drive straight to the end of the dead end of Uakea Road, south of Hana Bay. There the small path to the beach begins. I recommend sturdy shoes, because the road is very uneven and sometimes a bit steep. But it takes only about 10 minutes to get to the protected bay. If the waves are too high you cannot swim, but we had no problems. The beach was pretty empty and the water calm and clear.
Venus Pool – Waioka Pond (Mile Marker 48)
This beautiful spot is not so easy to find as well. Shortly after the Mile Marker 48 you reach a small bridge. Before you reach the bridge you have to climb through the opening in the fence and then always run along the edge of the meadow and at the end keep slightly to the right. Do not worry, we also found the way without help and the effort was worth it. The small “pool” was empty and you could jump from the cliffs. In the afternoon, the locals often meet here and perform spectacular jumps.
The last highlight, or better the last highlights, are all in one place – more or less anyway. I’ve read a lot about the impressive Seven Sacred Pools before. Here we were unfortunately disappointed. Due to floods most of them were closed and we could not really see a lot.
We then went along the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Waterfall. This path was really beautiful. I especially liked the huge banyan tree and the bamboo forest. I was impressed and surprised how much bamboo grows on Maui. Also, the waterfall at the end was really nice and, in my opinion, not at all comparable to the Twin Falls from the beginning of the day.
South of Maui
On our way back we did not drive via Hana, but along the south coast. The road was very rough, especially at the beginning because the road was not paved and we had to drive very slowly. The landscape was beautiful and I actually liked it even better than the famous Road to Hana. Maybe also because it was not that crowded and we had the street all to ourselves. In my opinion, the path is well worth it.