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Road to Hana

Whoever said it is not the destination but the journey, must of been thinking of the road to Hana. The road is narrow, winding and can be dangerous to drive. The key to enjoying this journey is to slow down, bring lots of water and snacks and be ready to hike away from the road once in a while. Some people we saw seemed so focused on getting to Hana that they didn't enjoy the sights on the way and when they got to the end of the trip were disappointed. I would suggest getting out of the car frequently to walk around. If you are prone to car sickness (even a little bit) take some dramamine (and bring some extra). Also, start out in the morning or make reservations to stay the night at Hana and drive back the next day. If you want to swim, forget about the ocean and dive into the pools below the waterfalls as the surf on the north and east sides of Maui is pretty rough almost everywhere. I would suggest to buy a CD guide, but to certainly get out of the car more than it suggests. The attractions below should be in the order you enconter them on your way to Hana.


Paia should be your first stop for fuel and for food (if you don't already have it) on the road to Hana. A nice place for breakfast is Ho‘okipa Beach Park where you can watch the early morning surfers and windsurfers.

Puohokamoa Falls

Actually three waterfalls. The first and second are pretty similar and only around 20 feet tall, but still nice. The third (less than a 10 minute hike or so upstream is about 200 feet tall. The best view of the waterfalls is from Puohokamoa Falls Lookout.

Haipua'ena Falls

There are actually two waterfalls here one quite close to the road that dumps into a pool and one farther up a trail. We found the hike quite challenging, so I would say it should only be attempted by the experienced and prepared!

Kaumahina State Wayside Park

This is a nice little park with some interesting plants a good view of the coastline and some trails leading to the ocean and to an overlook. There are covered picnic facilities and most notably, a porta potty.

Ke'anae Arboretum

Here is a definate place to get out and stretch your legs a short hike (~1/2 mile one-way) through a botanical garden which details native and introduced plants of Hawaii in a natural setting. I would suggest to put on the insect repellant before you go here as we encounter a lot of bugs. Hiking through the huge bamboo trees was a little surreal for someone who grew up in Iowa...

Ke'anae Peninsula

The shore here is quite interesting with eroded lave spikes and quite rough. This area is one of the most active areas for growing taro in the state of Hawaii. There is a small village which is interesting and a church built in 1856, which is the only building on the Peninsula to survive the 1946 tsunami.

Ke'anae Lookout

There is a nice view of the shoreline and the village from here.

Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park

This is a nice place to stop for a snack and to walk around. The trail head is across from the parking lot and will lead you to several waterfalls and pools that are nice for swimming. The trail winds near one of the falls and is kind of slippery, so be careful!

Helele'ike'oha Falls

These falls are sometimes referred to a Blue Angel Falls (I don't know why). There is a trail leading down to the ocean and the falls are just a few feet from the ocean. If you go swimming here, use caution as we saw someone fall on the slippery rocks trying to exit the pool.

Wai'anapanapa State Park

This is a 122-acre state park with a nice looking black sand beach, sea caves, stone arch, hiking trails, and remnants of the first road built to Hana. The beach looks great (you have probably seen it on calendars before), but the surf was pretty rough and there was a really strong rip tide pulling you back out, so we didn't go in very far. There are enough trails and interesting things to see to keep your interest.

Hana Bay

Fairly safe swimming here, but avoid going out to far (beyond the lighthouse) as the currents are pretty strong. Probably one of the few places on the east or north side of the island for good swimming.

(after Hana)

Koki Beach

Interesting sea arch. I wouldn't suggest the beach for swimming as the currents seemed pretty strong, but there seemed to be good surfing.

Hamoa Beach

Adjacent to the Hotel Hana Maui. Nice beach surrounded by vegetation, but a bit of a hike from parking on the road (none near the beach). One caution is that there are NO protecting reefs here and the surf can get pretty high. Caution is advised.

Wailua Falls

Definately the coolest waterfall (depending on the water level it is either one or two falls) you will see on your trip at about 80 feet. If they look familiar, then you probably saw them on the opening credits to the show Fantasy Island. There is a trail leading down to the pool (again slippery), but worth it to cool off.

Ohe'o Gulch (7 pools)

There may be more or less pools depending on the rainfall in this area. You will be entering the Haleakala National Park here and there are many things to see in the numerous trails around the pools. It seemed to get a little busy after lunch as more people came in to cool off.

Pipiwai Trial

The Hana area has pretty good hiking, and one trail to definately check out is the Pipiwai Trail which takes about 3-4 hours round trip. The trail will allow you to see the Makahiku Falls, the Infinity Pool and the Waimoku Falls (almost 400 feet!). The trail starts near the Ohe'o Gulch bridge.

Charles Lindbergh's Grave

Just south of the seven pools is the grave of the famous aviator Charles Lindberg who died here in 1974. Now it is time to turn around and retrace the road to Hana, unless you have a four wheel drive with a lot of clearance to make it on the south road. If you are thinking of doing this with your rental car, then check the contract. Most insurance coverage is void if you drive on this road! 2005. All Rights Reserved.