Driving the road to Hana is one of the most popular tourist attractions on Maui. The 53 mile stretch of road stretches over 59 bridges and 617 hairpin turns through tropical rain forest and past many waterfalls. If you choose to take the drive yourself, be sure to pick up a CD which offers a self-guided tour. Many Maui resorts will offer these through the front desk or concierge – if your resort doesn’t, get one at Walmart or one of the gas stations on your way through Kahului. If you’re a planner, you could also get one on Amazon.
Here are some tips to make your Hana adventure a great one:
Start early. Even though Hana is only 53 miles from the airport, the hairpin turns and one way bridges and the many distractions along the way will make this an all-day trip. I recommend getting to Paia by 7am.
Be prepared. Hana is a tropical rainforest. That means that it rains, so a poncho or rain jacket might be a good idea. Mosquitos can also rain on your parade, so if you plan on walking anywhere along the road, make sure you pack some repellant.
Get a self-guided tour on CD. Don’t miss all of the hidden waterfalls and other tropical treasures. The CD guides will tell you exactly where to stop the car to check out all the stuff that can’t be seen from the road.
Stock up. Stop in Paia to fill the gas tank and stock up on snacks and drinks. There are no gas stations between here and Hana.
Don’t rush. You don’t want to miss the panoramic beauty and hidden treasures. Besides, Hana is a sleepy little town with a gas station, post office and general store – it’s the journey, not the destination that you take this drive for.
The whole road is one big photo op. Waterfalls, jungle, lava rock cliffs, black sand beaches and bamboo forests line the road – perfect for the photo enthusiast.
Drive a 12 miles past Hana and visit the Oheo Gulch (sometimes referred to the Seven Sacred Pools). If you plan on hiking the Pipiwai trail at Oheo, be sure to make sure you get there by 1pm to ensure you are heading back by no later than 4:00pm.
No trespassing. Please remember that people live here. If signs are posted, keep out unless you get permission from the landowner. Some guidebooks encourage trespassing at certain places but there is no such thing.
Waterfalls. Be sure to follow the “waterfall rules”: First, if the water can fall 100 feet, so can trees and rocks – so don’t stand right under the waterfall. Second, don’t get into waterfalls or streams when it’s raining – there is often a risk of flash flooding in the area and the water can rise without warning. And finally, there is a risk of bacteria in these bodies of water, so if you have any open wounds, it’s best if you stay out – and please don’t drink the water.
Be back by sunset. Driving on this road can be tricky enough in the daylight. You don’t want to be trying it in the dark. Try to make sure that you are back on the road by 4pm to get back to Paia by sunset.