Maui is an island for discoveries. It is rich in climates, landscapes and wildlife. I have loved exploring the entire island and you can read all about it here. But one of my favourite day excursion we did was riding the Highway to Hana. A 60-mile (90km) one-way road that will take you through lush and jungly zones. You’ll experience rain and sunshine as you stop to explore various pit stops.
Below, I’ll describe each stops we took on the highway and how long we spent in each place.
Check out the map below to follow us!
- Twin falls : The first official stop on Road to Hana! It gets busy in the mornings so I would suggest doing like we did and going a day or 2 before/after in order to take your time to enjoy.
Twin falls is a great place to explore and swim in! The twin falls themselves are really high and pretty and the walk on the way there is full of flowers and fruits. But there are also some side trails you can take to go check out different waterfalls that I believe are just as special. We spent a good 1.5 hour there as I think the trail is harder than it looks if you don’t have the adequate shoes lol. It is better to plan on wearing open toe shoes for this one as you will go through streams and tons of small rocks that would hurt your bare feet. I know I struggled haha!
- Ke’anae Arboretum : Everybody goes to Garden of Eden Arboretum and I get it, because it’s beautiful. But let me put some light on this second one, a less-known jungle trail where you can see some of the most beautiful trees such as the rainbow gumtrees. You will also see some taro fields while you walk it. We stayed there around 45 minutes. NB : Bring mosquito repellent!
- Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside : A tiny stop with waterfalls. It’s especially nice for the views on the other side. We spent probably 10 minutes there.
- Upper Waikani Falls : or 3 bears falls. You can’t really stop there or maybe just 3 minutes, because it is right on a one way turn. Make sure you won’t bother locals driving there by staying too long!
- Black Sand Beach (Wai’anapanapa State Park) : Most impressive beach I have ever seen. We got there around 9:30am and it was not crowded at all, which made it very very special to us. We stayed 45 minutes there, time to observe both beaches (there is a second tiny beach as you go further) as well as the black sand cave where you can watch the waves crash and maybe spot a few crabs!
- Hana : Hana is a quaint village and doesn’t have that much to offer. However you can grab lunch at their small market in the mountain. They make fresh pokes, sandwiches and smoothies. All delicious!
- Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu Beach) : The entrance to this beach is tricky. You will have to explore to find the trailhead. It’s almost like you have to go through a private property to reach the tiny entrance. After that, you will walk for 10 minutes along the coast until you arrive to the secluded alcove. The sand is very hot there and you might encounter naked folks as it is a nude beach :). However it’s a great place for snorkelling and sunbathing. We stayed 30 minutes because it was really warm.
- Pipiwai Trail Hike : Enter Haleakala National Park on this side. The Seven Sacred Pool trail is currently closed so the Pipiwai Trail hike might be the only one you can do while on this side of the park.
Pipiwai Trail is a fairly easy and touristy trail that starts under the sun, makes you go through shady bamboo forrest spots and ends with a magnificient high waterfall called Waikomu (400 feet – 100m). Very rewarding after 4kms (1.8 miles) of a myriad of sceneries. It took us 2 hours to do the roundtrip hike. Take lots of water and your swimsuit to enjoy the waterfall!
- Going back through Kaupo : If you have a lame car and don’t trust your driving, I would suggest you go back the same way you came through. The road is beautiful and I am sure it’s breathtaking to see it from the other side. But if you have a jeep or a midsize SUV, feel free to do this wonderful loop.
Rental car companies won’t cover you while you are on this road, hence use caution. The road to Kaupo is a small paved way (only 1 car at a time). After that you will encounter a good amount of unpaved roads that are rough on the car but the trick is to take your time, drive carefully, be mindful of wildlife and everything should be alright. After a bit, you will rejoin wonderful regular roads across lava fields, dry mountains and goats/cows in the background.
Please make sure the weather conditions are safe too. If it rained a lot in the past days or during the same day or if it is planned to storm, don’t force it and be safe!
Voilà, this is how we did Road to Hana. As usual, to each their own. We loved it that way and were alone most of the time until the afternoon at Pipiwai Trail.