The Best Sites on the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii (with maps)

How to Drive along the Road to Hana

One of our favorite things to do in Maui is drive the Road to Hana. The road, also known as Hana Highway, stretches around the East coast of Maui entering through the town of Paia. We've driven around both ways. The rental car companies advise you not to come "the back way" to prevent wear and tear on the unpaved, rocky, jagged roads.

 

Before you Begin

Print or save this in your notes, or something you can access offline, at some points the cell service is enough to make a call (sometimes there is "no service" available) but too low to access the internet.

Here is a map that coincides with all stops listed below that you can turn on and save to your google maps: Click here

When getting your rental car, grab a tour guide with a map in the back and map out about 6 stops. We have more stops below, but you can't do all of these in one day. We highly recommend to stop at the following and amount of time you should spend: 

  1. Coconut Glen's ice cream (15 mins)
  2. Lava Tubes (30 mins)
  3. Black Sand Beach (30 mins)
  4. Red Sand Beach (30 mins)
  5. Haleakala National Park (2 hours - if you do the long hike)

Make sure you bring water (especially for the hike) and snacks for the car. Go for a swim! Don't forget to bring towels, swimsuits, sunscreen.

Start early and come back before dark, the roads aren't well lit at night. Jeeps are the best. Total drive time is about 5 hours driving to Haleakala National Park and back. Of course, with so many amazing stops, it doesn't seem that long!

I also used these sites to guide us along the highway:

Halfway to Hana - Wandering Jokas Travel Blog

It rains more often on Hana Highway, make sure you check the latest Road Closures before you head out. 

Before you even start, the Halfway to Hana stand has great banana bread, if you want to give it a try!

 

 


BEST SIGHTS TO SEE ON THE ROAD TO HANA:

The numbers below represent the mile marker on the road to Hana (they are markers you'll see along the side of the road). 

#2 Twin Falls

Twin Falls

Twin Falls

Park in the lot and you can hike down to the falls. If you keep to the left split you'll find Ho’olawa li’ili’i, if you head up to the top, there is another waterfall Ho’olawa nui.

The Twin Falls have split waterfalls and a rope was put in between them so you can swing into the water! Many people love to swim here during the day, the water is pretty cold, though!  

Parking: Has a small parking lot, or you can park along the road. Make sure you turn in your mirrors, those roads are narrow and we've seen them get knocked off! Don't let it happen to you. They also have a snack stand and porta-potties.


Rainbow Eucalyptus

Rainbow Eucalyptus

#7 Rainbow Eucalyptus 

Provided by Wikipedia.com

Provided by Wikipedia.com

The largest grove of rainbow eucalyptus is located near mile marker 7. They can be seen along the Highway but these beautiful trees are scattered throughout the drive. Some other locations include the Ke’anae Arboretum and some areas right before Hana town.  

Per wikipedia: Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones. The previous season’s bark peels off in strips to reveal a brightly colored new bark below. The peeling process results in vertical streaks of red, orange, green, blue, and gray. The colours of the bark are not as intense outside the tree's native range.

The bark on the trees are bright colors  no need to stop, but look out for the alongside the road.


Upper Waikani Falls - 3 Bear Falls

Upper Waikani Falls - 3 Bear Falls

#19 Upper Waikani Falls - 3 Bear Falls

 You can see from driving along the road (pictured above). There are so many waterfalls, I don't think this one is worthy of an actual stop. 

Parking: There are spots to pull over on the side of the road.


#27 1/2 Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream

Organic, vegan ice cream made with coconut milk. I was skeptical of the words "vegan" and "coconut milk" but it was quite delicious. Also, they serve their ice cream in coconut shells! We went here on our way back, just note their hours when you go. 

Parking: Has a parking lot.


#31 Lava Tubes or Ka'leleku Cave

Just past mile marker 31, turn left onto Ulaino Road. Drive 0.4 miles to the “Hana Lave Tube” visitor center entrance. The entry fee is $12 (bring cash) and you are providing a quick overview with a map and a flashlight.

The tube is about 1/3 mile long, formed when massive lava flows cool off on the surface, creating an insulating conduit with lave flowing underneath. During eruptions the cave served as a channel for the lava to travel along underground until it reached the ocean.

In the tubes, you will find lavacicles, stalacites, and a few skylights along the way. We spent about 30 minutes to the end and back.

Above ground, there is a maze full of ti plants (a maroon color) that you can try out!

Parking: There is a parking lot.


#32 Waianapanapa State Wayside Park - Black Sand Beach

This is the main black sand beach with a few sea caves to explore. There are a couple of paths that you can get a little hike and take a moment to stretch your legs! 

Parking: There is a parking lot and bathrooms!


Hana Town

Hana Town stretches a few miles and here are some sites you can't miss!

 

#50 Hamoa Beach 

One of Hawaii's most spectacular beaches hidden on the beautiful Koki Peninsula.

Drive south on Hana Hwy. Drive past Hana and turn left on Haneoo Road which your drive along through a neighborhood until you see the ocean and an area with cars parked along the road. Park and walk down the hill to the beach

Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach

 

Lunch @ Hana Ranch

Address: 5670 Hana Hwy, Hana, HI 96713

The Hana Ranch Burger Food Truck is located on this cute ranch serving delicious burgers and smoothies. Also, this might be a good restroom stop, they have porta-potties in the back.

Parking: There is a parking lot.

Hana Ranch Food Truck

Hana Ranch Food Truck

 

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach:

A gorgeous private red sand cove that requires a quick steep hike. Some parts of the hike are very narrow, take it slow and easy, be mindful of where you are stepping. Also, this can be a nude beach, everyone was fully clothed when we went.

  • How To Find Red Sand Beach:
    • There aren't any signs to guide you to the beach, so here are step by step directions (see map below):
      1. Heading South on Hana Hwy make a left onto Hauoli Road.
      2. We parked in front of the Hana Youth Center on Uakea Road - 5091 Uakea Rd, Hana, HI 96713
      3. From the Youth Center, walk South on Uakea Road to a small field on your left side. Go across the field and look for a trail - many have caught onto this path.
      4. Head down towards the water and after you make it down a steep incline, take the path on your left that goes up and wraps around to the Red Sand Cove on the other side.
      5. The trail is covered with pine needles and is slippery (I slipped), and there are several points where a slip could result in catastrophe. I highly recommend wearing sneakers to get up and over, but have your flip flops ready for the red sand! 
Step-by-step Path to the Red Sand Beach

Step-by-step Path to the Red Sand Beach

KaihaluluRed Sand Beach

KaihaluluRed Sand Beach


#41 Haleakala National park - Kipahulu 

Continuing past Hana you will find the entrance for Haleakala National park to the Kipahulu Visitor Center. There is a lot to do here, it was a better visit when we went the non-traditional, back way Road to Hana. Here you can stop for a few hikes, including one to Waimoku Falls (if you are up for it and have enough daylight) or a visit to the Seven Sacred Pools.

Haleakala National Park site has all info regarding closures as well as hiking trail maps: Click Here

We opted to hike the Pipiwai Trail, which is a 4 mile roundtrip hike through the bamboo forests, ending at the falls.

Pipiwai Trail - Bamboo Forest

Pipiwai Trail - Bamboo Forest

I would consider this a more advanced hike as the terrain varies wildly filled with stunning sites and you spend some part of it walking through thick bamboo forest (Pipiwai Trail through Bamboo Forest). I loved the sound of the bamboo stems hitting each other in the wind.

Waimoku Falls - Haleakala National Park

Waimoku Falls - Haleakala National Park

Once we arrived towards the end of the bamboo forest there was closed sign due to the fallen trees along the trail ahead. Apparently if you get caught you get a $100 fine but EVERYONE was doing it. Sometimes a ranger patrols the post to prevent people from passing.

There were a few places where you had to cross streams and jump onto rocks, but that just added to my "adventurous" life status.  At the end you'll stand in front of a huge 400ft waterfall that is Waimoku Falls.


#42 'Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) - in Haleakala National Park

Around mile marker 42, look real quick to catch a glimpse of ‘Ohe‘o Gulch, a cleft in the island that has layered pools and numerous waterfalls on the east end of Haleakala National Park. Enter through Haleakala National park to the Kipahulu Visitor Center and take the Kuloa Point Loop trail to hike down to them. The few times we've made it here always fell after a rainstorm which was great for the waterfalls, but deemed to dangerous to swim in due to rockslides.

Haleakala National Park site has all info regarding closures as well as hiking trail maps: Click Here

'Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) - in Haleakala National Park

'Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) - in Haleakala National Park


After Haleakala, we went back the way we came, stopping for ice cream halfway and then had dinner at Mama's Fish House (make a reservation ahead of time). You can continue on the road to Hana from Haleakala National Park, but the roads are very bumpy, narrow (1 lane most of the time) and unkempt.


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Best Stops Along the Road to Hana - Wandering Joaks Travel Blog