The quintessential road trip in Maui is the beautiful road to Hana. The road has over a dozen waterfalls, beautiful beaches, and stunning scenery. It is possible to take a road to Hana tour; however, this trip is completely doable independently but does need some confidence in driving abilities.
Don’t miss this amazing road trip as it will likely be a highlight of your vacation. Our road to Hana guide covers the 15 best places to see and some tips for driving. This all-in-one guide includes everything to know about the Road to Hana.
Content and photographs provided by Yana Kogan and Timon.
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Road to Hana Tips
- Start the Road to Hana early.
- Plan to be at the first stop of Ho’okipa before 7 am to ensure you have enough time to complete the entire journey.
- Many who make this trip to Hana drive to the National Park, and turn around to drive back. We recommend to continue to Kaupo and drive on the Piilani Highway (Route 31) back to Kahului.
- Try to make it there to see sunset by leaving the Seven Sacred Pools no later than 4:30 pm in winter and 5:30 pm in the summer.
- Be considerate of traffic, so don’t stop on bridges or park where there are “No Parking” signs and look ahead for one-lane bridges or tight areas.
- We recommend going to Ho’okipa and the Twin Falls on a separate day combined with Baldwin Beach and the historic town of Paia.
How long is the Road to Hana
Paia to Hana: 45 miles, 2 hours (driving with no stops)
Hana to Ohe’o (Seven Sacred Pools and Bamboo Forrest): 10 miles, 35 minutes
Ohe’o to Kula: 40 miles, 1 hour 45 minutes
Kula to Kahalui: 14 miles, 25 minutes
Gas on the Hana Highway
Before leaving for an epic road trip, make sure to fill up on gas as there are limited gas stations on the Hana Highway. Haiku has a couple of gas stations, and after that, the next station is in Hana. You don’t want to get stuck on the Hana Highway without gas!
If making a loop and driving around the backside of Haleakala past Volcanoes National Park, the next station after Hana is in Kula. It is only 84 miles between Haiku and Kula via Kaupo; however, with all the stops and slow driving roads make sure to fill up in Hana.
Where to Stay in Hana
Another great option is to break the road trip into two days. It’s a good idea to stay in an adorable bed and breakfast or cottage in Hana. Everything south of Hana and within Volcanoes National Park could be done on the second day, giving more time for exploring each stop and relaxing on the stunning beaches.
Heavenly Hana Paradise is a beautiful top-rated hotel in Hana that’s surrounded by lush greenery. You certainly won’t regret spending a night here during your road to Hana road trip!
15 Best Road to Hana Stops
1. Ho’okipa Beach Park
Ho’okipa Beach Park is an amazing place to spot sea turtles and watch big wave surfing. Turtles come up and sunbathe on the beach, usually arriving an hour before sunset. There is a rope in the sand to prevent overcrowding the turtles so be sure to give them some space.
If planning to take photos, a zoom lens is best, but a camera phone will still capture these beautiful creatures. This is a great stop to watch either a sunrise or sunset. And there’s a small walkway down to a lookout if you want to watch the surfers.
2. Twin Falls
Location: Mile Marker #2
This stop has not two but three waterfalls. The walk to the first two falls takes about 10 minutes, but the best waterfall is the last one, a 20-minute walk.
There are signs posted warning tourists that it is a difficult hike, but anyone who is reasonably fit should have no problem. If time allows, bring a swimsuit for a dip.
3. Kaumahina Wayside Lookout
Location: Before Mile Marker #17
This lookout is a quick stop the check out the dramatic coastline on the Hana Highway. It’s a forested rest stop with picnic tables and restrooms, and you may be able to see some exotic plants.
4. Wailua Lookout
Location: Mile Marker #19
This is another quick stop to a lookout with scenic coast views. It will be your last view of Wailua as you head to Hana.
5. Upper Waikani Falls
Location: After Mile Marker #19
There is no parking for this waterfall so it is best to drive by slowly and look at it from the car.
6. West Wailua Iki Waterfalls
Location: Mile Marker #22
This is another drive-by waterfall with parking past the bridge on the right. Be careful crossing the road.
7. Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside
Location: Mile Marker #22
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside is definitely worth a stop! It was one of our favorite waterfalls on our road trip to Hana. The scenery here is absolutely breathtaking! It’s just a short walk to the waterfalls and there is a small picnic area available.
8. Hana Lava Tube
Location: Mile Marker #31
If visiting the Big Island, it is best to skip this stop. Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island has very impressive lava tubes. It is very difficult to fit the lava tube into a full day on the road trip to Hana as it’s only open from 10:30 am until 4 pm. If there is time, it is a pretty interesting stop for those who have never seen a lava tube before.
The cost to visit the Hana Lava Tube is $15 per person.
9. Wai’anapanapa State Park
Location: Mile Marker #32
This is one of our favorite stops, but try to get here early as it tends to get very crowded. The black sand beach is absolutely stunning and great for taking photos. Make sure to check out the cave on the right side of the beach. There are a few hiking trails to explore in the park and there’s a nice picnic area available.
Note that there are entrance and parking fees, and pets are not allowed.
10. Hana BAy beach park
Hana Bay Beach Park is a good option to stop for a picnic or to take a swim in the ocean. It’s also a popular canoe spot.
11. Koki Beach
Located off of Haneo’o Road, Koki is a pretty beach that has a picnic area. This is definitely worth a stop for a quick snack and to snap some photos.
12. Hamoa Beach
Hamoa Beach is located just past Koki Beach on Haneo’o Road. This is a white sand beach that’s great for swimming and surfing.
13. Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)
Location: Mile Marker #42
The Ohe’o Gulch is known for the Seven Sacred Pools. This is a short 0.5-mile hike to the seven pools. This is part of Haleakala National Park and fees include $20 for 3 days or $25 for the year for one vehicle.
Note: Since January of 2017, the pools are closed to swimming due to landslides. It is not possible to swim in the pools but the walk still has excellent viewpoints.
14. Pipiwai Trail
Location: Mile Marker #42
The Pipiwai Trail is a beautiful and easy 4-mile hike through a bamboo forest that ends at Waimoku Falls. Allow at least 2.5-3 hours if you plan on hiking the full trail. This trail is also part of Haleakala National Park which has entrance fees.
15. Piilani Highway
A perfect way to finish an epic road trip is to continue on the road past Ohe’o on the Piilani Highway. This drive is absolutely stunning! It is a bit rugged with about 12 miles of curvy dirt roads. Driving in this area for sunset is a must.
Other Points of Interest
- Hanawai Falls: Mile Marker #24. This is a drive-by waterfall
- Makapiki Falls: Mile Marker #25. This is a drive-by waterfall.
- Hana: A good place to stop for lunch.
- Natural Arch: Mile Marker #29. It is difficult to stop for this arch but easy to see off the side of the road.
- South Wailua Waterfall: Just north of the Ohe’o Gulch, this 100-foot waterfall is good for a swim.
Tips and What to Bring on the Road to Hana Road Trip
- Leave before 7 am
- Bring lunch/water/snacks for the day
- Bring bathing suits, comfortable walking shoes
- Pack a light rain jacket as this area gets a lot of rain
- Be sure to bring sunblock and bug spray for the beach and for hiking
- Don’t forget to fill up on gas before leaving
- Make sure to Hike Pipwai Trail and see Haleakala within 3 days to only pay one fee
- Be ready to make lots of stops, and drive safely!
We hope you enjoy your road trip on the Road to Hana!
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2 thoughts on “Stops Along the Road to Hana: The Ultimate Guide”
As an East Maui resident, I ask you to please remove number 10. We do not encourage visitors to come to the Kaihalulu beach for several reasons – Culturally this is a place for traditional practices where local families go and it has become overrun with tourists, and since we have limited emergency response infrastructure and accidents happen here frequently, we put signs up to discourage people from doing this hike/beach visit, similarly to Waioka pool which gratefully you did not list – mahalo… Also reservations are required for Waianapanapa #9 now, we turn away a lot of people who don’t know that. Fyi, our business council posts info for locals and visitors at hanamaui.com
Dont park on the Road … If theres no parking? Keep moving… Do not block traffic by parking on the road… Or you will have Drama with the Hawaiians.