Great Stops On The Road To Hana In Maui

Stops On The Road To Hana Maui Hawaii

Many Great Stops On The Road To Hana 

We found many great stops on the Road to Hana.  This iconic drive was high on our list of things to do on this visit to Maui.  We were glad we did our research in advance and had some idea what to expect.  And planned for some of the key stops along the way.

The Road to Hana was 52 miles long with 56 bridges and 617 curves!  It was a wild driving day.  The Road to Hana began as part of an old road that circumnavigated the island of Maui.  Initially it was a narrow path used by the ruling king to travel from village to village.  Before this path was created, the trip was done by canoe.  The existing road and bridges were created and enhanced over the years to move products from North Maui. 

Route on Maui

We were certainly glad that many improvements were done to the Road to Hana. But it was still an amazing road to drive.

Planning To Drive The Road To Hana

On our other road trips around Maui, we got some practice driving on the twisty roads of Maui.  Once off the main highway, we found the coast roads were narrow with sharp turns.  We got some early practice dealing with one lane bridges.  And the need to find space on the narrow roads for passing.

Before we picked our day for our trip to Hana, we watched the weather forecast.  The Road to Hana was not great in wet conditions.  The narrow roads got slippery and the low sections were prone to flooding and fog.  We finally picked a day with a forecast of showers later in the day.  We figured we could travel much slower back in the afternoon.  And we were amused when the rain started at almost the exact time the weather app predicted.

We knew the road trip to Hana was a long day.  Our research suggested that driving the Road to Hana took 3-4 hours.  And then there was the return trip.   Our hotel was about an hour drive from the start of the Road to Hana.  So we set an alarm and left the hotel by 7am.  We made our first stop at about mile marker 4 after 90 minutes on the road.  And finally saw the sign for the town of Hana about noon.  So our one way trip took us 5 hours (or about 4 hours from mile maker zero).

Route Details

From Hana, we continued on for about another 7 miles to Wailua Falls before we turned around.  We stopped for lunch and then drove fairly steadily back with only a few quick stops.  We left the last curvy part of the Road to Hana at about 4pm.  So the trip back was much quicker.  It was getting dark so we were very glad we turned around when we did and did not dawdle on the return trip.  We knew the twisty roads would be more difficult at night.

Advance planning ensured we enjoyed our drive with enough time for some great stops on the Road to Hana.

An Easy First Few Miles

The trip around Maui on the highway was easy.  We followed the signs that headed to Hana and to the Haleakala summit until we split off on Hwy 36 towards Hana.  We passed through the small town of Paia and slowed down as we crossed over multiple speed bumps (the larger ones were “speed tables”).  Paia looked like a good spot to explore but we had no time on this day trip.

We started on the Road to Hana at the juncture to Hwy 360.  The roads to this point had gentle turns and were easy to drive.  When we saw our first planned stop at Twin Falls we turned in.  We were in a long car  line-up just after 8am and saw what felt like a steep parking charge to hike into the falls.  We really did not want to start our experience on the Road to Hana at a crowded stop.  So we passed on Twin Falls on this trip.

When we saw the sign for the Huelo Lookout we pulled in.  There was a list of tasty snacks but we moved to the path and worked our way down the hill.  It was one of the stops on the Road to Hana for coastal views.

Huelo Lookout
Huelo Lookout - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

Driving The Twisty Road To Hana

As we continued along the Road to Hana the road quickly became the crazy driving route we expected.  The road signs warned of twisty roads and hairpin turns.  We did not ignore the suggested speeds.  

Crazy Roads

Virtually every one of the 56 bridges we crossed were single lane bridges.  The signs warned us to yield to oncoming traffic.  So typically a backlog of vehicles waited for the bridge to be clear and then the long line went slowly over the bridge.  Only once did we encounter someone who did not understand the concept and this caused a backup in both directions while he blocked the traffic.  

Crazy Roads

Much of the Highway to Hana travelled deep in the rainforest.  But at points, the road went out to the coast and hugged the shoreline. We often went by small waterfalls visible from the bridges.  But there rarely were spots to pull over. So we learned to shoot pics quickly as we drove. 

Crazy Roads - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Waterfall Sights
Waterfall Sights - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

Sometimes we found small stalls along the road with enough parking room to stop.  One time we pulled into the Hana Gold Cacao Plantation for a chocolate break.  But just as we arrived a small tour bus pulled in for a tour.  So we quickly purchased a very expensive treat and got back on our way.

Seashell Sales
Hana Gold Cacao Plantation

There were many interesting things to see and good stops on the Road to Hana.

Enjoying The Garden Of Eden And Puohokamoa Falls

When we planned our drive along the Road to Hana there were several waterfalls we wanted to see.  We knew from our research that the views of the Puohokamoa Falls were only visible from the Garden of Eden.  While there was an entrance fee to visit, we knew there was lots to enjoy on this stop just past mile marker 10.

Garden of Eden Sign - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

We followed the path through the Garden of Eden and found a parking spot at the end closest to the waterfall overlooks.  It was amusing to see a sign as we passed over “another one lane bridge”.  

Garden of Eden Sign

We followed the signs for views of the Puohokamoa Falls.  At the first stop we got a view out in the distance over the trees.  We followed the narrow hiking path down and found a spot with a bit better views.

Garden of Eden Flora - Puohokamoa Falls - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

We kept following the signs that pointed to the Lower Puohokamoa Falls.  Further off in the distance, by the Road to Hana itself we saw a view of the lower levels.  There was apparently a lookout point by the road but we missed it when we left the Garden of Eden.

Garden of Eden Flora - Puohokamoa Falls

The view of the Puohokamoa Falls was one of the great stops on the Road to Hana.

Gardens And Views From The Garden Of Eden

We wandered around the Garden of Eden for over an hour.  The path was relatively easily to walk as we moved from spot to spot.

Garden of Eden Paths
Garden of Eden Paths - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Garden of Eden Paths

The Rainbow Overlook provided a great view over the coast.  And the Keopuka Rock Overlook gave us a glimpse of the rock featured in the Jurassic Park movie.  It reminded us of the views of Kualoa Ranch (also used in the same movie) we got on our road trip around Oahu.

Garden of Eden Views - Rainbow Overlook - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Garden of Eden Views - Keopuka Rock Overlook - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

As we walked around the Garden of Eden we enjoyed the rainforest and the wide variety in the tropical plants and flowers.  

Garden of Eden Views
Garden of Eden Flora
Garden of Eden Flora - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

We planned a stop at the Garden of Eden for the views of the Puohokamoa Falls.  But we got so much more.  Our admission ticket allowed re-entry later in the day. But we were too late when we passed this spot on the way back.  We were very glad we visited the Garden of Eden early in the day.  The admission line up was long when we left.

Wandering At Pua A Kaa

We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Pua A Kaa and found a larger parking lot and washroom facilities.  After we parked we crossed the road and headed for the covered area on the hill across the street.  There was a solid path so everyone was able to get to the top for a view of the cove and the waterfalls.

Pua A Kaa
Pua A Kaa

We were easily able to get past the fence for a closer view of the waterfalls.  But many other people scrambled down for a dip right under the waterfall.

Pua A Kaa Waterfall - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

As we took the path down we got a view of the middle falls.  Crossing the bridge we backtracked for a closer view.  We finished our visit to Pua A Kaa with a view of the bottom waterfall under the bridge.  

Pua A Kaa Waterfall
Pua A Kaa Waterfall - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

Our research suggested that the views of the waterfalls at Pua A Kaa required more hiking.  While only one path was fully accessible, we had no problem catching views of all three sections of waterfalls.  

A Coffee Stop – Just In Time

We made many stops on the Road to Hana.  But we were ready for a coffee break.  When we saw the sign for the Nahiku Cafe we knew it was time to pull over.  We were amused to find a sign that said “I Survived The Hana Highway”.  Of course we posed for pictures!

Survived Sign - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

We picked up a coffee with an amazing banana loaf and got a spot on the covered patio.  And just then the skies opened up and the rain poured.  The rain arrived at almost the exact time the weather forecast predicted.

Nahiku Cafe
Nahiku Cafe Rain

We waited for a bit and debated whether we needed to turn back around.  But we were a few miles outside of Hana and we wanted to finish the drive.  

Nahiku Cafe Rain

Finally Arriving In Hana

We passed by the Hana town sign and knew we hit the end of the major section of the Hana Highway.  After we drove around town we pulled into the Hana Bay Beach Park.  Walking along the bay we saw the canoes up on the sand.

Town Sign - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Hana Bay Beach Park

We kept walking towards the point and enjoyed the view along the shore.  And when we looked back we got a small glimpse of the rainforest and mountain areas we just travelled through.  The mist still hovered over the peaks.  But we were happy the rain stopped.  

Hana Bay Beach Park - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Hana Bay Beach Park

At this point we again debated turning back.  There were several other sights on our list that were on the other side of Hana.  In the end we knew we still had time and the improved weather sealed the decision.

Going Beyond Hana To Wailua Falls

We kept driving past Hana and for awhile the roads were in pretty good shape.  But eventually the twisty and narrow roads returned.  We kept going until we saw the turnoff for Wailua Falls.  The viewpoint was close to the parking area and we got a great view of the water streaming down the rocks.  We saw people down on the rocks at the bottom but we were content with this sight from afar.

Wailua Falls - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Wailua Falls

There were several more sights if we kept going.  But we were very conscious of the time it would take to do the return drive on the Road to Hana.  And we knew the weather may again deteriorate.  So we turned around and headed back.

When we turned back we had an amazing view out over the coast.  So we took one more detour and stayed along the water until we found a parking spot.  Out on the horizon we got a view of Alau Island.  And a view down the rocky shore.  We knew this place deserved more time on a return visit.

Alau Island - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Alau Island - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii
Alau Island

When we planned our stops on the Road to Hana we knew that there were great sights beyond Hana.  But learned that required planning more time for the drive.

Experience The Road To Hana Heading Back

By this time we had our eyes peeled for a spot for lunch.  When we saw the sign for Tony’s Place we pulled in.  There was both a bbq spot and a fruit stand.  Lots of choice for lunch.  We found tables on the large grounds and enjoyed a break from driving.  

Lunch

When we got back on the road we planned to drive straight back with no stops.  We were not sure how busy the road was or when we might lose good light for driving.  We made one stop when we found a pullout with a view out over the coast.  But were curious when others at the stop headed across the road.  When we too went that way, we saw the small cave in the rocks.

Coastal View
Cave - Stops on the Road to Hana Maui Hawaii

We were sure there were still other stops on the Road to Hana that required more time.  But we made good time on the return trip and were happy when we finally hit straight roads again.

Some Tips To Successfully Drive The Road To Hana

Driving the Road to Hana was a lot of fun.  We did a lot of research before we drove the Road to Hana.  And our hotel provided us with some tips too.  So we have some input to help successfully drive the Road to Hana:

  • Check the weather and plan for it
  • Prepare your car and make sure you have full gas, engine fluids and wiper fluids. We found limited places along the route to address car needs.
  • Head out early and plan your turnaround point to ensure the return trip is done before it gets too dark. 
  • Plan for the stops on the Road to Hana.  Know what key stops are at what mile markers and use the stops as breaks from driving.  Don’t just pull over at the side of the road.
  • Drive carefully and defensively.  Always be prepared to stop and to give way. Stay with the traffic flow and don’t drive too fast or too slow.
  • Be prepared to walk on rough ground when you head to the sights or trails
  • Respect private grounds and restricted areas.  We read that hiking was prohibited at key sights. Check on all restrictions before you head out.

But being prepared ensured we got the most out of our very full day.

We Enjoyed Some Great Stops On The Road To Hana 

Driving on the Road to Hana was a real thrill.  And we had so many great stops on the Road to Hana.  We did not see everything that was on our plan.  But were happy with the choices we made.

We were very glad we turned back when we did.  But were sad we missed continuing on to the Kipahulu Pools, Ohe’o Gulch, the Seven Sacred Pools and the Waimoku Falls.  These sights were not that much further along the road.  But we did not have enough time to really enjoy these sights.  While it may be feasible to drive to Hana from the other side of Maui, it was generally not a recommended route.   It would be worth a return drive on the Road to Hana for these missed sights.    

Did you enjoy some good stops on the road to Hana on your visit to Maui?  Did we miss one of your favourite spots on the route?

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64 Comments

  1. I have heard about the Road to Hana but until now I have never read such a detailed article about it. Now I understand why so many people are dreaming of driving it, even if it’s not easy at all. Good advice to always check the weather as the rain might flood it. It’s interesting to see how cars are queuing up to cross the narrow bridges. I would love to stop at the Garden of Eden as well, it looks so beautiful! And what a shame that you couldn’t see the chocolate plantation because of the tourists. Maybe next time, a good reason to return!

    • We too read a lot about the Road to Hana before we went. We have some points marked. But it was so much more interesting to actually drive it. And even worth a return visit for things we missed.

  2. The Road to Hana appears to be exhilarating with its 617 curves. However, given the views of the surrounding greenery, it seems to be a worthwhile drive. There is no denying that Alau Island and the Garden of Eden are both stunning. Watching those cascades is also soothing.

  3. The Garden of Eden is beautiful. It reminded me of gardens in Indonesia. After all, Hawaii is a tropical island. The coastal view is amazing, it makes me want to stay longer if I go there. I will remember your tips for driving to Hana and stopping at Tony’s Place for lunch. It looks delicious!

  4. Apart from one downpour you picked a really good day for your drive, I would say. The landscape looks so lush and green – I would love to do that. And right now I am dreaming of Hawaian coffee and chocolate.

    • It was so funny when the rain came almost to the minute predicted. But luckily we were almost at the end of the trip out. And then it cleared and the rest of the afternoon was fine. All that rain is sure good for the lush vegetation.

  5. Stunning photos! One thing I wondered as I read your post, was whether there would have been a place to stay overnight near Hana or further along the road? Seems like that would have been ideal — to spread out the driving and the sightseeing into two days. I get super nervous driving on roads like that, and probably would have wanted a mental break as much as a physical break!

    • There are places to stay so you could do the trip in two days and see more of the area. We did not want to pick up and move on this trip. But I think you could easily plan to spend some time in this area. A mental and physical break would help.

  6. Man oh Man do I need to Return to Maui. The 1x I went was nearly 15+ years ago and i hardly remember it. I know we stayed in Kihei but we were there for a contest we won and though I drove a jeep around, we were essentially on the other side of an Island I knew little about so instead of going to Hana, I drove to Lahaina.
    With that said, between the waterfalls and all the food stops, this sounds like the perfect adventure for us. I love that Rainbow Overlook and all the flowers you saw.

  7. OMG I’ve been wanting to drive the Road to Hana for forever, and your photos are exactly how I imagine it. I’m used to the winding roads (thanks NZ), but these are great tips. I love the photo of David at the ‘I survived’ sign!

  8. Wow! I did not realize there are so much to see on a roadtrip to Hana. The view is amazing. It is nice that you dropped by the Garden of Eden. The Rainbow Overlook certainly provided a great view. How cool is the rock from Jurassic Park. 🙂

    By the way, appreciate all the tips. Will make sure to check the weather and the car.

    • We did a lot of reading for our Road To Hana day trip. A little advance planning helped to ensure we enjoyed so much on our day trip. But we still did not see it all. A great reason to go back.

  9. Wow, those lush sceneries are just mind-blowing. We’ve only been to Oahu and I didn’t find it that overwhelming but Maui looks really like a tropical paradise. You’ve put together such a great route. I’m sure it’s very inspiring to your readers. Too bad Hawai’i is so very far from Europe – I’d definitely would like to go back.

    • It was great to finally get Hawaii on our travel plans. We were looking forward to the outdoor experiences in Maui. So we were delighted when we found so many on the Road to Hana. Definitely a trip not to miss.

  10. I love the Road to Hana, this greenery, the sound of waterfalls, and narrow bends. It’s a great tour guide! My favorite places, as I’m a foodie, are Nahiku Cafe and Huelo Lookout. And all the waterfalls, because I love to photograph them, like Lower Puohokamoa Falls and Wailua Falls.

    • We loved all the varied experiences we got as we travelled along the Road to Hana. We would have stopped more if we had more time. But that is a great reason to do this drive more than once!

  11. The road to Hana with 56 bridges and 617 curves itself sounds exciting and adventurous for someone who is driving. I love these stops to a destination. They become more like day trips and carrying on. As someone who loves to be amidst nature, the Garden of Eden and the Puohokamoa falls would be great places to spend time. And Hana is so beautiful. Loved this virtual journey..

  12. I remember doing the Road to Hana when I went to Maui, I couldn’t enjoy it because I had a horrible sunburn on my back the day before and it was itching! Would love to revisit again whenever I go back!

  13. Wow such a thorough and well thought out article! My mom actually did visited the Road to Hana last year so I wanted to learn more about it and this was perfect!

  14. What a fascinating road trip! I’ve always been wary about driving overseas, but as long as the signs and precautions are followed, it’s definitely doable. You encountered so many great sites along the way. I loved the sign where you took pictures and the chocolate goodies purchased. Lunch looked amazing too! Great post.

  15. Wonderful wonderful! Mahalo for expressing it so perfectly. I especially liked the “tips” part. Many visitors are afraid to drive this…it’s not hard but you should be prepared. Well done!

    • We knew we could do the drive. But were well prepared when we headed out. Actually surprised that most people did ok with the drive. And loved all the great stops. Glad we got to do this in Maui.

  16. The Road To Hana is a beautiful and a spectacular views and it’s amazing to know that it has 56 bridges and 617 turns. And the charming coastal views are so heavenly. I loved the sign at the coffee shop saying ” I survived the Hana Highway”. And great to know you got to taste authentic Hana grown chocolate at Gold cacao plantation. And the path to leading to Garden of Eden is picturesque and not to miss the famous Keopuka rock from the Jurassic Park movie.

  17. I first drove the road to Hana with my husband a couple of years ago and had to do intense research like you did as well! I loved all the spots you mentioned as they were also our favorites! So glad you enjoyed the drive and took a picture to commemorate it! 🙂

  18. I have yet to travel to Maui so this is the first time I hear about the Road to Hana but I’m glad I read your post. Hawaii is such a stunning island and I get why people rave about it. Being able to see gorgeous places such as the Garden of Eden, is amazing.

  19. What a fantastic road trip with stunning views. I hate single lane bridges but this trip would absolutely be worth it and the perfect way to explore at your own pace.

    • It took some practice with the single lane bridges. And most people did really well. But it definitely was worth a challenging drive for the great stops we found on the Road to Hana.

  20. I did the road to Hana on a family trip to Maui when I was a teenager. After reading your post, I realize that there is so much I either missed or don’t remember. I definitely need to do this again as an adult. My hubby loves driving and I think he would love this. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • There were so many great stops on the Road to Hana. We surely did not do all we wanted to. But we left things for a return visit. I am sure you would love finding new spots.

  21. I’ve heard about this road before from a friend of mine, and always thought it sounded so amazing. I loved your tips and reading about your experience on the Road to Hana. For some reason I thought you needed a big 4×4 car to do this, so I was surprised to see how developed it was and that there were some sports cars. What kind of car did you have? That makes me think I could plan a trip to do this as well. Looks amazing!

    • I would say you want a smaller rather than a bigger car because the road is so narrow. We actually took our first rental car back to get a smaller one when we saw some of the roads in Maui. In most weather you don’t need a 4×4. I think everyone can drive this with a little planning and some care. Hope you do get to visit Maui and do the Road to Hana one day.

  22. I drove this road years ago and it made quite an impression! I’d love to do it again. Thanks for the great guide!

  23. Maui looks so stunning, especially the Garden of Eden! I´ve only visited the Big Island so far, but Hawaii is such an epic destination I secretly dream to return. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. There are definitely some gorgeous views to take in here while driving! I would love to take a car around the island and see some of these spots in person.

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