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The Best Stops on Road to Hana, Maui

The Road to Hana on Maui Island is considered one of the most scenic and, at the same time, one of the most dangerous and thrilling roads in the United States. Driving this road is a real adventure, as it is not a destination. It’s a journey. How to plan a perfect Road to Hana Itinerary to have an unforgettable but safe trip? What are the best stops on the Road to Hana? Check out our detailed guide, mile by mile, with many tips and information.

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Best Stops on Road to Hana: bird view of the bend waterfalls and lush forest form the drone.
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Update: We are shocked by the tragedy that has affected Maui in the last few days of August 2023. We deeply sympathize with the victims of the catastrophic wildfires, all those who lost their loved ones and possessions due to the tragedy. Some of the tips below may be outdated at the moment. If you are planning any trips, check the local guidelines first.

Important Facts About the Road to Hana Before You Hit the Road

What is the Hana Highway?

The Hana Highway is better known as The Road to Hana or the Divorce Highway. It’s a great, narrow road through the lush, tropical rainforest on Maui Island, Hawaii. It’s an iconic trip, worth your effort.

The Road to Hana connects Kahului to the town of Hana in east Maui. Road to Hana winds like serpentine over 59 bridges through the tropical foliage with breathtaking views of sheer cliffs, turquoise seas, waterfalls galore, and black sand beaches.

There are 620 curves on this road, which makes this trip thrilling! For us, Road to Hana was the most exciting adventure besides the whale watching tour in Maui. It’s worth adding Road to Hana to your Maui itinerary.

Chris and I rented a jeep to to this trip. We share our photos, tips, and insights from our 2-day trip via Road to Hana.

How Long is the Road to Hana?

The Road to Hana (Hana Highway) is 64.4 miles (103.6 km) long. It includes Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 and connects Kahului (Maui’s largest city and home to the airport) with the small town of Hana in East Maui. However, driving without stops one way takes at least 2.5-3 hours.

It takes so long to move because the road is very narrow. It climbs uphill and has many dangerous turns. In its 64 miles, you climb around 4,700 ft above sea level. Navigating the Road to Hana is a challenge even for an experienced driver, so it is worth preparing for it well. We will tell you how to do it.

There is no point in taking this road without stops as Road to Hana has many breathtaking places worth seeing. We share with you the best stops on Road to Hana you can’t miss during your trip.

Road to Hana: the jungle and waterfalls from the drone.
Best Stops on Road to Hana: black beach

When was the Road to Hana Built?

Built of the 64.4-mile Road to Hana was started in the 1800s but not officially opened until 1926. It was fully paved in the 1980s.

Where does the Road to Hana Start and End?

The Road to Hana starts in Kahului and ends in Kaupo on Maui (a bit behind Hana). From Kahului to Hana is 52 miles one way. Behind Hana, you experience the wild, beautiful backside of Haleakala National Park.

However, as the starting point, it is usually recognized town of Paia, where the most exciting attractions of Road to Hana begin. The Road to Hana ends a bit past Hana. It is called Haleakala’s Back Side.

Paia: art shop.
Paia: gift shop.
Paia: gift shop with clothing and jewlery.

Why is the Road to Hana called the Divorce Highway?

The Hana Highway is narrow and windy. What’s more, there are about 620 curves and 59 bridges, 46 of which are one-lane bridges. Driving this route requires not only skill but also patience. If you plan the Road to Hana itinerary wrong, you can get stuck in a long traffic jam.

You can stand in a long line to some interesting viewpoint or wait on the passing. These situations often lead to arguments between passengers, especially young couples, used to driving on wide and fast highways. Hence, Road to Hana is humorously called the Divorce Highway.

Is the Road to Hana Dangerous?

Has anyone ever died on the Road to Hana? Unfortunately, there have been tragic accidents ending by death on Road to Hana. But if you are an experienced driver, you will drive with caution, and following the regulations, you should safely complete this scenic route. Our tips below help you prepare for this adventure. Road to Hana is paved on its entire length.

The views are breathtaking, so it might be dangerous if you pay attention to the sights instead of driving. So most important is to focus on the road and follow the rules. We tell you mile by mile the best stops on the Road to Hana, so you can take the rest on that points and enjoy the beauty of Maui.

Road to Hana on Maui: stunning cliffs and rough sea lapping against the rocks.

Can you Drive the Road to Hana in One Day?

Yes, it is possible, but it will be very strenuous and stressful, especially for the driver, and an intensive road trip. You need to book 10-12 hours for the tour to cover the entire route and stop at Road to Hana’s best stops. On your own trip, you may miss some interesting points or be unable to see all the sights because of lack of time.

And you have to be very careful to make the route back and forth to Hana. So, you have to keep an eye on the time. And it is challenging, because many places, especially beaches and waterfalls, are so unique that you want to spend at least an hour or two there, not 5 minutes. But with our tips below, it will be possible. We will advise you on how to optimize the time to do it in one day.

However, the best solution is to reserve two full days for the Road to Hana itinerary. If you donʻt have time to spend a night in Hana, choosing a guided Road to Hana tour might be the best option. It will help you maximize your time seeing all the best sights while minimizing your stress levels.

Despite the name, one of the main attractions on the Road to Hana is 10 miles beyond Hana. The Pipiwai Trail in Haleakala National Park, where you can hike through a unique bamboo forest, is worth adding to your Road to Hana itinerary. It’s also home to the fabulous Seven Sacred Pools in Oheo Gulch.

In our opinion, it’s best to allow at least two days for the Road to Hana itinerary and rent an off-road vehicle to reach the most challenging but breathtaking stops.

sharp turn on Road to Hana
Hana Highway during foggy morning.

Is it Safe to Drive the Road to Hana at Night?

Driving Hana Highway is not recommended by night. Local authorities also advise against driving at night. Driving Road to Hana at night can be very dangerous. At night, apart from the fact that it is dark, there is often dense fog on the road, and the road surface gets very slippery.

So, if you have only one day for your trip, you should start it early in the morning, about 6-7 am. That’s why it’s best to stay overnight in Hana and continue your journey the next day.

waterfalls on road to Hana and lush jungle

Can you drive the Hana Highway with Kids?

It is, of course, only your decision. Kids will indeed have a fantastic adventure. But make sure they don’t have motion sickness as it does happen on this route due to the many bends. Pack your travel sickness pills just in case.

Is the Road to Hana worth it?

Yes definitely. The Road to Hana trip is outstanding and well worth your time, effort, and money. But it can also be very tiring and irritating, especially for the driver. Therefore, read all our tips to have a wonderful time and enjoy paradise nature.

Maui beach

Should You Self-Drive or Take a Road to Hana Tour?

You have to answer this question yourself. If you want to stay overnight in Hana, you’ll need to drive yourself. Are you an experienced driver? Have you already traveled on other scenic but challenging routes in America, such as Highway 1 in Big Sur, Pikes Peak Highway, One Million Dollar Highway, the Top of the World Highway, and more? If you experience, check our tips below, and you will do the Road to Hana yourself, no doubt.

Road to Hana: waterfalls, lush jungle, and cars on the sharp turn.

Road to Hana Tour

But if:

  • you are a less experienced driver, not confident on narrow windy roads,
  • or you have bad days when you feel fiscally or psychically worse,
  • you are distracted, or the weather conditions are wrong,
  • you travel alone, or you are the only driver in the team, and if you feel worse, no one will replace you at the wheel,
  • or you want to just relax, and you do not want to stress because you are on vacation,
  • you want to enjoy the surrounding nature, and tropical rainforests, focus on taking a lot of amazing pictures,
  • you want to learn about the history and legends of Hawaii and want to focus on sightseeing not driving,

give up driving on Road to Hana on your own. You can consider an organized Road to Hana tour instead.

During this Full-Day Adventure with Breakfast & Lunch, you can focus on the beauty of the scenery without driving stress. You will see lush rainforests, winding roads, and breathtaking beaches. You will have enough time to take great photos and take a bath at a beach or waterfall. What’s more, you learn about the history and legends of Hawaii from your local guide. And for sure you see the best stops on the Road to Hana.

One of the reviews of this trip is: Take the tour! I was going to drive this myself, man would that have been a mistake! There is no book or word of mouth that will guide you on this road like Mahlo Tours! They know this road, the places to stop, the history, how long to stay in each spot, where to look when, how to make you feel at home! Unbelievable! Worth every penny and more, I cannot recommend this enough!

Should You Drive The Back Road to Hana?

You may also consider driving past Hana if you have more than two days for the Road to Hana itinerary and a 4×4 car. The road past Hana and ‘Ohe’ Gulch (the back part of Haleakalā National Park) along the southeast coast of Maui is known as the Back Road to Hana. Most people don’t continue on this road as its bad condition.

What’s more, some rental agencies don’t allow you to drive that road after ‘Ohe’ Gulch. So you must check the regulations before. If you are not used to driving on unpaved roads, it’s better to avoid it.

Tips Before Driving the Hana Highway

If you decide to drive the Road to Hana on your own, check our tips below to prepare well for it. Whether you have 1 or 2 days on the Road to Hana itinerary, follow the directions below to enjoy your drive and see the best sights on the road.

Rent a Good Car

Renting a car at Kahului Airport is the best way to explore Maui island, for sure. So, if you are an experienced driver and have decided to do Road to Hana on your own, you need a car. You don’t need a 4×4 if you plan to do Road to Hana go and back.

However, if you would like to reach some exciting places behind Hana (The Back Road to Hana), it’s better to have a good off-road car with high suspension and a 4-by-4 drive because the road behind Hana is tough for a while. Some rentals do not allow you to go further in a regular car than Hana.

So, better check the conditions if you want to reach the back part of Haleakala National Park, also called ‘Ohe’o Gulch.

Chris Labanowski, co-founder of the Van Escape blog, on Maui in our rented Jeep Wrangler.

Rent a small, compact car. The road is extremely narrow, and it isn’t easy to pass on it. Parking spaces are minimal, and sometimes you have to wait in a long line to park. The bigger car you rent, the more significant problems you will have on the road, and the longer you wait for a parking space where you will have a chance to fit in. So our advice – rent a small car. 4×4 would be the best. We had a small Jeep Wrangler.

While driving, obey all driving rules, drive at the speed indicated on the signs, and do not overtake in prohibited places. Also, be careful when you park and leave the parking lot. It is usually crowded, places are tight, and tourists are often reckless on the road.

Download Maui Self-Driving Road Trip App with Road to Hana Map

If you need Road to Hana map, this Maui Self-Driving Road Trip App is perfect! It’ doesn’t cost a lot, the price is affordable, and you will get a fantastic Maui road trip guide with Road to Hana map. It covers not only the Road to Hana but all of Maui! So you won’t need other maps.

The most important – is an Offline map of the entire island with turn-by-turn audio navigation, restaurant and activity recommendations. All tours are available in offline mode. Internet or data service is only needed when downloading the App.

With this App, you won’t miss any of the best stops on Road to Hana, and you will have a great trip. We highly recommend it as it’s a perfect solution and a very detailed and helpful App.

red bird on a tree on Road to Hana
jungle on Road to Hana

Fill up Your Tank Before Your Trip

Remember to fill up your tank to full in Kahului or the small town of Paia. When you leave Paia, there won’t be anywhere to fill up on the way. Gas in Paia is definitely more expensive than in Kahului.

Make a Reservation for Wai‘anapanapa State Park

The famous black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park, one of the best stops on the Road to Hana, requires a reservation. It’s a new rule. Reservations are now required for the park unless you are a Hawaii resident. You can make reservations up to 14 days in advance (this window may be extended) and no later than the day before your visit.

Make the reservation on the Go Wai‘anapanapa website. You must purchase both an entrance ticket, which is $5 per person and a parking voucher as well, which is $10 per vehicle. As visitor numbers are limited, it’s best to book as early as you can.
It’s also important to know that you must specify a time slot when you book.

Agnes Stabinska, the author, in hammock on Maui on Road to Hana.

Book Your Accommodation in Hana

If you have two days on Road to Hana itinerary, be sure to book your accommodation in Hana well in advance. The town is small, with a limited number of overnight stays. Unfortunately, the prices are also relatively high. Therefore, it is worth booking accommodation as early as possible. It is worth booking them several months in advance. Otherwise, you will only have one day to go back and forth.

A cheaper option will be accommodated at the campground at Waiʻānapanapa State Park. But also there in the peak of the season, from November to March, it isn’t easy to find a place. So book it well in advance.

There is also Kīpahulu Campground in Haleakalā National Park, past Hana.

flowers on Road to Hana
pink flower on Road to Hana

Check the Weather before you hit the Road to Hana

Be sure to check the weather forecast before a planned Road to Hana trip. Heavy storms and downpours may cause short-term floods on this route. The ground may slide down the slopes. Small showers are common, such as in tropical jungles, and are not dangerous. But if in the forecast there are violent storms or downpours, it is better not to go on this route.

Start Your Road to Hana Trip Early in the Morning

Whether you intend to book a day or two on the Road to Hana itinerary, start your tour early in the morning. 6 am – 7 am is a good time to go on tour. Unfortunately, it is one of Maui’s most fantastic attractions. So at later hours, it will be very crowded on the road, and you will be stuck in the line to park at the best stops on the Road to Hana.

If you leave early in the morning and have one day at your disposal – you should be able to do the whole route back and forth and see the most exciting and beautiful places. Take it slow and enjoy the ride. The biggest crowd is on weekends so if you can go on a trip during the week.

Suppose you have two days on Road to Hana itinerary. In that case, you are the winner because you will be able to enjoy the longer beauty of nature, tropical rainforests, beaches, waterfalls, and you will be able to rest longer in each of these magical places.

Before you start driving eat breakfast! At these bends, it’s better not to have an empty stomach. And if you are prone to motion sickness, be sure to take tablets before driving.

Paia: surf store.
Paia: Mama's fish house restaurant.

Pack Snacks and Drinks

Pack some travel snacks, drinks, energizing drinks, and travel sickness pills just in case. Don’t forget to pack more water than you need. Along the way, there are very cool places where you can eat delicious local specialties. Below we point them.

However, many of the food stands on the Road to Hana close early or run out of food around 2:30 p.m. But if you only have one day for the Road to Hana itinerary, you may not be able to visit those places and eat there if there are a lot of tourists. If you start your trip early in the morning, you have better odds eating lunch at one of the famous bars on the Road to Hana.

Wear Proper Shoes

It may seem funny, but good shoes are essential on this trip. Some great stops on the Road to Hana require a short hike or walk. They are not long or complicated, but often, you must walk on rocks that are mossy or slippery.

There are spectacular waterfalls along the Road to Hana, but if you want to get up close and take great pictures, wear shoes with excellent grip and waterproof protection. There have been cases of tourists who broke their leg or arm on a slippery surface because they were wearing flip-flops.

Wear sneakers or waterproof hiking sandals. We love and wear keen sandals with covered fingers. They perfectly protect the feet, have excellent soles, and have proven themselves many times in extreme conditions. And the price is quite affordable. Also, is better not to wear white shoes as there is a lot of mud and dirt.

Take Care of Your Luggage

If you have two days for your Road to Hana itinerary and plan to stay overnight in Hana, keep your luggage in the trunk during the drive. Do not leave valuables in sight in the car. Always take documents, your cards, and your money with you. We’ve heard of theft cases, but we don’t know if it’s rumors or facts. So it’s always better to be careful.

Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and a quick-drying towel. Along the way, a few unusual and perfect places for a bath. The best idea is to wear a swimsuit under your clothes as there aren’t many places to get changed.

Also, do not forget to pack a First Aid Kit with bandages and plasters in case of cuts or abrasions against rocks.

A light rain poncho may also be helpful because showers are frequent. You can also pack extra clothes in case you get wet.

Remember about high sun protection and protection against insects. The best are insect repellent with DEET. Unfortunately, mosquitoes and tiring midges can be present due to the tropical climate.

trees on Road to Hana
the sea

Don’t Forget to Pack a Camera

The Road to Hana is beautiful and genuinely photogenic. This tour will take so much time because you will want to take pictures non-stop. So, don’t forget to pack your camera. If you love waterfalls, take also a tripod. We also used Drone during this trip.

Take Some Cash for your Road to Hana Trip

In many places along the Road to Hana, it is only possible to pay in cash. So if you fancy trying some local banana bread or a fruit smoothie, take some cash. Otherwise, you may miss the local delicacies.

waterfalls in a deep jungle on Road to Hana

Respect the Locals and Their Rules

Respect all the rules on the road—also, local regulations. Obey any “no trespassing,” “private property,” or “no parking” signs along the route. Some of the sights are on private properties, so respect rules, as you are only a guest. Stay on a trail. You can get a very high fine for failing the rules on the Road to Hana.

Don’t stop in forbidden places. It is prohibited, even for one photo. Also, remember to respect nature and not to leave any garbage, not even a banana peel. Take all your rubbish with you.

Note where the Restrooms are on the Road to Hana

It’s good to check where the restrooms are, as it’s not such obvious. Don’t forget to pack toiletries, biodegradable toilet paper, refreshing wipes, and hand sanitizer.

Some toilets on the route are not famous for their cleanliness. Restrooms should be found at most locations that have food vendors, and at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Pua’a Ka’a Wayside Park, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Haleakala National Park at Pools of ‘Ohe’o Gulch.

The Best Stops on Road to Hana

Are you packed? Ready to go on a trip to Hana? Have you remembered to download this Maui App before? There is often no coverage on the Hana Highway, so download it before starting your tour.

Below are the most beautiful stops on the Road to Hana, mile by mile. For each Road to Hana stops, we have included the approximate Mile Marker (MM) located on Route 360. It is essential to know that the Mile Markers change after Hana town and count down from 51.

Our Selections of the Best Stops on the Road to Hana

If you only have one day on Road to Hana itinerary, you have to decide what stops on the road to choose from as it’s impossible to stop at each sight. What’s more not each place is worth your time. So our pick of the best places on the Road to Hana are: Twin Falls, Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees, Upper Waikani Falls, Nahiku Market Place, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Hana Town, ‘Ohe’O Gulch – Seven Sacred Pools.

If you have only one day for your Road to Hana itinerary, focus on those stops. It will take you 10-12 hours to go and back. But below, we described more places if you have two days on Road to Hana itinerary.

the river and jungle on Road to Hana

Paia – Mile Marker 0

Start your journey clockwise from Paia, where the Hana Highway begins. Driving in this direction is better for several reasons. The passenger side is on the mountainside, which is safer. The sun will not shine in your eyes. The charming town of Paia is the last place to stop for gas before beginning your journey to Hana. The main street with coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries, and surf shops is excellent for a walk.

There is also a health food supermarket, Mana Foods. What’s more, from Paia Ho’okipapa Lookout, you can get a good view of surfers on gigantic waves and many turtles on the beach below. But, if you have limited time, leave Paia for the end of your trip, and focus on nature on the Road to Hana.

Twin Falls – Mile Marker 2

Road to Hana delights with its nature, especially with waterfalls, of which there are several on the route. One of the first places to visit is Twin Falls. Around MM 2, on the right sight of the road, is a parking lot with fruit from the Twin Falls Farm Stand.

There is a short and easy walk to the Lower Falls and a bit longer and more difficult to Upper Falls. But they are not strenuous or technically challenging. But proper shoes with excellent grip are a must, as it’s easy to stumble, as rocks are wet and slippery.

Twin Falls
Twin Falls

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees – Mile Marker 6.7

One of the best Road to Hana stops is Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees, as it’s unusual to view. Be sure to add those trees shimmering with colors to your Road to Hana itinerary. The trees look like someone has painted them with rainbow-colored paints. The scenery is fantastic.

Those trees enchanted us. You will spot this painted forest near MM 7, on the left side of the road. These eucalyptus trees come from an island in the Philippines and live only in warm, humid climates. The rainbow colors come from the outer layers of bark, which slowly peel off at different rates over time, leaving this beautiful array of colors.

Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees

Hookipa Beach -Mile Marker 9

The white sand beach of Ho’okipa is one of Maui’s most popular surfing beaches and offers some of the best waves on the entire coast. It is also famous for turtle watching. Every day in the afternoon, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (Honu) come to the shore to rest and enjoy the sunset.

Waikamoi Ridge Trail – Mile Marker 9.5

This is a nice and short hike with a picnic area. It has 2 loops. One takes about 10 minutes and the other about half an hour. The Waikamoi Trail can be muddy at times, but it is a nice hike through the trees. However, in our opinion, you should skip this hike if you only have one day for your Road to Hana itinerary.

Ka Haku Smoke Shack – Mile Marker 10.2

Ka Haku Smoke Shack truly is a place where you can stop to eat Maui’s local chicken. This roadside shack, it famous for its grilled chicken plates. However, if you have limited time, you can skip this stop.

Maui Ka Haku Smoke Shack

Garden of Eden Arboretum – Mile Marker 10.5

The Garden of Eden is a family-owned arboretum. It is 26 acres of garden paradise with over 700 specimens and several waterfall lookouts and peacocks wandering the grounds. Their fame is a viewpoint of Keopuka Rock, featured in the opening scene to Jurassic Park. However, the entrance fee per adult is $15. Is it worth it? Well, if you are a garden lover, probably yes. For us, it wasn’t worth the price.

Kaumahina State Wayside Park – Mile Marker 12

Kaumahina State Wayside Park on the way to Hana has an overlook with a beautiful view of the north shore of Maui. Aside from the view, the park also has restrooms, a picnic area, and several hiking trails that wind through the forest.

Road to Hana best stops: Kaumahina State Wayside Park

Honomanu Bay – Mile Marker 14

To get to Honomanu Bay you should have a 4×4 as the road is dirty and muddy. There are a few turnoffs above the road where you can get a good photo of the bay. The rocky beach is nice and quiet, but not suitable for swimming or sunbathing. So if you are short on time and do not have an off-road vehicle, you may want to skip this spot.

Ke’anae Arboretum – Mile Marker 16

The Ke’anae Arboretum offers beautiful views and an excellent arboretum. However, the shoreline is rocky and exposed to the elements, so you will not find swimming opportunities here. Ke’anae residents grow taro, bananas, sweet potatoes, and other crops, much like their Hawaiian ancestors.

Halfway to Hana Stand – Mile Marker 17

MM 17 is a Halfway to Hana Stand. It’s worth stopping here to try some baked banana bread because it’s delicious.

Halfway to Hana Stand
Halfway to Hana Stand

Wailua Valley State Wayside and Wailua Overlook – Mile Marker 18

From the Wailua Overlook, you can admire the Wailua Valley State Wayside, a community steeped in history. You can admire views of Wailua on the ocean as well as Ko’olau Gap in the mountains.

Wailua Valley State Wayside

Upper Waikani Falls – Mile Marker 19

It’s the perfect stop! Upper Waikani Falls, also called Three Bears Falls, is a great spot on the Road to Hana. Upper Waikani Falls is a photographer’s dream. The problem is that there is enough room for 2-3 cars, but it is a no-parking zone. The line at this place is often long, but the place is very charming. Worth your stop for sure.

Upper Waikani Falls

Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park – Mile Marker 22

It’s another beautiful park. Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park offers a short hike to a waterfall and freshwater pool, as well as restrooms and a picnic area. It’s a great place to stretch your legs and cool off with a quick dip. It is one of the best stops on the Road to Hana.

Hanawi Falls – Mile Marker 24

There are at least ten waterfalls on the Road to Hana. Hanawi Falls is a nice stop along the way. So it’s worth adding it to your Road to Hana itinerary. The water at the lower falls plunges from a height of two hundred feet. The rainforests glisten in the rain that can often be seen. One of the best places to admire the splendor is the bridge over Hanawi Stream, completed in 1926.

Nahiku Market Place – Mile Marker 29

The Nahiku Ti Gallery and Coffee Shop is for sure one of the coolest and best stops on the Road to Hana. You can rest here, and it’s delicious local food. You find different stands with local cuisine, everything fresh and delicious. It’s also a great place to buy some souvenirs from the Road to Hana trip.

Nahiku Market Place
Chris on Road to Hana

Hana Lava Tube – Mile Marker 31

To get to Hana Lava Tube around the MM 31, you’ll need to turn left on ‘Ula’ino Road and drive for less than 1/2 a mile. On the left, you’ll see a building where you can get to see a huge lava tube. But it’s private property, and there is a fee – around $15 per person. For sure it will be a great attraction for kids!

The tour takes approximately 40 minutes. The Hana Lava Tube was formed about 960 years ago by molten lava rising from underground and flowing towards the sea. It is one of the most fascinating stops along the Road to Hana. But for us, it wasn’t such spectacular.

Kahanu Garden – Mile Marker 31

On the same ‘Ula’ino Road you will find the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. From here you have the only accessible view of the Pi’ilanihale Heiau, the largest temple in Hawaii. This ancient temple took hundreds of years to complete and covers 3 acres.

Wai’anapanapa State Park – Mile Marker 32

We love Wai’anapanapa State Park. In our opinion, it is one of the best stops on the Road to Hana. The Wai’anapanapa area is full of history, legends, and beautiful views. The black sand and pebbles at Pa’iloa Beach are picturesque and contrast with the blue water.

The beach is home to a pristine volcanic black sand beach formed by lava flow. In addition, there are also 2 legendary freshwater caves. They can be visited via a labyrinth cut through the Hau grove on a circular route. The caves are filled with freshwater that floats above the saltwater, which some believe was used in ancient times to prepare food or wash Kapa.

But as we mentioned in the last part of the article, you need a permit to get there. So do not forget to book a permit and add this place to your Road to Hana itinerary, because it’s worth a visit. It is also a great place to stay overnight.

Wai'anapanapa State Park with people on the black beach.

Hana Town – Mile Marker 34

You will get to Hana at mile 34. Hana is a small charming and picturesque town, located on the east side of Maui and has a population of 1,235. Hana is one of the most remote communities in Hawaii, which is part of the reason why traveling to Hana is so iconic. Time has stood still here. If you have the opportunity, stay a night in Hana, because it is a romantic place.

Hana and its environs are considered by many to be the “real Hawaii” because it has remained unchanged from the development of the rest of Hawaii. Have lunch at Paniolo Lounge and dinner at Ka’uiki Restaurant. Visit the Hana Cultural Center & Museum and swim at Hana Beach Park. See Wananalua Congregational Church in Hana.

It is best to stay here overnight and admire the following attractions for the next day.

Hana: sea shell sale.

Koki Beach – Mile Marker 51

This picturesque and charming beach is one of the favorite spots among local surfers. It’s the perfect place to relax, but offshore are strong currents here, so be careful if you decide to swim.

Hamoa Beach – Mile Marker 50

It is a beautiful beach with perfectly warm and turquoise water. The beach stretches over 1000 feet. It’s a great stop for relaxing and enjoying the bath. To get to Hamoa Beach, you need to park on the street above it and walk down a very steep hill to get here. Homoa Beach is located 2.5 miles past Hana. Turn left onto Haneoo Loop Road and drive past Koki Beach, take the stairs down to the shore.

Wailua Falls – Mile Marker 45

We enjoyed Wailua Falls, as it’s a perfect stop. Literally, on the road and along a bridge, this cascade of water is tall and fabulous. Just past the bridge is spots to park. If you decide to take a short descent hike on the slippery rocks, you can reach the base of the waterfall and plunge into the icy water. But be careful.

PRO TIP: From this point, the road becomes difficult to drive. For several miles, there were deep holes and stones in the way. Drive careful. What’s more, the rest stops below require several hikes. Therefore, it is best to take a break for the night – return to Hana and continue the journey the next day.

Wailua Falls
Road to Hana

‘Ohe’O Gulch – Seven Sacred Pools on Haleakala National Park – Mile Marker 42

A 30-minute drive past Hana is one of the most beautiful spots on Maui – Seven Sacred Pools. It’s a part of Haleakala National Park. The place is enchanting and you should spend a day or two wandering around the paradise scenery.

You’ll find great beaches, peaceful camping, and some great trails. Among the most beautiful places are the Seven Sacred Pools waterfalls, also called Ohe’O Gulch. Our separate post provides detailed info about this hike and the area, as well as more tips and photos.

This is where all Road to Hana trips usually end. Hence, the return usually begins. Three more stops below are added extra if you have more than one day or plan to tour the island around the circle.

‘Ohe’O Gulch - Seven Sacred Pools

Pipiwai Trail  on Haleakala National Park – Mile Marker 42

The Pipiwai Trail is located at the same parking lot as the ‘Ohe’O Gulch. The bamboo forest on the trail makes this place one of the best stops on the Road to Hana. Its short 4-mile and easy roundtrip hike takes about two hours to complete and starts from the same place as the trail to ‘Ohe’O Gulch.

Huialoha Church and Saint Joseph’s Church – Mile Marker 35

Huialoha Church and Saint Joseph’s Church are tiny, old buildings that stand on the wild coast of Hana. As you pass MM 35, you will see Huialoha Church. It was built on windswept cliffs in the 1850s. St. Joseph’s Church at MM 33.7 was built in 1862.

best stops on the Road to Hana: old church
best stops on the Road to Hana: old church with the sea view.

The Back Road of Hana – Backside of Maui

The small town of Kaupo is known in Maui as “the backside”. The landscape is rough and contrasts with the winding rainforest Roads of Hana. If you have a 4×4 car and your rental conditions permit it, you can continue your journey after visiting ‘Ohe’ O Gulch instead of going back the same way.

But the road behind ‘Ohe’ Gulch is damaged in places, so make sure you can go there then. If you don’t have a 4×4, it’s best to go back the same route—Road to Hana to Paia. The landscape will be different than on the Road to Hana.

The Back Road of Hana


  1. I am not able to drive so I would have to take a guided tour of the Road to hana, but I think that would still be a lovely way to enjoy the sights. As much I love the views from the falls, you are right that they are quite slippery and dangerous, I’ll be the one taking photos from afar of all the lovely nature!

  2. It is hard for us to believe we have not visited Hawaii. But we are collecting ideas for when we plan a big trip. We definitely want to explore Maui and it sounds like the road to Hana needs to be on the list. I am sure it might take us more than 3 hours with stops for the stunning views. David and I are used to driving tough roads so I think we are not at divorce risk. In fact, the drive would probably be part of the fun and we might fight over who has the wheel. Great guide for the drive.

  3. I agree that there has to be a strategy to optimize one’s time in making sure one gets to really enjoy the stops. So many spectacular views to take in! I’d be mesmerized by it and forget about the time. Thanks for the tips!

  4. This road to Hana certainly looks a great drive with all the stops to refresh oneself while exploring. I am not a regular driver and hence prefer guided tours. But do wish I could try this drive. Haleakala National Park would be a great attraction for us.

  5. Hana Road driving is interesting for sure especially Divorce highway. There are so many things to cherish in between the roads. I would love to visit this road someday and want to experience the same.

  6. Hana drive is sure quite an adventure. You have covered everything possible about the drive. Loved the details. I am amazed to know that the road has about 620 curves and 59 bridges. And, the landscapes it promises sound quite exciting. I would love to enjoy the drive with an experienced driver, of course. Thank you for introducing me to this place.

  7. That first photo actually reminds me of a road I followed in Nepal once. Such beautiful scenery. I’ve heard amazing things about Wai‘anapanapa State Park and hope to visit there one day.

  8. This is my kind of adventure! Since I travel solo I would opt for a tour. I love how it’s called the divorce highway. I can certainly see why lol

  9. My family and I, took a guided tour of the Road to Hana. It was one of our favorite memories from our trip to Hawaii. It amazes me just how much you can see on one trip.

  10. So we are headed off to Hawaii and will be visiting Maui on our trip. The Road to Hana is definitely on our travel plans. So it was great to look at the stops you recommend for our trip. Sadly we are not staying in that area so have a long drive to the start both ways. I sure hope it does not become the Divorce Highway for us! Saved this one for the day before our trip to cross check our plans.

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