When we were researching, reading millions of things on the internet, and talking with friends, we got a pretty clear message: The Road to Hana was a don’t miss on our trip to Maui. You might read about the dangerous roads and all of the winding turns, but we really did not think it was that bad. (Although, I have heard that if you are a person who gets carsick this might feel pretty bad…). Stick with these tips and your trip should be much easier:
1) Leave early (you will need a good chunk of the day and really will not want to do the drive in the dark)
2) Bring bug spray (and sunscreen)
3) Do your research and check out which spots you might want to try. Print this out and pay close attention to the mile markers. (Do not rely on your brain to just remember!)
4) If you have shoes that are good for hiking and water – wear them. If not, you might want to buy them. I wore my Keens the whole time and Tae was super jealous.
5) I’m now a huge advocate for bringing a backpack on vacation. Seriously, we could just throw everything in there (water, towels, sunscreen, bug spray, cameras, etc. and it made hiking a breeze.
When we did the road, we actually chose to go up the back way and then come down the more traditional Road to Hana on our return. If you are reading other things, you will learn that the back way is a little trickier. There are spots of the road that are not paved and you are pretty close to cliffs for a portion of the drive. Many sites and companies will also tell you that rental cars are not permitted on this part of the road. We learned that this meant “if you break down, we are not coming to help you”. Honestly, while there are not as many stops on this part – it was just so beautiful and I am so glad that we chose this path.
Our main reason for choosing to go “backwards” was that we wanted to get to the biggest waterfall first, avoid the crowds, and have plenty of energy for the 4 mile hike. We also ended up downloading this app: Road to Hana GPS Driving Tour. It was great to have and we learned a lot about the history of Hawaii.
Here are some of our favorite stops:
There are a few thing to see here. The first (and our favorite part of the entire road) is the Pipiwai Trail and Waimoku Falls. The trail is about 2 miles and ends at the falls. Throughout the trail, there are a few other smaller water falls, a bamboo forest, and tons of beautiful scenery.
Also at this National Park are the Seven Sacred Pools. They were closed the day that we were there, so we were not able to swim in them, which was a little disappointing. But, they are still worth checking out.
I am so glad that we stopped here. There are a few things to check out: lava tubes, a black sand beach, a blow hole and our favorite was the fresh water cave. You can jump in (it is really chilly when you first jump) and even swim through to other caves (we just stayed in the one spot).
Stop for some banana bread and a ginger soda along the road. Banana bread is all over the place, but this is where we stopped. I’m honestly not sure of the milemarker for this stand, but keep your eyes open and check out the address on their website.
I so wanted to see Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees during this trip and was thrilled to find out that at milemarker 7, you can spot a group of them right off of the side of the road.
This is a fun spot to watch surfers and windsurfers along the road.
Twin falls was another bit of a hike (about 3/4 mile to the waterfall). I really enjoyed this one, because you could swim around in the pool and under the waterfall.
This town at the start (and finish) of the road is so cute. We didn’t stop here, but I wish that we had checked out the famous Mama’s Fish House.
There are dozens of other stops along the way, waterfalls that you can view from the car, breathtaking ocean views, and much much more. If you ever decide to try this – be sure and research ahead of time (and then write it all down). Cell phone service is limited for most of the road.