The Road to Hana is a 55-mile journey into the unspoiled heart of Maui. Tracing a centuries-old path, the road begins as a well-paved highway in Kahului and ends in the tiny rustic town of Hana on the island's rain-gouged windward side. Many travelers venture beyond Hana to Oheo Gulch, where you can cool off in basalt-lined pools and waterfalls.
Despite its twists and turns, the Road to Hana is not as frightening as it might sound. The challenging part of
the road takes only an hour and a half, but you'll want to stop often and let the driver enjoy the view, too. During high season (January–March and the summer months), the Road to Hana tends to develop trains of cars, with everyone in a line of six or more driving as slowly as the first car. The solution: Leave early (dawn) and return late (dusk). An alternative is to plan an overnight stay in Hana.
Begin your journey in Paia, the little town on Maui's North Shore. Be sure to fill up your gas tank here. There are no gas stations along Hana Highway, and the station in Hana closes by 6 pm. You should also pick up a picnic lunch. Food choices along the way are limited to fruit stands, which dot the route every half mile or so.
About 10 mile past Paia, at the bottom of Kaupakalua Road, the roadside mileposts begin measuring the 36 miles to Hana town. The road's trademark noodling starts about 3 miles after that. Remember that many residents make this trip frequently—you'll see them zipping around every curve—so please, when possible, pull over to let them pass.
Waterfalls are abundant along this stretch of the road. Roll down your windows. Breathe in the scent of guava and ginger. There are plenty of places to pull completely off the road and park. Do this often, since the road's curves make driving without a break difficult. If you're prone to carsickness, be sure to take medication before this drive.
About 10 minutes before Hana town, you can stop for—of all things—espresso. The tiny, colorful Nahiku Ti Gallery and Coffee shop sells local coffee, dried fruits, and candy. Sometimes the barbecue is fired up and you can try seasonal goodies such as baked breadfruit (an island favorite nearly impossible to find elsewhere).
Feb 28, 2012
This gives a good overall view of the road to Hana but there are a number of sites that should not be missed. These spots are just off the road but part the the overall journey. Keanae Peninsula is worth a stop and a chance to have a snack too. Also, Waianapanapa state park is a great stop near Hana. If you start out early then you should be hitting this park around time for a nice picnic lunch.