Haleakala/Hana-How Scary?

Old May 10th, 2003, 10:23 AM
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Haleakala/Hana-How Scary?

I am going to Maui soon and am really looking forward to it, however I am scared of heights and a pretty nervous passenger- Have read that the drive up Haleakala is the steepest road in the world, and I have seen the roads in San Francisco so am now having second thoughts! Also read Road to Hana is very curvy which is fine, but is it high? Do both roads have barriers? Know this sounds lame but I dont want to miss out but equally dont want to be a nervous wreck either!
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Old May 10th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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Hi Shazza,

I don't know if you're as bad as I am, but I was not comfortable with either of these trips. My fear definitely affected my enjoyment of the spots. Now, as to your question regarding barriers, no, there are no barriers on either road. The road up Haleakala is steep and has some very windy turns, but most of it is not near the edge of the road. Unfortunately for me, I'm afraid of just being up high, so it was not especially helpful that the road wasn't at the edge of the cliff for most of it. At the top, it was a major achievement for me to get out and walk to the indoor observation building. That was all I was able to do. They do have other lookouts that my husband went to. For me, I wouldn't go back. On the positive side, there is a plant at the top, Silversword I believe, that looks like metal, and is only found there. It has adapted to that environment. I found those interesting. On the way down, the closer I got to reaching the clouds, the better I felt about it. We hit the clouds around 5,000 ft., after being up over 10,000 ft. Now, I come from Long Island, which is totally flat and straight, so I suspect that has much to do with my fear. The road to Hana is also very windy, with very narrow roads, and there are spots with the cliffs right alongside. Most of it was not that high, but once again, I didn't enjoy it as much due to my personal fears. I don't know how your fear of heights compares to mine. Mine is way up there!
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Old May 10th, 2003, 12:34 PM
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Shazza,

From Paia to Hana you drive on the inside lane of the road - and there are barriers on the ocean side in many places (for cars going in the opposite direction). The road is almost at sea level so no worries about heights. If you want to continue on past Hana and all the way around you can stick to the inside lane of the road which might be more comfortable for you. It is twisty and tight in places but it really isn't too bad.

I don't think the road on Mt. Haleakala is the steepest in the world. It does go up (and down) the volcano - so it is steep. I didn't find myself feeling nervous at all on this road (occasionally on the route to Hana). This road also has barriers in places where the road is close to a drop off. If you go to see the sunrise you'll drive on the outside of the road going up (in the dark) and probably won't be very aware of height. Coming down in the daylight you'll be on the inside of the road.

People drive slowly and cautiously on both roads. Since both sites sound important to you, you could give them a try and just have alternative plans if the route proves to be too much to take.
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Old May 10th, 2003, 08:31 PM
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The road itself up Haleakala is not steep but you gain altitude very quickly. It is probably the fastest you'll ever drive to the top of a 10,000 ft. high mountain. This leaves some people a little light-headed and out-of-breath. If you take it slow you'll be fine. You wouldn't want to go too fast anyway because of the bike riders and the big tour buses that come whizzing past you.

Likewise you'll want to take your time and do the trip to Hana right. There are more than 600 curves and 54 bridges, many of them one-lane. Some people whiz to Hana and whiz back and don't take time to enjoy it. Fortunately the big buses are prohibited on the road to Hana so you don't have to worry about being crowded off the road.

Some parts of the road have barriers and many parts do not. If you like barriers come back from Hana on the same road that took you there. Despite what the rental car companies tell you some people do the complete loop and there are places on that road (backside of Haleakala) where you have a 2000 foot cliff straight above you and a 2000 foot cliff straight below you to the ocean with no rail and not enough room for two cars to pass!
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Old May 10th, 2003, 11:28 PM
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The road up Haleakala is not as steep as San Francisco streets. Remember if you go, the best view is at sunrise, *if* it's not a foggy morning.

We were surprised how easy the drive was on the road to Hana because the guidebooks make it sound so scary. It wasn't. Plus you make lots of stops along the way. One tip - skip the early stops if they are overly crowded - there will be plenty of sights along the way.
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