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Questions about Maui roads

Old Apr 7th, 2004, 07:14 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 72
Questions about Maui roads

Hello everyone. I am hoping that some of you can give me some information and maybe descriptions on a couple of roads in Maui. I am very excited about vacationing there next month but I am concerned about driving on a couple of the roads.

The first is the road that goes around the upper portion of West Maui that goes from the 30 in Kapalua and then into Wailuku on the 340. The second is the backside of the 31 after Hana and 'Ohe'o Gulch. I have heard that both of these roads are beautiful but also very "cliffy". I am a pretty nervous passenger and heights and cliffs make me very skittish. Are these roads that bad? If they are very bad, for how long? Also, some things I read say you need a 4wd and others say you don't.

I would appreciate feedback from people who have driven these roads. Thanks so much.

vacationbound is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2004, 07:24 PM
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The road around the top from Kapalua to/from Wailuku is very narrow in places and there is also a drop-off on one side - mainly into and out of Kahakuloa(sp) valley if I remember right. I don't like that much either but it's worth it. In some ways more striking than the ballyhooed Hana drive.
I haven't driven Hana to winery etc but did ride a van (Ekahi tours), didn't seem like a big deal, couple of curvy spots right after O'heo then just a bit bumpy and dusty in places. Total contrast in scenery just a few short miles beyond Hana. Neither needs 4WD tho' the road past Hana could suffer washouts if there's been heavy rains. Have a great trip.
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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 07:29 PM
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Thanks so much for the info and the well wishes. You say there is a drop off one side. How long does it take to get past that drop off? Also, how close are you to the edge? Can two cars pass eachother on the road?

I've heard that there are roads that are narrow and only one car can get by. What are the rules of the road if two cars meet?
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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 09:32 PM
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I think the person driving downhill has to back up because you have more control backing up a hill as opposed to the threat of a runaway car backing downhill.

We didn't go all the way around the top of west maui, only to the Olivine Pools. But the road around the south side of Haleakala is AWESOME. Yes, there is a approx. ten mile section of graded gravel that's very bumpy, but it doesn't hang on the edge of a cliff, just a regular road. You have to drive really slow though because it's so bumpy. But the views are unbelievable. Haleakala is otherworldly and stark and it was so clear that day that we could see the Big Island and the entire Kihei/Wailea area as we rounded north. It's a drive you'll never forget.

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Old Apr 7th, 2004, 09:45 PM
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Thanks Roxy. By the way, I read your trip review. Everything sounded so great. Your thoroughness was much appreciated.

Anyway, back to the road... You said it was bumpy on the backside of Hana but not cliffy. Were there any big cliffs or drop offs? Also, what kind of car were you in.

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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 02:43 AM
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the backside of the road from hana was beautiful. we drove it in a minivan. there are a few sections that are very high ,narrow and cliffy.(one section had a little cross with flowers,leis and mementoes on it. my 3 boys thought up all kinds of stories about that.)most of the road was not bad at all. definitely worth the trip.
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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 03:09 AM
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We drove both roads in October 2003 in a Sebring convertible. A 4WD was not needed for either. We were told that the bumpy roads is due to the fact that the State of Hawaii only paves two lane roads, so most of the roads around the perimeter are not paved because they are one way. You will be on short sections that are paved, but those are only the bridges that are two lanes. What happens when two cars in opposite directions meet, either one hugs the mountain, while the other passes, or one backs up. This does NOT happen frequently. I would drive west to east from Kapalua, so that you are the ones hugging the mountain.

If you are a nervous passenger, and hights and cliffs make you skittish, then the road that goes over the upper portion of West Maui will definitely affect you. The road around the backside of the Volcano is much tamer, except for the non-stop potholes. If you were going to pick one road over the other, considering the scenery and your nerves, I would definitely go with the backside of the Volcano to the winery.
Hope this is helpful.
wolfshin is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 04:28 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Did the road over West Maui in January (in a mustang convertible). I agree that the scenery is awesome but the road is very narrow and does have some major cliff drops. A lot depends on you confidence in your driver. I closed my eyes for one portion of the trip because I too and leary of heights.
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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 04:51 AM
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fun2trav is dead on....huge dropoffs on both roads during one lane it not only depends on your confidence in your driver but your driver's confidence....if they're ok with it, you need only lay back and shut your eyes and listen to music for awhile....amazing scenery.
Old Apr 8th, 2004, 07:04 AM
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Wow. You have all been so great to give me so much information. It is so helpful. Especially the suggestion to go from Kapalua toward Wailuku to get the mountain side.

One last thing on this topic. On the West Maui road, about how much of it is very cliffy? Is it just small portion or is there a lot of it. I guess I am trying to figure about how much of it will be petrifying to me. Maui revealed described the looks on passengers faces on this road as looking like they just "bungee jumped into hell". I think if there is a 5 second portion like this and I can close my eyes, I will be fine but if it goes on for a bit, there is no way. My husband said if I get nervous we will just turn around but from the descriptions of the roads it doesn't sound like you can.

Thanks again. I mean Mahalo.

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Old Apr 8th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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Well, you can go as far as Olivine pools and see if you're enjoying the scenery. The road after that point gets more narrow and "cliffy" so if you think the scenery is worth it, keep going. If you've had your fill and don't want to go on the "scarier" roads, turn around there. Anywhere there's an overlook you would be able to turn around.
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Old Apr 10th, 2004, 07:25 PM
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One thing many of you forgot to mention...most rental car companies prohibit you to go on either the northern road or the back side to Hana. I was told by Avis that you are on your own if you breakdown out there. It says so on the maps they give you. That said it is a wonderful ride on both those roads. The northern road is an adrenaline rush and the back road to Hana is bone jarring. Enjoy.
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