Driving the Road to Hana

Just before my husband and I were starting our trip on the road to Hana, someone mentioned, “it’s too long” and it’s boring.   Well, now that I have been on the entire road down and back, if you are looking for some phenomenal Hawaii scenery and views into how some live on Maui, it’s the best.   

Tips

  1. Start early.   The road does get busy.   On our way back around 3:00 we ran into a couple just starting their trip asking us how much farther——  hmmm, not going to make it there and back.   We were near the end of our trip. 
  2. Bring water.  It’s still Hawaii and still hot.  If you want to walk any trails or even seeing the signs you need water.   I don’t recall any places to run in and grab water. 
  3. Bring food.  We ate lunch in Hana. There are limited places to get something to eat.  We brought our own. 
  4. Plan your trip ahead of time.   There are so many beautiful things to see.  If you plan on taking a hike or walk along the way, you may want to plan which one(s) so you don’t run out of time.  
  5. Fill your car before you get on the road.  You won’t find gas stations on the road.  
  6. Bring your swim suit.  There are many places to swim including swimming at the water falls.  
  7. The road is winding and narrow.  Sometimes there is limited visibility.  The bridges are narrow.  Be prepared.  
  8. The road to Hana is not about Hana.  It’s the experience of getting there.  But more about that later.  

Painted Eucalyptus Trees 

Take time to stop to see the painted eucalyptus trees.  At first glance you may think you are driving by big trees.  These aren’t just any trees.  These rainbow eucalyptus trees are beautiful.  They are also huge.  

No one is sure how these trees came to be on Maui.  Two theories are that they were planted to control soil erosion due to over logging or they were planted as a source of lumber for the sugarcane industry.   

The trees grow an average of 6 feet per year, can reach heights of up to 200 feet and almost 8 feet in diameter.   

Look for these around mile marker 7.  

painted Eucalyptus Trees

Wai’anapanapa State Park

Black sand beaches, blow holes, lava tube, sea stacks (giant pillars of rocks that have risen from the ocean floor) and a lava formed sea arch are some of the few sights here.  It is well worth the stop here.  It’s a great place to eat lunch if you started out early.  

black lava beach with cliff and ocean water

The cliff in the background is where Steve McQueen jumped in the movie Papillon.

black lava beach with blow hole and water coming out of the hole
lava tube in Hawaii as seen from inside the lava tube and looking out to ocean

Waterfalls

You will pass numerous natural waterfalls on the road to Hana, with several more that you can hike to.   

waterfall in Hawaii surrounded by lush green foliage
waterfall in Hawaii with swimming hole and young boy swimming.  The waterfall is surrounded by lush green foliage and Hawaiian flowers

The water fall above was my favorite.  There were many beautiful plants around the swimming hole and locals were swimming there when we were there.   It was great to see people appreciating nature.  

WAILUA VALLEY

You can see Wailua village in the picture below. 

Valley with town on ocean in Hawaii

The valley receives 100 to over 300 inches of rainfall per year.  This is in the rainforest.   The population here is small with little diversity.  It is named the most “Hawaiian in the islands.”  Over 94% of the population in the valley is Hawaiian ancestry.   The lifestyle and culture in the valley reflect the old traditional ways.   

Hana

Hana greets you with a sign and you know you made it.  One of the most beautiful scenic drives you can see.  The road may be windy and narrow but it is one of the most scenic 52 or so miles you will drive.   

At Hana there is a stand with some baked goods and pretty gardens.   Notice the pineapple plant that was here.  This plant is landscape and ornamental, but certainly resembles a pineapple.  

sign show the town of Hana on Maui, Hawaii.  The sign marks the end of the road to Hana.
pineapple plant that grows in Hawaii.  It is a plant, not a real pineapple

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