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Road to Hana, Maui

  • 140Audio Points
  • LocationHawaii, USA
  • Suggested Time1 Full Day

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What to Expect

The Road to Hana is one of the world’s most scenic drives and a popular sightseeing activity to see Maui’s spectacular waterfalls, black sand beaches, bamboo forests, lava rock formations and amazing ocean views as you wind your way through 620 curves and 59 bridges.

If you prefer travelling independently, at your own pace, GyPSy Guide provides the best Road to Hana tour experience, along with the freedom to choose what you enjoy; squishing the black sand between your toes at Wai’anapanapa, hiking the Pipiwai Bamboo Trail, or maybe time to enjoy an extra slice of banana bread.

You can’t help but cheer on the world class windsurfers at Ho’okipa. And you won’t need to worry about photoshopping the Rainbow Eucalyptus at the Keanae Arboretum or the stunning contrast between blue water and black lava rock at Keanae Peninsula.

Take a moment to cool off with a quick swim at the pristine Hamoa Beach and see where Haleakala National Park descends from the summit to the sea and the “Seven Sacred Pools” of Oheo at the end of the drive.

With such a long day of exploring, it’s important to know the 5 “not to be missed” stops that we recommend, and many more suggestions if you have time. Part of the secret to enjoying the journey is knowing how not to waste your time, and we have tips for that as well.

On the return drive from Hana, we’ll point out the not to be missed stops again as well as tell you stories about Hawaii’s fascinating history and rich culture.

Listen to the Tour Intro

Highlights

  • Hamoa Beach
  • Hana Bay
  • Ho'okipa Beach
  • Ke'anae Arboretum
  • Ke'anae Peninsula
  • Koki Beach & Alau Island
  • Lava Tube
  • Paia
  • O'heo Gulch (7 Sacred Pools)
  • Pipiwai Trail
  • Upper Waikani Falls (Three Bears)
  • Rainbow Eucalyptus
  • Twin Falls
  • Wai'anapanapa State Park (Black Sand Beach)

Map

Suggested Start Location

As you approach the town of Paia, Hwy 36

Suggested Time

Expect to spend 8-12 hours out touring.  

Driving Distance

The distance of the drive is 120 miles return, from the start point to the Oheo Pools and return. 

FAQ

WHY IS THE ROAD TO HANA FAMOUS?

The Road to Hana is one of the world’s most scenic drives and a popular sightseeing activity to see Maui’s spectacular waterfalls, black sand beaches, bamboo forests, lava rock formations and amazing ocean views as you wind your way through 620 curves and 59 bridges.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DRIVE THE ROAD TO HANA?

The distance of the Road to Hana drive is 120 miles return, from the start point near the town of Paia to the Oheo Pools and return. You can expect to spend 8-12 hours out touring, depending on the stops made along the way.  

IS THE ROAD TO HANA SAFE?

The Road to Hana is very safe for drivers who can keep their eyes on the road, so resist the temptation to look around. The highway is fully paved and even though it has many curves and one-lane bridges, the drive is very safe.

WHAT IS THE BACKSIDE OF ROAD TO HANA?

The back side of the Road to Hana, also known as Piilani Highway 31, is a remote road that is unpaved in sections, extremely windy and dotted with some major potholes. Also, all major car rental companies explicitly prohibit their vehicles from being driven there.

SHOULD I DRIVE THE BACK SIDE OF THE ROAD TO HANA?

If you’re the adventurous type, you might be tempted to travel the “back side” (also known as the Piilani Highway, 31) of Haleakala on your return trip.

But the advantages of driving from Paia to Hana (Oheo Gulch) and back the same way are numerous and substantial:

  • The Road: Although it’s improved over the years, there are still unpaved sections without barriers. The road conditions vary depending on weather and rain damage.
  • Insurance: The major car rental agencies prohibit their vehicles from being taken along the “backside”. If you break down, have an accident, or any damage is found to the car afterwards, it can be a costly and time wasting experience. 
  • Weather: The normal tradewinds often bring clouds and rain in the afternoons. It’s best to do your sightseeing stops along the Road to Hana in the morning as it may be raining when you drive through in the afternoon.
  • The Views: On the “backside” views are of the wild open ocean, but there aren’t any places of interest to stop, so you’ll be driving around 3 hours non-stop. You’ll enjoy the same views across to the Big Island as you approach the Oheo Pools from the actual Road to Hana.

DO I NEED A RESERVATION FOR WAI'ANAPANA (BLACK SAND BEACH)?

All visitors now must have a reservation voucher in order to enter the extremely popular Waiʻānapana State Park (Black Sand Beach), along the famous Road to Hana on Maui.

There is a small fee per vehicle (includes all passengers) for a parking reservation (includes entry) for a 3 hour selected allotment.

How to make a reservation, for what time and other FAQs.

Trip Planning

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