“Road to Hana” on Maui is famous and for good reasons. It is filled with adventures! It is one of my favorite things to do when visiting Maui. The road to Hana will take you through 620 curves and 59 bridges and lead you through dramatic seascape, flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, and plunging pools. It is just amazing! This blog post will take you through the best places to stop along the road to Hana.
Tip 1: Start early! Unless you decide to spend a night on your way to Hana, visiting every attraction is an almost impossible task. I would, therefore, advise you to choose some highlights on the road and stick to them.
Tip 2: Service is quite bad along the road to Hana. It can, therefore, be hard to know exactly where on the road you are. For this reason, it can be a good idea to bring a map and keep track of the road and the highlights you would like to see.
Where to stop on Road to Hana, Maui
Paia Town is a beautiful bohemian-style town and this is where the road to Hana officially starts. Paia is without a doubt a shopper’s paradise and offers way more than the eye can see! The Historical Town of Paia has deep roots in Maui’s agricultural history and you can still feel it. Paia is an amazing town to explore, but don’t spend too much time here. You have a lot to explore along the road!
Ho’okipa Beach Park
Ho’okipa Beach Park is known for its steady winds which makes this place a world-renowned windsurf destination. Make a quick stop here and enjoy the view from either the beach or the lookout. The beach is beautiful, but not the best beach for swimming as the water can be very rough. Instead, Ho’okipa Beach Park is a great spot to watch the beautiful Maui sunsets.
Twin Falls is the first easily accessible waterfall and pool on the road to Hana. Twin Falls is an easy 1-mile roundtrip. At the falls you’ll have the opportunity to do some cliff jumping and swimming in the pools if you desire. There are more scenic falls you can swim in down the road, but the falls is a great option for the whole family.
Apart from the falls, there is also a cute and colorful food truck selling refreshing sugarcane juice & coconut drinks. They also sell banana bread, which is so yummy!
Na’ili’ili Haele Falls (Bamboo Forest)
Bamboo Forest is a great spot along the road to Hana. You can choose to either walk around the bamboo forest and visit a smaller waterfall, or you can choose to cross the stream bed and reach a twenty-some foot waterfall where you can take a refreshing dip in the pool.
There is no formal parking, and you will, therefore, need to park on the side of the road right outside a dense set of bamboo trees. It can be a little hard to see so make sure to not drive by it (I have done this twice).
Be aware: The hike is officially closed. There are many sad tales about broken limbs as well as people being caught in flash floods. People seem to ignore the fence as well as the trespassing sign though. It’s a great hike, but enter at your own risk!
Garden of Eden
People seem to love this stop on the road to Hana. I have for that reason chosen to mention it. To be honest, I haven’t visited the garden myself and I, therefore, don’t know if it is worth a visit or not, but I personally think $15 per person is a lot to pay to go see a garden when you have so many natural wonders along the Road to Hana, but if you are into beautiful botanical gardens this is defiantly worth a visit!
Waianapanapa State Park (Black Sand Beach)
Waianapanapa State Park also known as Black Sand Beach. This stop is after my opinion where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. The state park really offers something for everyone and it is so beautiful here! Waianapanapa has one of Maui’s only black sand beaches, but the park also offers a freshwater cave, lava tube, blowhole as well as great hiking and walking trails. If you plan to stay overnight Waianapanapa State Park is a great place to camp for the night.
Puaa Kaa State Wayside
Puaa Kaa State Wayside doesn’t have that much to offer. There is a small accessible waterfall. The waterfall isn’t anything crazy, but the place works great as a lunch spot or even just a small bathroom break.
Pro-tip: If you have more days on Maui and you dont wan’t to stay overnight consider driving to the attractions another day the reverse direction, meaning through Haiku rather than the traditional “Road to Hana”. This will give you more time to enjoy everything on both sides of Hana.
Wailua Falls is probably Maui’s most photographed waterfall. The waterfall is very accessible. There is no need to hike to enjoy the waterfall that is cascading approximately 80 feet down the side of a lush jungle wall. Most people tend to stick to enjoying the view from the roadway, but if you feel a little more adventures I would recommend walking down to the pool where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in the most beautiful surroundings.
The Pools of ‘Ohe’o (Seven Sacred Pools)
Seven Sacred Pools is part of the Haleakala National Park and one of the most popular attractions on East Maui. Being in the national park does mean though that you will need to pay an admission fee. Remember to save your ticket if you want to visit the Haleakala summit another day. It is a far drive to the sacred pools, but it is definitely worth the drive if you have the time.
Ohe’o in Hawaiian means Something Special which is a very accurate name for this amazing place. When water levels are up, there are many more than 7 pools visible. If the weather allows it is also possible to take a dip in the tranquil waters. What are you waiting for?
Price $15 for a three-day park pass or $25 for an annual park pass. $10 fee per car.
The Pipiwai Trail
The Pipiwai Trail is one of the best hikes on East Side Maui if you ask me. The hike is a 1.8-mile back and forth trail and is winding towards an amazing waterfall and pool. Along the way, you get to explore a beautiful bamboo forest. However, the highlight of this hike is the breathtaking 400-foot waterfall called Waimoku Falls.
Piilani Highway Landscape
If you decided to do an overnight adventure along the road to Hana you might consider finishing your trip by driving back through the Piilani Highway Landscape. The road does get a little rough in places though, and you should make sure your car is insured and does cover this stretch.
The Highway is dramatically different than the Hana Highway which is pretty crazy thinking it is just on the other side of the mountain. From Piilani you can see Haleakala from the backside.
What to bring?
- Water – It is always important to stay hydrated. Road to Hana does have food and drink options, but they aren’t everywhere.
- Bug Spray – You will meet these creatures as soon as you venture into the bamboo forest.
- Map with highlights – It can be hard to locate all attractions along the road and phone service is not always a thing along the road to Hana.
- Hiking Shoes – You might want to hike some of Maui’s beautiful trails along your trip.
- Swimming Suit & Towel – Have you ever dreamt about swimming in a waterfall? Not is your time. There are many waterfalls and pools along the way!
- Umbrella/Rain Poncho – This side of Maui is green and gorgeous, but the reason why it is so lush is that it also rains! Bring something that will keep you dry in case it rains.
- Full Tank of Gas – You won’t have many opportunities to fill it up until Hana.
- Food/Snacks – Food and snacks are essentials on every road trip 😉