Tips for Driving the Road to Hana

One of many views of the East Maui coast from the road to Hana

In my opinion, few drives are more beautiful than the Road to Hana on Maui. It’s a curvy coastal road with views of cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, and miles and miles of  rainforest. It’s a well paved road, but you do need to keep your wits about you when you drive it because of the many sharp curves and one-lane bridges.

Despite how the name road to Hana sounds, the objective of this road is not just to get to the small town of Hana. The road to Hana is all about the journey and enjoying the beauty along the way.

I recommend you begin your journey from Highway 36 from around the town of Paia. Then follow Highway 36 until it turns into Highway 360. You’ll continue on this road to and past Hana — stopping along the way to enjoy the sights. Past Hana, the road becomes Highway 31.  Do continue past the town of Hana to the Kipahulu area, where you’ll see Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools.) A great place to turn around is at the Kipahulu region of Haleakala National Park.

Note that the Kipahulu area past Hana is part of Haleakala National Park, though it is separated from the summit of Haleakala by many miles and thousands of feet of elevation. At first glance, visitors may assume that the summit of Haleakala and the Kipahula area of Haleakala are near each other. Some assume that sunrise on Haleakala and the road to Hana can be seen on the same day. We do not advise you attempt both in the same day.

An important point to note about where you can and can’t drive on the road to Hana, is that most major car rental companies do not permit you to drive past the Kipahulu region onto some brief stretches of unpaved road. When you rent your car, do check with your rental car company for advice on what roads you must avoid.  Now, nobody is going to stop you from driving the unapproved sections, but take note that you assume risk if the car breaks down or you have an accident.  See my detailed post on why we advise that you don’t drive the back side of the road to Hana. The following photo is from one of the major rental car company’s drive guides. Note the arrows and text in red that identify the prohibited area.

Maui Drive Guide Map

Another point we should mention before we dive into the driving tips is that you should consider whether you’d prefer to drive the road independently or take a guided tour. I experienced both and sincerely enjoyed both options. See my article detailing the advantages and disadvantages of each method — Touring the Road to Hana Independently vs. Guided Tour.

Waianapanapa State Park

The black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park

So, now that we’ve mentioned those important points, let’s review these practical tips for enjoying your drive on the Road to Hana.

Planning  Ahead to Enjoy the Road to Hana (Ideally at least a week before your trip to Maui) 

  • If you are prone to carsickness, then this drive may not be for you. Don’t even think about it, without using something to help you combat carsickness. Roll down your window for fresh air and to hear the birds and waterfalls when the car is in motion.
  • Definitely plan to make a whole day of the drive there and back. There is so much to see and do that you can’t see it all in one day.  We’ve driven the road to Hana about six times now and still haven’t had the opportunity to do everything listed in guidebooks.  Ideally, an overnight stay in the town of Hana allows you to see and do more.
  • Get a good Maui guidebook that will detail what to see along the way. Find one that provides references by mile markers. (I’ve used Maui Revealed in the past and found it was a good reference. Just make sure you never trespass or do any hiking or swimming that are beyond your skills. If it looks dangerous, it probably is!)
  • I’d advise that you read the road to Hana section in your guidebook and highlight areas that sound interesting to you well before you set off on your journey. Pay particular attention to the mile markers as they will be about the only landmark that will guide you to the stops that interest you. Note that mile markers change depending on what road you are on. Though it may seem like the same road, you’ll actually be driving on three separate highways – 36, 360, and 31 and they each have their own mile markers and it can get kind of confusing. To me the most confusing point is once you past Hana and transition from Highway 360 to 31, the mile markers start counting down from 50.
  • Plan to share the driving time with your travel companions, if possible. The drive can be stressful for one person. Consider whether you should add an additional driver onto your rental car contract as most contracts only allow one driver as a standard. Additional drivers can be added for a fee. If you know the specific day you’ll be driving the road to Hana, most rental car companies allow you to add the additional driver for that specific days only.

What to Bring & Wear

  • If you think you might do any swimming, then wear a swimsuit and bring beach towels.
  • If you have quick drying clothes, wear those and/or bring a breathable waterproof jacket as it wouldn’t be unusual to find yourself in a brief shower.
  • I highly recommend that you wear shoes that you don’t mind if they get muddy. This type of shoe is great for the short treks and waterfall hunting on the road to Hana.
  • Bring sunscreen, water, and mosquito repellent.
  • You could bring snacks if you like, but you will find roadside fruit stands. Some of them are open for pay by the honor system. So, bring cash, including plenty of one-dollar bills, to pay at the roadside stands.
  • Don’t forget your camera with lots of film/memory and fully charged batteries.
  • Once again, if you are prone to car sickness, bring any medicines that you know help you to avoid getting sick.

What to Do the Day Before & Morning of Your Drive to Hana

  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas before you start the drive. Gas stations are few and far between!
  • Try to get an early start. It makes a huge difference. You’ll avoid traffic with an early start. Plan on leaving the South or West Maui resorts around 6:ooam. Most of the places to stop along the road to Hana only have room for one or two cars, so the earlier you get going, the more likely you’ll be able to find a place to pull off to look at the waterfalls and views.
  • As you plan which day you are going to drive the road to Hana, carefully consider the weather forecast for Hana and the windward Haleakala area. (See this link for the current forecast from Maui News.) I’ve driven the road on a beautiful sunny day and on a mostly cloudy and partly rainy day. Of course everyone would prefer the sunny day, right? Well, of course, we all do, but since I’ve had the opportunity to see the contrast, I can tell you that on the road to Hana, the weather makes a huge difference. The scenery is vastly better with the sun.
  • Check for road closures on the Maui County road closure notification website. Though road closures along the Road to Hana is not an everyday occurrence, it’s not too uncommon for a section of the road to be closed for a rock/mud slide. A special road to Hana repair project is scheduled from June to December 2012. Check for those closures and delays on this website.
  • If you notice a local driving behind you or a long line of cars, please be considerate and pull over to allow cars to pass as soon as you find a safe spot to do so. (See more tips about driving with aloha.) Another important point I should highlight is that you should probably be prepared that you could encounter some unwelcoming locals. We’ve mostly had pleasant experiences on the road to Hana, but once we encountered a local bully. I hope your experience is a good one.
  • Avoid driving a long distance on this Road to Hana at night.
  • Always lock your car if you are going to be leaving it.

Some Top Stops to See Along the Road to Hana

I’ll list some of the best stops in the order that you’ll encounter them as you drive the road to Hana. I provide detailed tips for visiting each spot along with the mile markers, so be sure to click each link to learn more.

  • Keanae Point is a gorgeous diversion off the road to Hana that gives you beautiful views of the East Maui coast. See our post on Keanae Point for more details.
  • Waikani Falls
  • Don’t miss the black sand beach at Waianapanapa State Park. I think it’s one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in all of Hawaii.
  •  Just past the town of Hana, watch for Haneoo Road on the left. This road takes you to views of Alau Island and the red sand along the shore line. There is room to pull off Haneoo Road to check out the views. Further down Haneoo Road, beautiful Hamoa Beach will be below a cliff on the left. Look for cars parked along the road and then take the path down to the beach. It’s definitely a beach worth seeing.  Haneoo Road is u-shaped and will connect back to the Hana Highway.
  • Wailua Falls
  • The Kipahula area which about 10 miles beyond Hana. See the Oheo Gulch (also known as the Seven Sacred Pools) with the cascading pools and spend a bit of time walking around this area. If you have the time (between 2 to 2.5 hours), a hike on the Pipiwai Trail through a bamboo forest up to the towering (approximately 400 feet) Waimoku Waterfall is well worth doing.Note that this area is part of Haleakala National Park. So, when you purchase entry into the park, it is valid for both entry points for 3 days from purchase. See more about visiting the Kipahulu area.
  • Another popular point of interest just beyond the Kipahulu area of Haleakala National Park is the grave site of Charles Lindbergh that you will find at the Kipahulu Point Light Station, a Maui County Park. It’s tricky to find Look for the a paved one-lane road on the ocean side of Highway 31 just after mile marker 41. The best landmark is a carved wood sign that says “Maui Stables”. (There’s also a private property sign, but that refers to the property itself, not the road.) This is a great place to turn around and enjoy the views of the road to Hana from the other direction.
  • If you have daylight time remaining, on your way back to your hotel or condo, don’t miss watching the windsurfers at Hookipa Beach.

Wailua Falls off the road to Hana

Looking for other great things to see and do on Maui? See my recommendations of the top 5 things you must see and do on Maui.

Ohana Beach Rentals

About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.

138 comments

  1. We enjoyed our Road to Hana day. We did Haleakala sunrise on our 1st day & Road to Hana on our 2nd day in Hawaii. Since we were still on East coast time, it was quite easy to get a really early start. I am prone to car sickness but I did very well. I did have on a Relief band so it was either that or the fresh air (converible) that helped. The only part that did bother me a bit was the road between Hana & Oheo Gulch.

  2. Hi Lissete – I’m glad you were able to enjoy the Road to Hana even though you are prone to car sickness. That’s good to know that the Relief band helped do the trick.
    I totally agree with you on planning the early morning stuff for the first days. I come from Eastern time, too and it’s a piece of cake to get up early. In fact, it’s hard not to get up early. So, you might as well make good use of those early days.

  3. I too get carsick and airsick but have found a wonderful remedy which has to be prescribed by a doctor: a patch you put behind your ear that works for 3 days. It’s miraculous. Works on the twisty road to Hana. Please Note: I recommend you do not use the Maui Revealed. It has a very bad reputation on the island and is outdated and badly in need of an editor. Flash floods are not uncommon and full of bad and dangerous advice. Alternative to Road to Hana if you don’t have an entire day to spend on th road: Twin Falls Trail. It’s right at the start of the Hana Highway. There’s a series of waterfall fed lagoons along a mile trail. Nice people run it. It’s free and there’s a fruit stand where you can buy fresh fruit and smoothies.

  4. A nice open convertible will usually relieve car sickness along with a baggie of crystallized ginger to chew on. Remember if you’re taking Dramamine to take it at least 30 minutes prior (like if you’re leaving from Lahaina, take it then so it kicks in by the time you get to the beginning of the highway)

    The road past Hana to Oheo Gulch is very narrow so if you’re going up to a blind turn, give your horn a quick little honk to alert anyone on the other side. I can’t count how many times we’ve encountered big dump trucks or big govt vehicles in the middle of an already narrow road. Gets the heart pumping! :)

    Watch for flash floods at Oheo Gulch. It’s green on this part of the island because of rain and inland rain easily and quickly sweeps down the falls. So be aware of changes in water levels in your pool.

    Remember as of right now you can’t go all the way around so if a trip to the Kaupo Store was on your trip, I believe the road is closed from the 2006 earthquake a mile or two before it.

    Great post Sheila!

  5. Renee & Angie – thanks for adding your thoughts and tips.

  6. We noticed locals making it all around to Kaupo but they said it required four wheel drive. They’re saying the slides won’t be cleared until 2009. Most important on Road to Hana is letting locals by so they can go about their business. They will appreciate and acknowledge your good manners. Ditto on Maui Revealed comments. A diservice to this beautiful island, cheapens it. I recommend staying in Hana overnight and soaking up the sun on Hamoa Beach and taking a walk along the Wainapanap Coast. There’s a beautiful trail that hugs the shore.

  7. Jon – I totally agree on letting the locals pass, so that’s why I made sure to mention it in the list of tips. I didn’t grow up in Hawaii, but I grew up in a touristy area, so I know what it’s like to have to follow slow driving sight-seers.

  8. I appreciate all this first hand advice. I have printed it out for my upcoming trip. Thanks Sheila.

  9. LilliAnne – I hope you have a wonderful time in Maui. The Road to Hana is really, really beautiful! I hope you’ll enjoy it!

  10. I would stay overnight and enjoy it the way it was meant to be. Hana is so beautiful and natural. Make sure to respect the locals!!

  11. Could I get an idea of just how much time to allow for the trip to Hana and back? Is it feasible to take the Super Ferry from Oahu (arriving around 9:00 am), rent a car, take the drive, visit a red sand beach, and return before the Ferry leaves for the return to Oahu (8:00 pm)? If I had to make a choice between the red sand beaches on the east of Maui, or the south of Maui, which is the better choice?
    Thanks to all who offer assistance!

  12. Hi Carol,

    That’s a very good question. Here are my thoughts:

    The road to Hana is best enjoyed on a leisurely pace. The roads are very curvy and there are many one lane bridges along the way that require you to yield to oncoming traffic. There will be many times you’ll want to pull over to look at the views and take photos. The road to Hana is more about soaking in the scenery than it is to zoom past it.

    I’d be afraid that you’d be too pushed for time if you tried to fit with the Superferry schedule. Bear in mind that the ferry suggest you be at the dock 60 minutes before scheduled departure. So you’d need to have your rental car turned in and make your way back to the dock by 7pm.

    As an alternative, consider flying to Maui for the day. Take an early flight that gets you there at about 7am and plan a flight that departs around 8pm. That should give you some more breathing room.

    Another idea is to take the ferry and plan to stay one night in Hana and go back the next day. The Hotel Hana is highly rated and very nice, though a bit on pricey side.

    I hope this helps.

  13. I agree, I would not try to cram it all in and the Superferry hasn’t always been reliable if you’re planning ahead. If the seas are choppy at all, they can cancel it with little to no notice.

    Have we done it in less time than the time you’ve alotted? Yes. But it’s because we got started early. It really is a beautiful drive and one we never get tired of but it’s one to be taken in.

    I would recommend spending a night there if you can. There are a lot of lower cost vacation rentals if you’re trying to stick to a budget.
    Hotel Hana Maui is very nice and luxurioous but VERY expensive.

  14. Thank you Sheila and Angie. Your advice is very much appreicated. I will have to consult with my traveling companion (my daughter who lives in Oahu) and see what she wants to do. We will probably only have the one day to visit Maui, so I want to get the most bang for my buck, if ya know what I mean.

    I will look over the web sites y’all provided and give this adventure some serious thought.

    Thanks again for everything!

  15. You’re welcome, Carol. I hope it works out that you get to take the road to Hana. It’s very, very beautiful. The scenerly you will see on the road to Hana will be quite a bit different than what you’ll see on Oahu. So, taking a day trip over to Maui is a good vacation/memory investment, in my opinion.

    If you might be prone to getting car sick, then it might make the road to Hana even more challenging if you come over on the ferry.

    Le me know what you decide to do and how it all works out.

    Happy planning and travels!

  16. Thank you so much for this great advice!
    My husband and I are visiting Hawaii next April on our honeymoon and can’t wait to drive The Road to Hana.
    Just have a quick question – can we fit The Road to Hana and Kipahula Falls into one day? We’re staying at the other end of the Island and so it would be a lot of driving to do it twice. We don’t want to rush either!
    Thank you very much!
    kate

  17. Hi Kate,

    I’m glad you’re finding some good advice here.

    I have to say, I’m not entirely sure that I know of Kipahula Falls. Might you be referring to the cascading waterfalls at the Oheo Gulch which is part of the Kipahula area of Haleakala National Park? If that’s the case, then yes, you’ll have time to see that on the same day you are driving the road to Hana. If that’s not what you’re talking about, can you provide a link or any other point of reference so that I can take a look?

  18. Realistically, how long would the drive to Hana take from Lahaina. I will be coming in on the ferry from Molokai and picking the car up around 8:30-9:00 AM, but I have to be back at Kahului airport by around 9:30 to catch my 11:00 PM flight back to the Mainland. Keep in mind, I am not one to take many stops, as I am very comfortable being in a car for long distances.

  19. Hi Bobby – First, I assume that you’ll be dropping your car off at the airport and not back in Lahaina. If that’s the case, you should have plenty of time to drive this scenic drive. Enjoy it!

  20. Yep! I will be dropping off the car at the airport (and surprisingly not paying a different drop-off fee) so thanks for putting my worries to rest, Sheila. What a great way to end my Hawaii trip, and what a great vacation to start off the new year!

  21. Just came back after a fabulous trip to Maui. The road is beautiful and challenging. We ended up coming back in the dark…don’t do it! Leave early before sunset. We were bummed that the road to Charles Lindbergh’s grave was washed out, so we couldn’t make it there. I have a question…we stopped at two black beaches – one was black pebbles and was a steep drive down a slope on the way there. I can’t find the name of it anywhere – not sure it was in any of our books. We also made it to the black sand beach at the state park. Does anybody know the name of the pebble beach??

  22. We will be driving a convertible with all luggage and possessions in the trunk,as we will be staying in Hana. Having heard about theft along the way, do we dare leave our car at various stops?

  23. @ Bobby – that’s great that you won’t have to pay a drop off fee for your rental car. Just another piece of advice – please pay attention to how long it is taking you to get to certain points along the drive so that you’ll know if you need to turn around. Also, since you won’t be getting an early morning start, it would probably be best to avoid long stops as you drive towards Hana so that you’ll be able to better judge your available time for stops when you turn around towards the airport.One stop I would not miss is Wai‘anapanapa State Park http://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/06/04/road-to-hana-stop-at-black-sand-beach-waianapanapa-state-park/ As it has one of the most beautiful black sand beaches in all of Hawaii! After you return, please stop back by and let us know how your trip went.

    @ Cathy – You’re right, driving the road to Hana in the dark creates a bigger challenge. Plus, you miss out on the scenery. I always advise getting on the road as soon as possible in the morning. I’m traveling at the moment, but when I get home, I’ll check my guide book to see if I can figure out the name of the black pebble beach. Do you recall if a waterfall fed pool was nearby?

    @ Jane – Lucky you that you’ll be staying in Hana! Oh my, theft can be a problem, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I have personally never had a problem with having anything stolen. In fact,when I last drove the road to Hana, we had a Jeep Wrangler and we stopped a couple of times for about a half hour and the souvenirs that I had purchased in Hana were in the jeep and weren’t stolen. Here’s a couple of thoughts for you:
    - If you do have your luggage in the trunk, NEVER open the trunk or give any indication that there’s anything at all in the trunk. Even at stops where it appears that no one is around…don’t be tempted to open up the trunk. I’ve actually heard people say that the trees have eyes….meaning that thieves know where to hide that you’ll never know they are there, but they’re on the look out for signs that valuables are in the car.
    - Can you leave your luggage (locked) at you Hana accommodation while you sight see? Even if you have to double back an by a half hour, the peace of mind that you’re valuables are safer.

  24. @ Cathy – would the black beach be at Waioka also known as Venus Pool?

  25. If we are planning on driving the road to Hana leaving from the Maui airport…how long do you think it would take us to make the drive (one way)?

    I think our flight gets us into Maui at 3:45pm so I guess we’ll probably start the trek around 4:30pm? Do you think we’ll have enough time to make it to our hotel in Hana before it gets too dark? If not…should we be concerned?

    Thanks for your help….

  26. @ Jeff – It will probably take you about 2 hours to drive to Hana.

    Now, if you get there before sunset depends on what time of year you go as sunset time varies from about 5:45pm to about 7:15pm. Here’s a link to a sunrise and sunset chart from Maui’s Haleakala: http://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/sunrise-and-sunset.htm One point to bear in mind is that much of the drive is on the east side and in the shadow of Haleakala, so that area will probably be darker a bit sooner.

    Sounds like if you do end up driving in the dark, there’s a good chance it won’t be for too long. Just take it slow.

  27. Sheila you are the best! We are staying in a house on Hana for a week. I would like to make alot of plans to travel on the other more populated sides of the island but i am feeling a little like the drive to and back will be too much to do each day. What are your thoughts? Also we are planning on attending a Luau but because of the night driving i am a little scared. Isn’t there a airport in Hana and is it reasonable to fly back and forth?

  28. Hi Melanie – thanks for the kind words!

    A week in Hana sounds like bliss! Not many people get the chance to explore that area as thoroughly as you will, so count yourself lucky!

    You have presented a challenge about seeing the other areas of Maui from Hana. There is an airport in Hana and it has the code HNM. Pacific Wings and Mokulele tends to fly to the smaller airports in Maui.

    Since you’ll have the additional cost of another rental car and flights if you fly to either Kapalua (JHM) or Kahului (OGG), you might be better off staying in West or South Maui for a night and concentrate your sightseeing on the other side of the island over two days – scheduling your luau on the night of your stay away from Hana. With this option, you’ll probably save money and your valuable vacation time. Hope these thoughts help.

  29. Hey Sheila, It looks like it might rain the 2 days I’m in Maui. But I really wanted to see the black sand beaches. Any advice on how to get there. Is it safe to drive in the rain? Im staying in Kihei and wont get in until 1pm.

  30. Donyale – don’t try to drive the road too fast and you should be fine. I wouldn’t attempt to drive it the day you arrive since you won’t be getting in until 1pm so that you won’t risk driving the road in the dark.

    The black sand beach along the road to Hana is called Wai‘anapanapa State Park and it is really, really pretty. You’ll get to it before you get to Hana. http://www.govisithawaii.com/2012/06/04/road-to-hana-stop-at-black-sand-beach-waianapanapa-state-park/

    You may want to skip the Kipahulu area (past Hana) since it’s subject to flash floods.

  31. Thanks Sheila! You Rock! Thanks for the advance! I’ll let you know how it goes!

  32. we will be on maui for 2 days as part of a cruise. we plan on taking the hana drive. we want to do it in one day which means driving both ways on the same day. is that doable? looking for the best waterfall and maybe a place to swim/picnic along the way. thanks.

  33. dave – yes, it’s very doable. In fact, that’s what 95% of the visitors do. You’ll see waterfalls along the drive. At the Oheo Gulch in the Kipahulu area there’s some cascading waterfalls. Some people swim there when the conditions are good. You can read a little bit about that area here: http://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/kipahulu.htm

  34. Sheila, thanks for all the great advice. I am looking to do a one day trip as well. I want to do the two mile hike at the end to see some of the best highlights. I will be in Kaanapali and I can leave bright and early. Anyway, what are all of your can’t miss stops? I would leave at say 7am and plan to make the entire loop around the island. So what are the can’t miss attractions and are any of the stops after Lindbergh worthwhile? Thanks.

  35. Jim – I’m not sure if you’re aware of this or not, but all of the major car rental companies like Avis, Budget, Hertz, etc. tell you that you shouldn’t drive beyond Lelekea Bay. Now there’s not a rental car cop stopping you from driving it :-) but if you should have an accident or your rental car breaks down on unauthorized roads, your rental contract is void. So, if you drive it, you are taking that risk. Honestly, I think that the scenery doubling back on the 360 and 36 is worth seeing again.

  36. Okay, thanks I wasn’t aware of that. If I go and double back about how many stops do you think I can make in one day? I know it is a tough question depending on how long I stay at each stop but do you have any list of the “can’t miss” stops on the Road to Hana? I don’t want to stop at them all and then find out I missed out on some of the better ones.

  37. Jim – I sure wish I had a cheat sheet, so to speak, about all the must stops and that’s a great idea for a future post.

    What I like to do, is try to drive all the way to Kipahulu with just a few stops along the way — stopping for a waterfall view or beautiful coast scene. The reason I like to drive all the way to Kipahulu is that I’ll know how to pace myself on the way back. Now, it’s inevitable that you’ll see a beautiful scene on the way to Kipahulu that you just can’t resist stopping for and that is fine. In general, those stops will take you less than 5 minutes.

    For the most part, the stops are going to be obvious and just off the road to Hana. You’ll see pull outs for most of these places. I do think that the black sand beach at Wainapanapa State Park is a little less obvious, so do take note of that. It’s near mile marker 32.

    Have you purchased a good guidebook yet? Maui Revealed is one of the top rated ones and does a good job of telling you the stops by mile marker. It would be a good idea to get a good guidebook and read the road to Hana section before you go to Maui and then you can decide on the diversions that sound best to you and you want to make the time to do.

    Some cautions about the Revealed Guides — by in large the advice is good, but I have found a few times that these books tend to take you on a wild goose chase. So, if it feels like a wild goose chase, chances are it is. A second caution is that if the guide book tells you to take a trail or road, but the trail or road is on private property and marked with no trespassing signs, please honor the signs. A final caution is to be safe!

    I hope this helps. Just remember that the road to Hana is more about the journey than the destination and you’ll enjoy.

  38. Very interesting! I’ve never been there!

  39. We did the Pride of Hawaii Cruise and spent 2 days in Maui – Our day on the Road to Hana was one of our absolute favorite!

    Couple of tips – bring snacks, bathing suit, lots of water, and take your time.

    We even purchased “I survived the Road to Hana t-shirts!”

    We had one of the best hamburgers ever at the Hotel Hana for lunch! It was awesome – the views were incredible!

  40. We will be in Maui for 7 glorious days! Do you think that it is better to drive the Road to Hana on a weekday or on a weekend?

    • Hi Susan – that’s a good question. From memory I’ve only driven the road on weekdays, so I don’t know how weekends compare. I would guess that perhaps there would be less large trucks on the road on weekends, assuming that they are not working on the weekends, so perhaps that could be a plus. I’m not sure it would matter much either way.

      In my opinion, the weather is the biggest concern, so check the weather reports for Hana when you arrive on the island. Mostly sunny weather makes a huge difference in the scenery and overall experience.

  41. Me and my boyfriend are going to Maui for christmas and I definetly want to do the road to Hana and visit the seven sacred pools but I’m a little worried because I don’t know the area and want some advice on where to go and what to do there. I need some help! lol. I’v read most the posts but if there’s anything else we should know then it would be helpful :]. Thanks.

  42. I am going to Maui for my honeymoon at the end of September. I am renting a Harley for a few days. Do you feel taking the road to Hana on a motorcycle is a bad idea? Should we just explore other area on the motorcycle and take the car for the road to Hana?

    Thanks

    • Just realized I never followed back up. We rented a Harley Ultra Classic. I drove the complete loop including the back side on the bike. The back side is an adventure especially on a bike. With the steep loose gravel hills it made for some changeling riding. I have been riding dirt bikes & motorcycles since I was little so its wasn’t anything I hadn’t encountered before. Just great views and crazy roads.

  43. @Samantha – the only other thing I might add is that you don’t want to wear shoes that you would be upset if they got muddy. This type of shoe is perfect for the road to Hana http://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/02/23/these-shoes-were-made-for-walking-in-hawaii/

    @Ryan – you’ll probably find that you’ll be doing a lot of gear changing and breaking on the road to Hana. Also, check the weather and/or be prepared for a rain shower, just in case. Other than that, you’d probably enjoy the fresh air and scenery on a motorcycle.

  44. We did the road to hana in August of 2008…

    It was beautiful-do it. If you get carsick-ride in the front seat or do the driving. Stop as many times as possible. Many of these posts tell you not to use Maui Revealed, however, this was the BEST thing we purchased. It was spot on for the attractions and the reason the islanders do not like it is b/c it deters sales of the CD’s and guided tours. The worst part of the drive is from Hana to the Oheo Gulch but it is well worth it. The roads were very narrow and having the tour buses trying to use the one way bridges coming at you was a bit “stroke” worthy. You will be happy you went on though. Plan for an entire day. The way back from Hana takes about 2.5 hours but the way there should take you around 4-6 depending on the stops you make. The stops are why you make this trip so don’t rush! Good Luck!

  45. My wife and I will be doing the drive in early November of this year. What will the weather be like at the time of the year and is the road any more challenging and narrower than the Pacific Coast Highway in California? Can we drive as far as the Lindbergh grave in a rental car?

  46. We are planning to travel the road to Hana in early November, can you tell us what the the weather is generally for this part of Maui at this time of year.

    Thanks

    • In general November weather is still quite pleasant, though a tad more likely that you’ll encounter rain. See this link for Maui’s historical weather averages: http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USHI0031?from=search
      I highly suggest that you check the weather forecast when you arrive and aim for clear day if possible. I’ve been on the road to Hana on cloudy and clear days, and the scenery is so much nicer on clear days.

      I have only been on short sections of the PCH in California and the road to Hana is more challenging and narrow in comparison.

      You can drive as far as the Lindbergh grave in a rental car. In fact, that’s not a bad turn around point.

  47. Good points, I’d like to comment on “lock your car” – I suggest the opposite. Leave it open and bring your valuables with you. Your window will get smashed without second thought if the door is locked. Better to lose non-valuables, than to have glass everywhere, no window to roll up when it rains, and maybe a big bill from the rental car company.

  48. Aloha Mark and mahalo for that alternative idea. Hmmm… a reverse psychology trick? It just might work. :)

  49. Actually, it isn’t reverse psychology – it is the sad fact that the scum that breaks into cars here do not hesitate to smash windows. So if they have decided your car is the target, they will open the door with or without smashing the window.

    Trust me on this one. I lost one window, and some stuff (that cost less than the window) about fifteen years ago. Haven’t lost a single thing since.

  50. That is an interesting twist in thinking, yet sort of logical. I You might start to have a bug problem after a while, though, I’d imagine. Like people that rent convertibles and leave the tops down overnight at their hotels. Eeeek.

  51. I’ve left the top down on our Jeep for 5 days now, and have not had a single problem with bugs or thieves.

  52. Just returned from Maui and we did the “Road to Hana” it was beautiful but a bit disappointed that all of the falls weren’t ‘turned on’ LOL!! There hasn’t been enough rain lately so some were dry and the few that did have water were difficult to get to unless you’re an avid hiker. By the time we got to 7 sacred pools it was over crowded (by our standards) so maybe coming from the back side would be better (maybe next trip). The drive after along the south side was SO worth the effort. Not as treacherous as some say – but if your not a confidant driver, I wouldn’t reccommend it – as its not all paved and can be very narrow. Locals were fine as long as you give them room to get around you and just use commons sense! Shakah always helps!

  53. We just returned from Maui and thoroughly enjoyed the Road to Hana, although it rained most of the day. Since Hurricane Felicia was approaching, we thought it best to go ahead with our plans and it was beautiful. We SWAM in pools with waterfalls during the rain, a very unique experience, and possible since there was no lightening as with Oklahoma rainstorms.

    The Seven Sacred Pools were fabulous but crowded, compared to the other stops. It put us behind and we had to return to Central Maui in the dark, which was no fun.

    Halfway to Hana had some great snacks and we made a lunch of it. Maybe we were really hungry but they were the best dogs and burgers we had had in a while.

    Use Maui Revealed guidebook. It is by far the best of the three I purchased, and gave some wonderful tips for this excursion. Do NOT attempt this trip without some sort of guidebook or you will simply be following the herds and will miss some great views. Aloha.

  54. Aloha Robin – two points I’d like to make – first is you’re absolutely right you need some guidebook in Maui. Maui revealed is a good book in many ways – especially in conveniently landing visitors at places where they can do damage to the environment, cultural resources and themselves without telling you how to minimize those impacts.

    Which brings me to my second point: don’t swim in the pools when it is raining heavily (like it was when you were here) as flash floods are common, and people *regularly* drown and/or are pushed over waterfalls during these times. A young woman visiting Maui died just a few months ago falling from a waterfall. Every year there are drownings in this manner.

    [Edited]

  55. Point well taken. I should have clarified….Hurricane Felicia (which was downgraded to a tropical depression) was headed toward the islands but still a few days out. So, the rain we experienced was simply light showers and was actually very pleasant, although there was no sunshine. We did take our guide book’s recommendation not to swallow any of the water when swimming and not to swim with open cuts or sores, which I understand is especially important during the rain.

    I thought Maui Revealed did a good job in warning the readers of various dangers, although we followed their less adventuresome recommendations, as we were traveling with my fit but 70 year old mother. We did not stray too far off the beaten paths. I can only comment on our experiences, which was very enjoyable and did not damage the environment or cultural resources in any way.

  56. Hi Robin – Thanks for sharing your experience from the Road to Hana. I’m glad you enjoyed it despite the bad weather. If you ever return to Maui and can catch a sunny day along the Road to Hana, try it again. It’s even better on a sunny day.

    As you probably read in my post, I think the Maui Revealed Guide is the best I’ve found. The milemarker detail is very helpful, though there’s still an element of adventure in finding certain stops.

  57. My hubby and I’ll be flying to Maui from Canada in December for two weeks. We’ll be doing a circuit of the island staying in B&B’s on our way. We are looking forward to trekking the Hana Highway and appreciate the tips. Have read all these articles on Go Visit Hawaii and find them most informative. Thanks!

  58. Hi Alison – Two weeks in Maui in December? Sounds fantastic!

    I’m glad you are finding the articles at Go Visit Hawaii to be useful. I write from my own experiences and I’ve learned a lot from my trips to Hawaii.

    Thanks for taking the time to provide your kind feedback!

  59. Kool! I’ve never subscribed to a blog before. Thanks for your reply. Our plan is to drive from Wailuku to Napili via Lahaina, travel along the north shore through Paia to Hana, then Keokea, then Kehei finally retracing our steps to the Kahului airport. Since sending my note of Aug 26, I’ve read your articles about Highway 30 and how dangerous it is making me a trifle anxious. Someone also mentioned unpaved roads. Is there a website I could go to that would give me up-to-date info on Maui highways or can you put my mind to rest somewhat about the actual road conditions? We are looking forward to an adventure but perhaps this is beyond our criteria. We both ride motorcycles so know what a tight corner can mean. Any input would be appreciated. Thx, Alison

  60. Hi Alison,

    The main part of the road to Hana is safe. It’s well paved. It does have lots and lots of curves and one-lane bridges, though, but nothing too challenging.

    The article I wrote today related to driving way past the main sites of the road to Hana. At that point the road is unpaved. As long as you don’t drive past that you really don’t have anything to worry about.

    I don’t know of an online map of Maui showing the unpaved areas. I sure wish I did, because it would have made my article much easier to write if I could refer to a map like that.

    I’m going to have to review your route and plans and get back to you.

    Will you be renting motorcycles on Maui?

  61. Hi Sheila: Gosh! You’re quick! Thanks for your help. I’ll explain a little further about our route and stays if I may … we arrive obviously in Kahului and will spend the next 3 nights at the Old Wailuku Inn then we’ll take Hwy 30 around the SW tip thru Lahaina and stay at Napili Bay for 3 nights. We’ll tackle the dreaded NW Maui road then across the top end through Kahului then Paia and so on taking 36/360 to Hana. We stay in Hana for 3 nights then head south on Hwy 31 then north on Hwy 37 to Keokea where we stay for 2 nights taking in the volcano and the highlands then through Makawao back to Kahului then south on Hwy 311/350 to Kihei for 3 days then once again back to Kahului and our flight home. No we won’t be renting bikes to do the trip; we have way too much junk to carry around but we are going to look into scooters for a fun day trip in Kihei. Hope this makes our voyage clearer. Alison

  62. Thanks, Alison. I’m going to have intermittent web access over the next several days plus my brain is zapped today. :) Let me get back to you on the flip side of the weekend.

  63. I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve updated this post to include a link to this great video of the road to Hana.

  64. Hi Alison – I’ve finally had a moment to sit down with a map along with reading your plans. You probably already know this, but you will be driving some sections of road that the major car rental companies “prohibit”. Now, the rental car companies are standing guard at these roads and stopping you from going there. Some tourist can and do drive those roads, but they are assuming a bit of a risk when they do.

    I see that your plans include driving around the “top” or northwest side of Maui, too. Here’s an article I wrote on that: http://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/06/01/beware-of-driving-in-northwest-maui/

    If you plan to continue with your route, try to pick a “skinny” car, because some of those prohibited roads are super narrow. I would suggest a jeep, but since you’ll be carrying luggage and such, a jeep isn’t very secure.

    Hope this helps.

  65. Thanks for your reply, Sheila. Hope you had a relaxing weekend; sounded like you needed it by your August 26 blog.
    Since then, I’ve called Budget in Kahului and chatted with Rose who was most helpful and gave me the skinny on kapu roads.
    I’ve revamped our trip; it’ll mean doubling up on roads previously travelled but it’ll also give us a second chance to appreciate Maui’s beauty.
    We are so looking forward to our trip.
    Mahalo!

  66. Great post and discussion Sheilah! This is worth a tweet, so will do right now :)

  67. Just got back from a week in Maui! Super fantastic vacation. We did the Road to Hana with a tour on Tuesday and it was so much fun. We wasn’t able to go to the pools because of the weather outlook…all the beaches in State Parks were closed due to weather. We didn’t have any bad weather the whole time we were there. Everyone was so friendly and nice and helpful. Lahaina was a blast and the dinner magic show at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel was super.
    Midge Neitz

  68. Number three “…Definitely plan to make a whole day of the drive there and back. Ideally, an overnight stay in the town of Hana.”

    Great advice!

  69. I made this drive back when I lived in Hawaii and loved it. It took a long time but the scenery was well worth the drive. An amazing place I must say!

  70. my wife and i are planning a trip to maui the first week in march is it better to take the road to hana on a weekday? do you think the traffic will be lighter then? we will be staying in lahaina–about how long of a trip is it one way to the recommended turn around area? i am a very experienced driver app. how long will it take? should i buy the “mile by mile” or “maui revealed” guidebook in your opinion? any info anybody can give me will be greatly appreciated.

    • Russ – I don’t think the day of the week really matters much when it comes to driving the road to Hana. In my opinion, the weather forecast is far more important. So, check the weather reports when you are there and aim for the day that looks the sunniest on the Hana side.

      The amount of time it takes to get to say a good turning around point really depends on how many stops you make. I would allow approximately 3 hours one way.

      I’m a fan of the revealed guides, with some exceptions. (Exceptions = the book seems to encourage trespassing which I absolutely discourage & the book can send you on a wild goose chase hikes into dangerous situations.)

      My advice would be to get the revealed guide before you go to Maui. Carefully read and highlight the road to Hana section. Make yourself a cheat sheet of all the stops that sound interesting and note the associated mile markers and landmarks.

  71. thanks for the prompt response and advice we are really looking forward to the trip

  72. what the hecks up with the weather. i checked the long range forecast as we are leaving tom. a.m. and it has rain and high winds forecast for every day we are gonna be there!!!

  73. just got home yesterday–maui was even more beautiful than we expected. it did rain most of the day we did the road to hana so we couldn’t actually get out and do any of the hikes but all the waterfalls were full and i mean FULL. even though we pretty much had to stay in the car it was still a worthwhile adventure. it let up enough we went down to the black sand beach it was gorgeous. a good thing was we stayed in lahaina and it didn’t rain there at all. my wife and i are looking forward to returning to your paradise on earth

  74. The best experience going to hana is renting a scooter. Just a 50cc scooter with couple of your friends. You can stop where most cars can’t and take photos. I actually find it faster then a car most of the way. Aloha

  75. The Road to Hana on Maui is one of the things in my to do list…hopefully in the next year or two.

    If you are prone to carsickness, you could try wearing those pressure point bracelets. They helped me in several occations.

  76. Our family leaves tomorrow for Maui. The road to Hana is one of our must sees. The forecast has been showing gusty winds and some rain. Hopefully it will calm down for our trip. So excited! Your site is very helpful:)

  77. I will be going to Maui for a week around 4th of July. My first question is, I didn’t see anyone commenting on the red sand beach. Has anyone visited it? Is it hard to get to?

    Secondly, I will be coming from Kihei and was planning on driving North up the Mokulele Hwy past the Kahului Airport and get onto Hana and take it east, is that the best way to go? Is it suggested to turnaround in the city of Hana and drive back the way you came?

    Thirdly, I have read several articles that suggest you rent snorkle equipment for the week and snorkle different beaches. My concern is for my personal belongings. It will be 2 girls, and female bathing suits do not have pockets. I was thinking of getting a drysack to keep the car key, id and credit card in. I’m not thrilled to have to have this on my wrist at every beach, but what else can you do with your belongings? From what I read thiefs can pick out rental cars pretty easy, so I don’t want to leave stuff in there…Any other suggestions? Also, I would like to get some good pictures, but am I better off just taking throw away camera’s to the beaches?

  78. Hi Sheila,

    Thanks for the great article regarding the Road to Hana. We are coming out to Hawaii in mid-August and I want to ask you a question regarding the vehicle we should rent. We will be there for about 9 days. I am not sure if we will really need a car for 9 days (we will be on our honeymoon). I would definitely want to rent a car for a few days but I’d like to hear from you if you think having a car for 9 days would make sense? Would we really need it that much or will our resort (Wailea Marriott) and surrounding area have enough for us to do? Also regarding the Road to Hana, what vehicle would you recommend? I was looking at a convertible but I am not sure if that would be rugged enough for the drive? Could you let me know?

    Thanks again!

    Sam

    • Sam – in my opinion, you are better off renting a car for all/most of your time. As I mention in this article, http://www.govisithawaii.com/2007/10/18/to-rent-or-not-to-rent/ Most resorts are approximately 45 minutes from the airport, so it would probably cost you a bundle just getting a shuttle to and from the airport. Plus, there’s really lots to see and do on Maui that makes the rental worthwhile.

      Maui has some fantastic restaurants that are romantic and memorable for a honeymoon, but you’ll need a car to drive to them. See my post on finding the best Maui restaurants: http://www.govisithawaii.com/2008/04/28/how-to-find-the-best-maui-restaurants/

      As for what kind of car to rent, personally I always opt for the smallest car that has a trunk. I also recommend you get a quote from these guys as they always seem to have the lowest rates: http://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/ Another preference I have in Hawaii is renting with AVIS. Their cars tend to be cleaner and bug-free.

      If you wanted to splurge for the road to Hana day and you’ve checked the weather report and things look clear, a convertible or Jeep is really a treat. It’s nice to have the fresh air and hear the waterfalls and birds. Bear in mind that you will be driving through a rainforest, so there’s a chance a shower could happen.

      Hope that helps and have a fabulous honeymoon!

  79. Hi Sheila,

    Thank you for the great tips! Also what a great link for the car rentals. I will give them a call tomorow.

    Thanks again for all your help! Awesome website. Keep up the good work.

    Sam

  80. I just have returned from Maui with my parents and enjoyed it!
    We did a whole day of the road to Hana ( ended up missing the first two falls ). I’d like to point out that yes, the Guided CD tour and the book ” Maui Reveled” are a good thing to ahve but to also be careful to what they tell you. Some points of the book and CD tell you about places and you go to them only to fidn that its private property! While yes, Some of the locals may not mind some will and you shouldn’t go into the property.

    This happened many times and we ended up wasting gas.

    I’d also like to bring attion to the grave of Charles Lindbergh. If you get the CD guide it will tell you NOT to go vist teh grave due to that his family has ASKED that you not. So please respect his family and do not vist his gravsite.
    ( I do not think that the book will tell you this though. )

  81. I am hiking across Haleakala on Oct. 21 – Oct. 24. My main concern is how to get from Kahului airport to Haleakala, as I’ll be arriving between 5-6pm. Also, I’ll be coming down into Kipahulu and will need to get back to Kahului to meet some other people on Oct. 24 (Sunday). What are your recommendations for finding transportation? I don’t want to rent a car from the airport to volcano, because then I have to go retrieve it. However, I haven’t been able to find transportation from Kipahulu to even Hana (where I could rent a car potentially). I’ve been frantically searching the internet for days now, and so far your blog and responses have proven to be the most effective and thoughtful.

    What would you recommend? Should I try to hire someone on Craigslist? Or, should I taxi from Kipahulu to Hana and rent a car? Should I try taking a tour bus from Kahului to get to the top?

    Please help!

    • Hi Jonathan –

      You’ve got quite a challenge there and I’m afraid there’s no easy answer. Here’s some food for thought and ideas that may be of some help:

      - The Maui Bus might help you get part of the way. http://www.co.maui.hi.us/index.aspx?NID=609

      - Hitchhiking is a bit more common in Hawaii than on the mainland.

      - I’m not aware of any cab service in Hana.

      - Per this Hana airport website, Dollar Rent A Car is available with prior arrangements from the airport. http://hawaii.gov/hnm/ground-transportation

      - Wonder if you could fly from Hana to Kahului?

      Hope these ideas are of some help. Good luck!

  82. Hi Sheila,

    First of all Thanks for responding to all my Posts. I have a few more questions/concerns before i head to Maui next week. we only rented a regular economy car for two of us since its more in our affordability range. is it ok to drive that kind of a car to Haleakala summit and on Road to Hana? i mean i have read on various other blogs that we need a 4WD. its scaring me now because i am sure all the rental locations must have ran out of all the cars by now for next week. we are planning to stay on paved roads all the time. if thats the case do you think we should be ok with our little economy car.have you any idea of how the weather is going to be in mid feb . i am worried that it could rain bad and we have to put off all our plans, driving all those scenic routes. also is it pretty safe to ride on the roads. i mean all of them in pictures look so beautiful yet isolated so i am scared of getting mobbed or something like that. Thanks in advance for your help. Highly appreciated

    • Sindy – you don’t need to worry at all about having an economy car for driving the road to Hana, the road to Haleakala or really anywhere else in Maui.

      The only caution I would add is that you should never leave any valuables in your car.

      Enjoy your time in Maui. After your trip, be sure and leave a comment to let us know how things go.

  83. My wife and I drove the the whole loop today. We came in from the south side. What a crazy ride. We had rented a convirtible mustang and loved the adventurous drive. We had a few close encounters coming around blind corners and other people not staying on their own side of the road. The excitement of the amazing views and driving through the crazy terain will definitely be a memory we will never forget. My suggestion would be to drive the whole thing our rental company didn’t say anything about not being covered but we made it anyway! just take it easy on the unpaved roads. Aloha!

    • Dan – glad you enjoyed the Road to Hana and all the way beyond. Thanks for the report.

      The rental car companies never say anything about driving the forbidden roads, but the maps they provide clearly indicate the unauthorized sections of road and states that driving on them is a violation of the contract. There’s some fine print in the contract as well. So, there’s definitely a risk even when the rental car agents don’t specifically speak it when you get your car.

  84. Hana, and driving the road to get there, are among one of my most favorite travel memories. It was over 20 years ago, and my husband and I were newlyweds, and had no idea what we were doing other than we did leave very early in the morning to visit for the day from Lahania area. it was during a drought, or a dry season, so there weren’t any waterfalls. We totally missed the black sand beach, but there was a beach that was perhaps associated with a hotel that was in a perfect cove which had big waves, but no undertow – PERFECT. Would love to go back again and stay a while.

  85. Aloha Margo – I think you;re talking about Hamoa Beach

  86. Just finished the road to Hana and beyond. My recommendations for the best time are: plan on spending the night at Hana if at all possible – it made things much easier; rent a Jeep – we did the road beyond Hana and had no problems whatsoever.

  87. I did it two weeks ago. Beautiful. I recommend you read all the tips from these wise people above(and the official island ones). Challenging in spots but not that bad. A couple of locals had a little fun with us at the bridges, but it IS their home. Just get out of their way. Driven a lot of “drives” but this is at the top of that list with Bear Tooth Pass in WY/MT.

  88. Living on Oahu, we were excited to travel the Road to Hana, but unfortunately for us, the weather didn’t cooperate on the day we chose to go. I’m a very confident driver, but have learned I’m the world’s most horrible passenger. And the signs that state ‘falling rock’…they aren’t kidding. Just not a great experience for any of us, truthfully. I can see how a bright sunny, no raining day would change that around though. I’ve jumped from an airplane, but found myself frequently scooting over to the middle of the car and away from the edge. ;) Hope everyone has a better experience! Aloha!

  89. After mentioning that the “Road to Hana” is the one from Paia to Hana approaching Hana from the North, you also mentioned this…

    ————
    That’s the majority of the road to Hana. I want to make it clear that I am suggesting that you originate your drive from the Piilani Highway (Highway 31) that brings you to Hana from the South.
    ————

    This is really confusing as you are mentioning that your suggestion is to approach Hana from the South and in your follow up article that tells us about the dangerous back side of the road to Hana, you mention that it is the Pilani Highway… :-(

  90. My wife and I just did it a couple of weeks ago and decided to spend the night in Hana…makes it a much more relaxing trip, plus you get to go see the Seven Sacred Pools in the morning (on the next day) before the hoards arrive!

    Aloha

  91. Hi I am wondering if this road has sections without gaurdrails or if there are very high cliffs close to the road. I have a fear of hieghts and it reallt freaks me out when driving along cliffs like US1 along the CA coast line.

    • The road mostly has guard rails. Probably a good way to see what it’s like it to check out the new Google Map Street views of the road to Hana. For example, you could start with this link.

  92. Hi Sheila! I really enjoy reading your post.

    This December I will be in Maui for my honeymoon. I will stay in Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului and I want to ask you which is the best way to start the road to Hana. Is it taking to the west via Hwy 36 or to the south via Hwy 37, then Hwy 31 to the west and the Hwy 331 to get Hana?

    I will appreciate your advice to plan a great trip in Maui!

    Thanks in advance.


    Victor

  93. Unfortunately my ride on the road to Hana was pure hell. Mainly, because my husband is normally a fast driver..before we started I asked him nicely and politely to please drive carefully and slowly but driving fast comes naturally to him so I was a nervous wreck all through the ride, not to mention I kept imagining him crashing the rental car or scraping it along the side of the mountain, we came sooooo close to it many times..PHEW! We even got into an argument because I felt like he was driving too fast but he kept telling me to relax and that I just overreacting…perhaps I was but it was a sad, frightening experience for me although I must admit the scenery was breath taking.. just beautiful, serene and gorgeous..I would do it again but not with my husband!!

  94. We will be coming to Maui next year on a cruise and plan on driving the road to Hana. I will be renting a Jeep (any suggestions on a good rental place would help) Bu the rest of our group want to rent motorcycles. Any suggestions for all of us would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Robbie — one thing you’ll want to do is to check which Maui port your ship will go to. It should be either Kahalui (which is close to the airport with lots of rental companies) or Lahaina (which has some rental car sites, but much more limited compared to the airport.) So, you’ll want to make sure that your car pick up point matches the port your ship will be docked.

      For rental car advice along with the company that we usually find the lowest rates with — see this post: http://www.govisithawaii.com/2011/01/19/7-hawaii-car-rental-money-saving-ideas/

      I’m not familiar with any of the motorcycle rental companies. Though after a quick google search with the keywords “Maui motorcycle rental” turned up several results.

  95. Sheila,

    Any activities you suggest after 6PM, Next week? I beleive Sunsets at 6PM in Oct, so after out road trips to Hana and Halekela, any activities to go on and best places for Shopping ?
    Thanks.

  96. We are coming on a cruise ship into Lahaina by cruise ship then getting a shuttle to a rental car by the airport. We want to ride to Hana how much time should we allow to get back to the airport by five pm

    • From the town of Hana to the airport in Kahalui takes about 2 hours to 2 hours and 15 minutes without stopping. If you drive beyond Hana, make sure you allow extra time.

  97. Sheila

    All great posts I’m in Maui now at te 4 seasons just went to the crater and it was breathtaking My wife is an amazing photog and I believe the drive to Hana would afford her great opportunity for photos of so many different things Other than the road to Hana should we consider a drive to lahaina and to kapulua ? Or the arboretum as well to satisfy her talented eye whale watching later in the week with cap things off but would love to hear any other suggestions

    Thanks for all you do !!!’

  98. Hi Sheila! Again..superb article..just the kind of information I wanted :) just want to check one thing..if I start for the Road to Hana from Kahului (close to the airport) around 9 am, and plan to stop at each of the points you have mentioned, plus do the Pipiwai trail-Is it all doable in 1 day? considering the immense photoops and time to enjoy the same! Plan is to explore the road to Hana the whole day before returning back late evening to Kanapalli. I feel I have such less time to explore Maui!

  99. Hi there anyone,
    Was planning driving to Hana can you continue to drive back to Kahana via Wailia on coastline if im driving a jeep instead of doubling back? Thanks hope someone can help .

  100. Just drove the road today after reading your article last night. Fantastic! Thanks for the pointers on everything.

    There is one thing I wanted to mention, though. After reading your article, I didn’t want to drive all the way around the southern half of the road, through the unpaved parts. But my dad (who was actually doing the driving) really wanted to, so we did.

    That drive turned out to be one of my favorite parts (there were many). Sure, the road was bumpy and narrow, but it wasn’t that bad at all. Just drive slowly (very slowly) and you’ll be fine.

    I just loved watching the transition from rain forest to desert and back to rain forest again. I would really recommend that others try this as well (just make sure that you have good, third party insurance on your rental).

    And thanks again for an excellent writeup.

    • Thanks very much for your feedback Andrew.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the dessert drive around the southern end and didn’t have any issues. It’s interesting that you found that to be one of your many favorite parts as it is one of our least favorite parts. We all have different tastes. :-) Because the road is prohibited by car rental companies, it would be unwise for us to recommend driving that road and violating car contracts. I might add that if someone is considering taking that risk to drive the prohibited section, don’t do it on a rainy day because of the potential for rock/mud slides and the road can wash out.

  101. > don’t do it on a rainy day because of the potential for rock/mud
    > slides and the road can wash out.

    Yes, and also ask a ranger in Haleakala park if there are any closures before you head off.

  102. The Road to Hana is simply the best eco-tour activity in Maui. The attractions along the way are eye-poppingly beautiful!

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