The journey is the destination when it comes to the Road to Heavenly Hana. Just one long, winding, narrow road connects the tiny town of Hana, also known as the “the last Hawaiian place,” and its outlying areas to the rest of the Valley Isle. The some 50-mile, three-hour leisurely drive from Paia to Hana, embedded along Maui’s northeastern coast, reveals some of the most astounding, panoramic ocean views in the Pacific. Along the way are jungle-enhanced swimming holes, tropical flowers, lava tubes, ancient tide pools, phenomenal overlooks and a number of the world’s most majestic waterfalls.
Hundreds of rental cars embark on the journey to the rustic town daily, drawn to Hana’s oasis of Hawaiian life, as well as the jaw-dropping views along the way. But this trip does not come effortlessly. The drive entails almost 60 one-lane bridges and more than 600 hairpin curves. It’s a winding, cliff-hugging adventure, but one worth making, as long as you’ve got the skill and patience.
Prefer not to drive? Let Valley Isle Excursions do all the driving and storytelling on this incredible road while you enjoy the journey without the stress of driving it yourself. Our relaxed and comfortable “local style” hospitality includes a continental breakfast, a classic Hana picnic and over 4 hours worth of stops.We take care of everything while you sit back and relax in elevated seats that provides the best views on the highway.
It’s a good idea to pack some food for the drive. A great option is to grab some sandwiches at Hana Picnics in Kahului. The employees here will set you up with all the fixings you need to make a proper meal, including fresh french rolls, cheese, your choice of meat and all kinds of toppings. Once you get to a location of your preference, all you have to do is put the ingredients together the way you’d like them. They’ll even give you a cooler with ice to keep everything fresh for a $5 deposit.
You’ll also want to fill up your tank with gas, and get all your communications out of the way before you hit the remote road since you’ll be entering cell phone free zones.
There are many sights to behold on this adventure. At the beginning of the trip around mile marker 2 is Twin Falls in Haiku. This gem is nestled on private property that only requires an easy five-minute walk. Father along the Road to Hana at about mile marker 19 is the triple tiered beauty, Upper Waikani Falls. Commonly known as “Three Bears,” each tier represents the three bears in the Goldilocks fairytale.
Just beyond the halfway point to Hana around mile marker 10 is the Garden of Eden Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Farther along is Puohokamoa Falls and Haipuaena Falls. And perched along the coast at mile marker 12 is Kaumahina State Wayside. This rest stop has bathrooms, picnic benches and a partial view of the Keanae Peninsula.
At Wailua, just past mile marker 18, stop at the historic St. Gabriel’s, known as the “Coral Miracle Church.” Shortly after this point, the road affords you with panoramic views of Keanae Peninsula, the scenic bay and the natural arch at Paepaemoana Point. Further along, the road continues past several falls (swimming is not recommended) and to the pleasant Puaa Kaa Wayside Park between mile markers 22 and 23. Another great spot to stretch your legs and enjoy the lush scenery.
The Road to Hana highway will be a highlight of your trip; a marvelous adventure yielding the most beautiful, natural and untouched utopia on Maui. And remember, if you do brave the drive, be courteous of others on the road. And don’t forget to pick up some sandwiches to go at Hana Picnics.
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