“The Road to Hana Maui is one of the most picturesque road trip drives in the United States and features over 15 waterfalls, incredible coastal views, delicious banana bread, and leads to the vastly popular Wai’anapanapa State Park…”
If you are planning to visit Maui, then there is no doubt that you’ve heard of the incredibly popular Road to Hana. It is a 64.4-mile road that stems from the small town of Paia all the way to Hana. It features over 15 waterfalls, incredible coastal views, delicious banana bread – and leads to the vastly popular Waiʻānapanapa State Park, which is most known for its Black Sand Beach. It typically takes most people 2-3 hours to drive through the Road to Hana and that is without factoring the time it takes to visit anything in particular. We recommend picking one day dedicated to exploring and adventuring the Road to Hana to truly experience it!
Through this article, you will find out what to do every step of the way – starting from Paia all the way to Hana, and even including some extra spots little ways after. If you want to make your experience one to remember, then stick with us as we get into the ultimate guide for the Road to Hana Maui!
TIPS FOR THE ROAD TO HANA
- Start early – We recommend starting early (7 am) so that you can avoid crowds and be able to visit as many spots within a day.
- Be flexible – We recommend planning to visit your must-visit spots, but also being able to be flexible to go on a spontaneous adventure to a waterfall that you find along the way.
- Plan to be able to navigate without cellular data – We lost cellular data, which meant we were unable to use Google Maps, or anything of the sort to help us hit the spots that we wanted. We were able to make it through by knowing the exact Mile Markers for each spot we wanted to visit.
- Bring snacks and drinks – There are not many places to eat along the way, so bringing your own food, snacks, and drinks will make your trip along the Road to Hana that much better.
THE ROAD TO HANA MAUI STOPS
Keep in mind there aren’t very many places along the Road to Hana to grab a bite to eat, nor does the road have any gas stations along the way. Make sure your gas tank is filled, and to bring food, snacks, and drinks.
First stop: Twin Falls – Mile Marker #2
The first place you will notice along the Road to Hana will be a crowded parking lot with a food truck. This is where you will start the Twin Falls hike. During our research on Maui, we came across Twin Falls, but we didn’t make it a top priority and it wasn’t something we were overly excited for… But that quickly changed when we saw the waterfall!
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total time: 45-minutes out-and-back
- Best time to hike: 7 am – 830 am
Twin Falls is one of the most popular and well-known waterfalls on the Road to Hana. Although is it the most visited, we definitely recommend stopping by. To avoid crowds, we recommend visiting early from around 7am-830am, where it will be nearly empty. Twin Falls is extremely magical and something you can’t miss on the Road to Hana. Being from Oahu, I have never been able to see a waterfall that truly has teal water. As we approached Twin Falls, seeing how clear and vibrant blue the water was felt out of this world. There was nobody else at the waterfall at the time (we visited at 8 am) which made the experience much more special.
Na’ili’ili-Haele Stream & Waterfall – Mile Marker #6.7
Continuing down the Road, 4.5 miles after driving past Twin Falls, you will come across this bamboo forest. The Na’ili’ili-Haele Stream features 2-3 waterfalls and an awesome bamboo forest. It is the second stop along the Road to Hana that we recommend. It is quite popular, and you will notice that by the number of cars parked at the entrance.
Waikamoi Falls – Mile Marker #10
After driving approximately 2.9-miles past the Na’ili’Haele Stream near mile marker 10, you will spot this beautiful waterfall called Waikamoi Falls. If you continue past the first waterfall upstream, you will spot the second waterfall – which is featured in the image below. The first waterfall has a cliff jumping spot, and is normally the spot everyone stops at, but if you choose to continue to the second, you will possibly discover it to be empty – and all to yourself! The second was much bigger and has this very interesting concaved shape which really stuck out to me.
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total time: 30-minutes
- Best time to hike: Anytime
Waikamoi Falls is a beautiful and quick 30-minute hike up a stream to a beautiful waterfall. The shape of the overall waterfall stands out and has a concave to it that makes it so unique.
Do not hike this without grippy shoes. We hiked to the Waikamoi Falls in the rain barefoot and regretted it. We slipped multiple times and had to hike very slowly. Don’t make the same mistake as us – this hike would have been much easier if we just wore proper shoes. It was a bit hard to hike up-stream with rain, but it is completely do-able and most people only hike to the first falls along the road, so you will possibly get the falls all to yourselves.
Ke’anae – Mile Marker #16.8
Located past mile marker #16.8 is the village of Ke’anae. There is no swimming here because of how jagged and rocky the shoreline is – but what this area is known for is its incredible banana bread from a place called Aunty Sandy’s! They also have tables to sit on and sell hot dogs, sandwiches, pineapple treats, and other foods and snacks.
HALFWAY TO HANA – Mile Marker #17
Upper Waikani Falls – Mile Marker #19
Also known as Three Bears Falls, Upper Waikani Falls is an incredible waterfall with three streams – which makes it so unique and picturesque. The “hike” down to the falls is really quick taking roughly 15 minutes out and back. This spot feels so unique, and when you get here you will definitely understand!
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total time: 10-15 Minutes
- Best time to hike: Anytime
Three Bears Falls is a quick 20-minute hike located roughly an hour into the Road to Hana. It is phenomenal, to say the least, and the hike to the falls was beautiful and not a challenge. We parked a few minutes past the falls and walked back to the bridge where a little area was left open for people to climb down. After climbing down, the “hike” took about 10 minutes and were greeted with the most beautiful sight. I could sit here and listen to the falls all day. You definitely need to make this waterfall a visit on the Road to Hana.
Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside – Mile Marker #22.6
Located approximately 5 miles past the halfway point to Hana, you will come across Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside. It’s is an awesome place to stop to use the restroom (and is one of the only places that has one), have a picnic, or to visit a waterfall (that is also visible from the right side of the road). The only con to this place is the waterfall is smaller and can get crowded.
Hanawi Falls – Mile Marker #24
Hanawi Falls is a popular spot on the Road to Hana. It is a 30-foot waterfall and is located right past mile-24 marker.
Makapipi Falls – Mile Marker #25
Practically all the waterfalls you come across on the Road to Hana are viewed from below – but for Makapipi, you are viewing it from above, which is a very different perspective. Located little ways after mile-25 marker, it is one of the most beautiful sights on the whole road itself, and one you will definitely spot along the way!
Hana Lava Tube & Hana Farms Fruit Stand – Mile Marker #31
Hana Lava Tube
This is an awesome place to stop by at to explore these secluded caves formed by lava approximately 960 years ago. Hana Lava Tube is open from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm and costs $11.95 to enter and is free for guests under the age of 5.
Hana Farms Fruit Stand
If you chose to skip over visiting Ka’anae, then this is your opportunity to stop by at the Hana Farms Fruit Stand to grab some banana bread, fruit, iced coffee, etc.
Wai’anapanapa State Park – Mile Marker #32
Also known as the Black Sand Beach, Wai’anapanapa State Park is an incredibly popular tourist location. It is located right off of Hana highway and is extremely unique. Visiting and seeing the contrast between the black sand and the vibrant, glistening blue waters will have you in love. It features caves, hidden blowholes, sea stacks, and other hidden gems that you’ll have to find yourself!
Kaihalulu Beach – Mile Marker #33
Kaihalulu Beach, also known as the Red Sand Beach, is located on the Eastern side of Maui. It’s a phenomenal place to watch the sunrise and is known for its unique red sand and vibrant blue waters. As of recently, a part of the trail has fallen off and makes the trail a challenge to hike down. The actual trail only takes about 10 minutes and we didn’t have any problem hiking it early in the morning.
Pipiwai Trail – Mile Marker #42
Total time: 2-3 Hours
Best time to hike: Anytime
What to bring:
- Bug Spray
Keep in mind:
- The parking fee is $25 (as of 03/24/2018)
Located at the end of the Pipiwai Trail, Waimoku Falls is a 400-foot waterfall. Hiking through a bamboo forest, across bridges, and through streams, the Pipiwai Trail is one I will never forget. The hike alone is worth it, but being gifted at the end with the Waimoku Falls makes it one you cannot miss out on. The Pipiwai Trail is located in the Haleakala National Park, so you will have to pay the $25 parking fee (as of 03/24/2018) – so make sure to take that into account when trying to plan your visit to Haleakala.
The end of the Road to Hana – Deciding factors
Now, you have two choices: continue down this road and go down the backroad to Haleakala, or go back the way you came from and head back to Paia. We chose to go through the backroad, and it was so beautiful – but also dangerous and scary at times since the road gets narrow as to only let one car go through right next to a cliff.
Note: If you are driving a rental car, you will most likely be informed to not go the backroad to Haleakala. If you end up going anyway, you will be completely liable for whatever happens to the rental car!