Maui’s Road to Hana is one of the most famous (or infamous) drives in the world and in my opinion is the #1 don’t miss thing to do on Maui.
What makes this drive so special? The Road to Hana is over 50 miles along Maui’s rugged north shore and east side with 600+ tight turns and about 50 one-lane bridges. Sound fun? It is! While it has the reputation among many as being a hair raisingly dangerous adventure, driving the Road to Hana is certainly a once in a lifetime adventure but not nearly as treacherous as many make it out to be.
I’ve driven the Road to Hana at least a half dozen times. I’ve done it by myself, with a car full (including a baby in a car seat!), in a Jeep, in a sedan, and even in a full sized pickup. I’ve even done the backside of the Road to Hana (the road past Hana) many times! I’m pulling together everything I’ve learned driving the Road to Hana from the very best stops to make to tips about what to expect. So…here we go!
What to Expect
I’ve already mentioned the 600+ sharp turns and 50+ single lane bridges so you probably already have a pretty harrowing image in your head right? Don’t worry, it’s really not so bad! The entire road from Paia to Hana (and even beyond) is entirely paved and two lanes. The bridges are not two lanes, however there’s an understood rule of letting 6-7 cars on either side pass at a time. In general, while the road is very winding, it’s relatively flat and there are very few drop offs (and there are guard rails protecting the few you will find).
What you can expect along the Road to Hana is plenty of beauty. You’ll see colorful, lush vegetation, wide sweeping views and so many waterfalls. Perhaps the most important thing to understand about driving the Road to Hana is that it’s about the journey, not the destination. Hana itself isn’t much to speak of. It’s a quiet little town with a gas station, a general store, and not much else. So this drive is less about “hurry up and get to Hana” and more about enjoying the adventure.
Now, on to the good stuff.
Stops on the Road to Hana
North shore spots: The Road to Hana officially begins in Paia (a cute little town on the north shore), but don’t plan on spending much time at any spots in the Paia/Haiku area on the day you do the Road to Hana. This includes exploring Paia town, stopping at Ho’okipa overlook, or hiking to Twill Falls. These are all things you should do, but do them on another day. Getting to the north shore from Kihei or Lahaina isn’t all that far. You’ll need the FULL day to see all of the highlights on the eastern side of the island. So grab breakfast in Paia, pick up a picnic lunch, fill up your gas tank, and hit the road!