29 of the Best Road to Hana Stops

29 of the Best Road to Hana Stops

A waterfall surrounded by green rain forest on the Road to Hana tour in Maui.

Gushing waterfalls, black-sand beaches, rugged coastline — the Road to Hana is the Maui adventure of a lifetime, full of hairpin turns and one-way bridges alongside dramatic drops down to the sea. If you’re looking for the best Road to Hana stops for your bucket-list excursion, look no further than this action-packed guide that breaks down almost every spot you’ll see cars parked

Use it to plot out your Road to Hana tour and pick priorities for your carload. Will you pull over to sample each fresh-baked banana bread stand? Hike through bamboo and rainbow eucalyptus forests? Or dip your toes in every waterfall-fed pool?

One of the most popular activities for a Maui itinerary, the epic drive traces a route to the remote town of Hana on the eastern end of the island. Most vacationers stick to the well-trodden northeastern path along the winding Hana Highway, which rises through lush rain forests and descends to sandy bays, returning back the way they came.

This Road to Hana guide goes beyond that to the Piilani Highway, a southeastern route in the shadow of the Haleakala volcano that connects to Maui’s upcountry region. It’s not as common, due to a few gripping miles of rough and narrow roads that hug cliffs with blind corners. But get past that and you’ll be treated to smooth-paved run through lava fields and rocky canyons with sweeping ocean views.    

Below you’ll find ideas for where to stop on the Road to Hana, along with handy info like parking and restroom availability. Since mile markers are sometimes hard to see or overgrown, we’ve also provided mileage distances from Paia (Lower Paia Park) or Hana. Scroll to the bottom for a Road to Hana guide, including tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and a list of must-bring items.


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Road to Hana Stops

Paia

This coastal town marks an unofficial starting point for the Road to Hana trek, and the last chance you’ll have to fill up on gas before you hit the cliffs and rain forests of the remote eastern side of Maui. Most of the action centers around the intersection of Baldwin Avenue and the Hana Highway, where a collection of homegrown cafes, beachy boutiques and gift shops huddle behind colorful timber facades with shady awnings. If you pass through in the wee morning hours (as you should to get a healthy jump on the traffic), you’ll likely find most businesses still shuttered, but since Kahului Airport is just 5 miles down the road, you can easily pop back by to check out the scene on another day. With a couple of beach parks here on the Paia Bay, you might even consider it for a half-day stint on your arrival or departure from the island.
Location: Starting point. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Restaurants, fuel and shopping.

Hookipa Beach Park and Hookipa Lookout

If you’ve yet to experience the wave-lashed northern coast of Maui, Hookipa Beach Park is the perfect spot to pull over and check out windsurfers tackling the frothy swells. It’s just a couple miles down the road from Paia and has a sandy swath and a lookout point for snapping photos.
Location: 2.5 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Toilets, picnic tables.

Twin Falls

The first of many Road to Hana waterfalls, this series of cascades and pools is reached via a short and easily accessible walking trail. Don’t turn around at the first gush you see, though — there are actually multiple falls to discover and onlookers tend to filter down a bit further down the line. Some folks make this a swimming stop, but be wary of spending too much time here this early in the journey since there’s so much more to see.
Location: Mile marker 2, 12 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Farm stand.

Waikamoi Ridge Trail

If you’re eager to get out and stretch your legs, this nearly mile-long trail may be just the ticket. The path cuts through lush forests of bamboo, eucalyptus and fern foliage with elevated lookouts of the coast and green canopy below. It’s an easy trek, but you should think twice before traipsing along in sandals, as you’ll encounter lots of stumps and roots and the ground can get muddy and slippery after a bit of rain.
Location: Mile marker 9, 19.3 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Picnic table.

This bamboo forest is one of the most popular Road to Hana stops located in Maui’s Garden of Eden.

Garden of Eden

One of few attractions along the road that require an entrance fee, the Garden of Eden arboretum is worth a visit if you’re into botanical sights and well-maintained nature trails. Weaving paths on the 26-acre plot here pass by bamboo forests, banana and mango trees (one is a century old), and hundreds of tropical blossoms in about every vibrant shade you can imagine. There’s also overlooks of lush green valley descending into the ocean and of Puohokamoa Falls gushing into a pool ringed by greenery. You’ll likely want to wander for an hour or so to justify the admission cost, but the food truck, picnic spots and restrooms make it easy to stick around for a bit.
Location: Mile marker 10, 20.3 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Toilets, picnic tables, snacks. Fee: Yes

Kaumahina State Wayside

This rest area with a view doesn’t require lingering long, but it’s perfect for a potty break if you didn’t pause at the Garden of Eden a couple miles back. You’ll also be able to catch a glimpse of the Nuaailua Bay below.
Location: Mile marker 12, 22 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Toilets, picnic tables

Honomanu Bay

You don’t have to make it all the way down to the rocky, black shore to appreciate Honomanu Bay — the lush valley that sweeps out into the sea is visible from the road above. But, if you’re itching to dip your toes in the water after spending the last couple hours in the rain forest, here’s your chance. Look for a sharp turn on the ocean side of the road just as you round the midway point of the bay and start ascending again. You might see some cars parked along the side of road, as the gravely half-mile path down to a parking area can be rough, even with a four-wheel drive. It’s not the best beach for swimming, thanks to the oft rocky waters, but if you want to picnic seaside or see the valley from this lowest point, you might want to head down this way. Otherwise, pull over for some photos from above and move on.
Location: Mile marker 14, 23.7 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes/roadside. Amenities: None.

Keanae Arboretum

If you didn’t pay to tour the Garden of Eden earlier, here’s a freebie chance to wander among some local foliage. The rainbow eucalyptus are especially intriguing — their colorful, striped bark can be so vibrant it looks painted on. Limited shoulder parking here fills up, so you might have to drive past this one to find a spot and walk (carefully) back.
Location: Mile marker 16, 26.2 miles from Paia. Parking: Shoulder/roadside. Amenities: None.

A stone church surrounded by palm trees by the ocean is a stop in this Road to Hana guide.

Keanae Peninsula

Go ahead and plan to pull off the Hana Highway for this one. The Keanae Peninsula juts between a pair of bays with a couple of lookout points where you can watch the foamy white ocean thrashing violently against jagged black lava rocks. In the 1940s, a tsunami devastated the village here, but spared the community’s 1856 stone church, which sits just a few yards back from the sea surrounded by palms. It’s still operational, and you can pop in for a visit. The banana bread and snack stand nearby is also a well-known and liked spot for a bite.
Location: Mile marker 16, 26.3 miles from Paia to turn. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Toilets, snacks.

Halfway to Hana sign

You can pull over for refreshments and a potty break here if you want to, but slowing down for a quick snap of the colorful sign announcing that you’re halfway to Hana is perfectly acceptable, too.
Location: Mile marker 17, 27 miles from Paia, 17 to Hana. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Portable toilets, snacks.

Wailua Valley State Wayside

There’s not much more here than a scenic vista that looks toward both the sea and the inland valley. If one of the few parking spots happens to be open when you drive by, go ahead and pull in and make your way up the stairs to the viewing platform. Looking toward the valley, you might spot some waterfalls and parts of the Haleakala Crater.
Location: Mile marker 18, 28.5 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: None.

Upper Waikani Falls

You can see why this is a fan favorite on the Road to Hana. It’s easily viewable from the stone bridge that crosses the Wailua Nui Stream, so most sightseers simply snap a few photos and move on, largely due to the crowding of cars and lack of parking along the shoulder. If you’re determined to rock scramble and hike down to the where the trio pools, you’ll either need to arrive early or round a couple of bends past it until you find another small parking patch on the side of the road.
Location: Mile marker 19, 29 miles from Paia. Parking: Shoulder/roadside. Amenities: None.

Puaa Kaa State Wayside and Puaa Kaa Falls

This is one of the more developed attractions on the road, with paved parking, picnic pavilions and proper potties. And if that’s not enough of a showstopper, you’ll also find a sidewalk path to a petite waterfall and an easily accessible pool (some picnic tables have a view). The amenities make it quite popular with tour buses, though, so it can get a little crowded. If you’re more into rustic scenery, you’ll find more impressive falls along the way.
Location: Mile marker 22, 32.3 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Toilets, picnic tables, grills.

Hanawi Falls

Another stunning waterfall, another parking problem. Luckily, you can see this one right from the road. If the cascades are gushing heavy, you’re aching to test the chilly pool, or you want to take a little time photographing the different angles, you’ll have to cross your fingers for space on the shoulder just before or after the bridge, another reason to get an early start.
Location: Mile marker 24, 33.7 miles from Paia. Parking: Shoulder/roadside. Amenities: None.

Hana Lava Tube

If by some chance you’re ahead of schedule as you approach Hana, there are a couple of pay-for-it attractions down Ulaino Road about 3 miles before the town. The first — Hana Lava Tube, a cave-like atmosphere formed by lava from centuries ago that cooled into a tunnel as it flowed. You can self-tour through it for a fee to see the unique formations created.
Location: Mile marker 31, 40.7 miles from Paia to turn. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Visitor center, picnic tables, portable toilets. Fee: Yes.

Kahanu Garden

A little further down Ulaino Road, Kahanu Garden holds both a collection of Pacific Islands plants and the Piilanihale Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple listed as a National Historic Landmark. Different ticket prices get you either self-guided admission to the botanical garden or a guided tour that must be arranged ahead of time. Expect lots of greenery, peaceful vibes, coastal views and a chance to spot the exterior walls of the temple from a respectful distance.
Location: Mile marker 31, 40.7 miles from Paia to turn. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Visitor center, toilets. Fee: Yes.

This black sand beach on the Road to Hana map has jagged black rocks and vibrant greenery.

Waianapanapa State Park

As land transitions to sea at Waianapanapa State Park, bright green foliage blankets jagged volcanic rocks and foamy white washes onto black sand, all in vibrant contrast. Blowholes and sea arches demonstrate the power of the ocean here, where waves thrash against the hardened lava, spewing their salty spray onto wide-eyed onlookers. If you’ve ever dreamed of playing on a black sand beach, this is the place to do it, or you can stick to the coastal hiking paths to explore all the different coves and spot seabirds.
Location: Mile marker 32, 41.6 miles from Paia to turn on Waianapanapa Road. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Toilets, showers, water fountains, picnic tables, camping/cabins.

Hana Town

Part untouched Hawaiian coastal village, part hugely popular tourist destination, Hana is like a time capsule uncovered and opened day by day. It’s remoteness keeps it from being fraught with the commercialism that typically overruns such a highly trafficked locale, while its unspoiled essence is the very thing that captivates the sightseer. A sort of delicate and symbiotic relationship. Minimal amenities here will carry you over until you reach grander civilization again — fill up with some very pricey gas if you need to, pop into the general store and a couple souvenir shops, or grab lunch from a selection of food trucks heavy on the taco, Thai and seafood specialties. Most of the Hana sightseeing strays beyond the scarce downtown hub to the oceanfront a couple blocks beyond.
Location: Mile marker 34, 44 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Markets, food trucks, hotels.

Hana Bay Beach Park

If you’re looking for an easily accessible spot for a picnic on the sand and some time splashing around, this dark-tinted cove is ideal. Hana Bay is one of the more amenity-rich beaches in the area, with ample parking and facilities, and it’s right where Hana Town meets the sea.
Location: Mile marker 34, 44 miles from Paia. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Toilets,

Koki Beach Park

Koki Beach trades well-manicured for something a little more raw and rustic. Burlap-tinted sands are soft and towel-ready, while the oft-choppy waves are best reserved for locals familiar with the break. You can dip your toes in for sure, but swimming is risky with no lifeguard and a threat of rip tides. To get there, divert down Haneoo Road toward the coast just past Hana. It loops around to meet back up with the Hana Highway and the pair of beaches along the way are worth the side trip.   
Location: Mile marker 51, 2.6 miles from Hana. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Picnic table, food truck.

Hamoa Beach

Further along Haneoo Road as you wind back toward the Hana Highway, Hamoa Beach requires parking roadside and walking down a steep and narrow drive that lands at the sand. Like Koki, this swath is bordered by lush vegetation and coconut palms, on a secluded little crescent. The break can be strong here, too, so you might see some boogie and surf boards out on the waves.
Location: Mile marker 50, 3.5 miles from Hana. Parking: Roadside/shoulder. Amenities: Portable toilets, shower.

Wailua Falls running down a cliff face surrounded by greenery is one of the most popular Road to Hana waterfalls.

Wailua Falls

Once you wind past Hana, it’s back to waterfall zone again for a few miles. Wailua Falls is a popular one to pause at, as its 80-foot drop is easily visible from the road. In the dry season, you may see nary a trickle, though. The parking shoulder is much roomier than some of the earlier road trip stops, but tour shuttles take advantage of this, so space might be tight.
Location: Mile marker 45, 7.5 miles from Hana. Parking: Roadside/large shoulder. Amenities: None.

Seven Sacred Pools at Oheo

The final destination for many a Road to Hana trip, the Oheo Gulch and its falls is about 10 miles past the town. You’ll have to pay an entrance fee, as it’s part of Haleakala National Park’s Kipahulu District, but keep your receipt to visit the park again within three days (including the Summit District for the Haleakala sunrise). The series of pools form below stair-stepping waterfalls flowing from the Palikea Steam into the ocean, and when they’re open, you can take a dip. This zone gets crowded in the afternoon, when all the road trippers tend to land here, so to avoid the busy, you’ll need to arrive extra early (this can be accomplished by staying overnight in Hana or driving the route backwards).
Location: Mile marker 42, 10 miles from Hana. Parking: Yes. Amenities: National Park visitor center, toilets, water fountain, campground. Fee: Yes.

Waimoku Falls

Also within Haleakala National Park, this waterfall is reserved for hikers who take on the 4-mile round-trip Pipiwai Trail up 800 feet into the rain forest. You’ll wind through bamboo thickets, over muddy patches, and past a teaser waterfall on the way to the big show — a 400-foot cataract falling over a sheer cliff face.
Location: Mile marker 42, 10 miles from Hana. Parking: Yes. Amenities: National Park visitor center, toilets, water fountain, campground. Fee: Yes.


*Stay safe notice/disclaimer: The following stops are located along the back Road to Hana. Dangers include one-way roads, rough/gravel pavement, blind corners and high cliffs with limited guard rails. Some car rental companies on the island include language in their contracts or warnings about taking this route, so read your paperwork carefully and don’t expect them to help if you get stuck or in an accident here because it’s remote. If you choose to take this section of road, practice extreme caution on the the narrow parts, drive slow, and honk when you’re going around blind corners to announce your presence. More travelers and small tour vans have started driving this route, so you likely won’t be the only car around.


Palapala Ho’omau Church

Built in 1864 of lava rock and limestone coral by missionaries from Connecticut, this small community church on the coast is often open to visitors. After falling into disarray from abandonment and hurricane damage, the building was restored in the 1960s by Sam Pryor and aviator Charles Lindbergh, and the pair are buried on the grounds. Take note of the stained-glass window inside that portrays the image of a Polynesian Christ.
Location: Mile marker 41, 11.5 miles from Hana. Parking: Yes. Amenities: None.

The back Road to Hana is full of old stone churches like this one sitting on a bluff on the ocean.

Huialoha Church

You don’t have to actually stop at this church to appreciate the scene. It sits just feet from the cerulean sea, a stark white patch surrounded by green lawns visible on the opposite end of a cove from the highway as you approach from the east. Built in 1859 by locals from the community of Kaupo, it once had a healthy congregation in the hundreds before the population of the area dwindled. The narrow path to the church off the highway is often chained, so respect any posted signage before visiting the grounds.
Location: Mile marker 36, 17.2 miles from Hana. Parking: Roadside. Amenities: None.

Kaupo General Store

One of few business along a long stretch of road, this general store might be your last chance to grab a drink or snack before hitting the remote patches of the Piilani Highway...as long as it’s open when you pass by.
Location: Mile marker 35, 17.5 miles from Hana. Parking: Yes. Amenities: Snacks.

St. Joseph Church

Another storied church, another fantastic view of mountains and sea. Set on a headland, this one has been around since the mid-1800s, with the remains of an old stone rectory onsite as well. The grounds are open to visitors and bloom with hibiscus and plumeria.
Location: Mile marker 34, 18.5 miles from Hana. Parking: Roadside/shoulder. Amenities: None.

The Piilani Highway on the Road to Hana backside is full of volcanic scenery like these black rocks covered in greenery.

Back Road to Hana/Piilani Highway

The remainder of the Piilani Highway is all about the views, and you’ll want to pull over once or twice as the landscapes changes just to take it all in. Luckily, the roads are pretty empty and scenic viewpoints available as you meander the backside of the Haleakala Crater. Here you’ll see sweeping canyons and volcanic wasteland to one side, and sparkling Pacific ripples to the other. The Big Island of Hawaii can even be seen on a clear day.
Location: The Piilani Highway starts about 15 miles past Hana. Parking: Roadside/shoulder views. Amenities: None.


Road to Hana Guide

A black jeep overlooks the blue ocean on the Road to Hana.

Tips for a Road to Hana tour

1. Start early. It can’t be stressed enough — you must get an early start to your road trip in order to pack in the most activities and avoid the crowds at popular stops. If you’re staying in one of the resort hubs of Wailea, Kaanapali or Kapalua, you’ll be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour from Paia, so leaving in the wee morning hours will be essential. Don’t let the relatively short distance of 45 miles between Paia and Hana fool you into thinking this is a half-day excursion, the winding roads and one-way bridges mean it takes a couple hours straight driving to reach Hana without any unforeseen traffic, and you’ll want to make lots of stops along the way.

2. Fill up the gas tank. You’ll want a full tank when you leave Paia, since you won’t hit another gas station until Hana, and fuel is extra pricey there due to the remote locale.

3. Bring cash for snacks. Even if you pack a picnic lunch, you’ll be tempted more than once by the fresh fruit at roadside farm stands and moist banana bread from snack vendors at popular stops. Many of these places run on cash, so bring enough for all the smoothies and smoked meats.

4. Wear a swimsuit and sneakers. You don’t HAVE to go swimming on the Road to Hana, but just in case a chilly waterfall pool or salt-washed black sand beach tempt you to cool off from the journey, you’ll be thankful you brought your bathing suit. If you want to do any waterfall exploring or hiking, you’ll do better with a solid pair of sneakers on hand (even if you just slip them on as needed). Most trails in this zone are rough and natural, and frequent moisture in the rain forest means muddy patches — not exactly flip-flop friendly.

5. Consider driving backwards. If you’re not a fan of crowds or are really into those roadside stops and worried about parking, there are a couple of ways to ease the traffic. The first is getting a super early start and the other is doing the tip in reverse. This can mean either driving straight through to Hana and saving most stops for the route back, or it can mean driving the backside to get to Hana, which will put you at the Seven Sacred Pools long before everyone gets there, and hitting up the Hana Highway stops on the second half of your journey (after most folks have long gone).

Road to Hana Q&A

1. How long is the Road to Hana? The Hana Highway runs for more than 60 miles between Kahului and the east end of Maui, just past the Seven Sacred Pools at Oheo. Most folks will drive nearly this entire stretch before turning around and heading back the same way they came, for a journey of about 5 to 6 hours, not counting stops. Driving the Road to Hana backside on the Piilani Highway and making a loop to Kahului saves a few miles and minutes. Make sure to account for the time it takes to get to the Hana Highway from your hotel or resort, which might be an hour away if you’re staying on the west side of the island.

2. How much time should I allocate for this road trip? Most Road to Hana tours run for 10 to 12 hours, and a self-guided Road to Hana tour should allot a similar range. While the relatively short mileage to Hana town might make it seem like you won’t need a full day, the going is slow with all the hairpin turns, one-way bridges and traffic load on the route. Plus, you’ll want plenty of time for hikes, waterfalls swims, beach hopping and snacking from fresh fruit stands.

3. Should I self-drive or join a tour? Whether or not to book a guided tour for the Road to Hana is a personal choice based on your comfort level, travel style, and budget. If you don’t intend to rent a car on Maui or don’t enjoy driving heart-thumping roads, you might find it more convenient to join a shuttle excursion so you can enjoy the ride and take in the views. You’ll also have the bonus of a local guide who will make sure you don’t miss anything along the way. On the other hand, self-driving allows the most flexibility to stop where you want and skip what you aren’t interested in. You might have better access to some roadside waterfalls that larger tour vehicles can’t easily park at, too. You’ll also likely find that renting a car is much cheaper than booking two or more tours, if you’re traveling in a pair or group.

4. Do I need a four-wheel drive vehicle? Renting a jeep for the Road to Hana is basically a necessity...or that’s what you’d think, at least, judging by the number of them you’ll encounter. In reality, you don’t need anything more than a compact car for the paved and narrow roads to Hana. The ruggedness and higher ground clearance of a typical 4WD might give a little peace of mind if you choose to drive the Road to Hana backside, though many sedans and tour vans make their way without any trouble.  

5. Are there bathrooms along the way? Food? Gas stations? Yes, yes, and NO. While you might not find the luxuries of hand soap, paper towel, or even running water at every pit stop, toilets make frequent enough appearances that you don’t need to make any unsavory ducks into the bushes. We’ve marked where most of the potties are at the stops above, and suggest bringing hand sanitizer or dry soap sheets to wash up along the way. As for food, you won’t find traditional restaurants, but plenty of fruit and snack stands and a couple of food truck-style grills lead up Hana, where you’ll find the most options. Make sure you fuel up before you depart though, because you won’t hit a gas station until Hana, and it’s a pricey place to refill.

What to bring on a Road to Hana day trip

1. Hand soap sheets. These come in handy for basic restrooms with no soap. They won't take up liquid space in your luggage since they come in dry paper form and lather up when wet.
2. Hand sanitizer. Running water isn't a given at many stops along the Road to Hana, so hand sanitizer is best for cleaning up before snacking.
3. Sunscreen. Make sure to pick up some reef-safe sunscreen to protect the ocean while you protect your skin under the beating Maui sun.
4. Mosquito repellent. If you're doing any hiking in the rain forest, you'll need this to keep the bugs at bay.
5. Refillable water bottle. You'll want to bring plenty of water along with you since there won't be a ton of places to fill up along the way.
6. Road to Hana CD guide. You can download an app to be your Road to Hana guide, but these classic CDs bring a fun retro vibe to the road trip.
7. Road to Hana guide book. Use this mile-by-mile guide to prep for your trip and pick out which stops you want to make. You can bring it along to remember all the details when your phone doesn't have service.
8. GoPro. Immortalize all your waterfall jumps and those epic hairpin turns with an action camera. GoPros can handle the moisture and ruggedness of this road trip and take both photos and videos with a wide-angle view to capture more of the surroundings.
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