We traveled on Road to Hana two times in the past. One of those times, long time ago, we bought a self-guided tape and followed all the directions and made all the stops recommended on it. Another time, we stopped less and drove faster so that to spend more time in ‘Ohe’o Pools. As this was our third time, we knew what exactly we wanted to revisit, plus we leafed through one of Maui Guidebooks we found in our vacation condo to plan our Road to Hana Itinerary.
Road to Hana Stops article is an excellent general overview of all major stops you can make on Hana Highway.
We rented a 4WD Jeep Laredo for this trip, because we wanted to go around Haleakala all the way and there is one spot past official part of Road to Hana where the road is steep and can be slippery due to rains. In dry conditions, it’s OK to drive around in a regular car, but we wanted additional assurance and some extra space in the car. Even 4WD cars are not authorized by the rental companies to drive on that part of the road, and should anything happen, they will not cover expenses.
We started from Kamaole Sands Resort at 7 am, and stopped at a gas station in Kahului to fill the tank. By 8 am we reached Paia, where the Road to Hana officially begins and so does our Road to Hana Itinerary.
Around 8:30 we stopped at the fruit stand at Twin Falls trailhead. Following the advice of our guidebook, we didn’t hike to the falls. We wanted to buy some fruit and banana bread, but unfortunately it was too early for the bread – they said they will have it by 9 am. So we stuffed on apple bananas, and coincidentally there was a pair of twin bananas – twin bananas at Twin Falls!
In about 8 miles past Twin Falls we made a stop for Haipua’ena Falls – a very short walk and a nice view of the falls and the pool.
Next we decided to hike to Punalau Falls – according to the description in the guide one has to walk dry stream boulders to get there, and we love to rock-hop! On the way there we stopped for a scenic view of Ke’anae Peninsula.
It took us about 15 min each way to get to Punalau Falls and back to the car. The falls dried out, but the walls of the place are very impressive, almost vertical and huge! The walk is not easy as some of the boulders are very slippery.
Then we arrived to Ke’anae Peninsula, bought some banana bread, snacked and rested. After we ate the bread we had bought, we stuffed on more – it was so tasty! At 11 am we continued our trip. The road went higher and allowed for a good view of the whole peninsula with its taro fields.
Our next stop on Road to Hana was Ching’s Pond. According to the guide book, sometimes local divers can be seen there diving from a 25 feet high platform into the pool very precisely so that not to hit the rocks. We did not see anyone on that day.
About 3 miles further down the road we stopped for Three Bears Falls (a.k.a. Upper Waikani Falls).
Next two pictures are of a waterfall and a pool around the 21-mile marker. I am not sure what it’s called, but the view was great!
As we continued to drive further, we at some point saw several utility poles with tree branches growing right out of them! It was a very bizarre and at the same time beautiful view. The climate is so perfect for plants, they sprout everywhere!
Then we stopped to see the beautiful Hanawi Fall and shortly after it – Makapipi Fall. The latter has an unusual vantage point – it drops down right beneath you.
Next in our guide was Nahiku road and village. We decided to take a look as we’ve never been there before. It’s VERY green. But we were not much impressed by scenery compared with what we had already seen, except for a plant with huge leaves – the biggest I’ve seen on Maui.
When we returned back to Road to Hana from Nahiku road, it was already 1:30 pm, and we still had so many things to see! We decided to drive straight to Wai’anapanapa State Park – our favorite park in Maui and one of the longest stops on our Road to Hana Itinerary. It is so beautiful with its volcanic black sand beach, natural arches and sea caves! Besides, it’s very clean and well maintained. Be careful when swimming, the beach is considered dangerous due to strong currents and a rocky reef.
While walking in the park, we saw two of the most common Hawaii animals you can meet here: a sea turtle in the ocean and a mongoose on the trail.
Next in our Road to Hana Itinerary was Red Sand Beach. We had never been there before and first read about it in Maui Revealed Guidebook. The beach is majestic, out of this world, the pictures don’t show all its grandeur. It was an easy walk, but we would never find the beach without the directions in the book. Be careful on the cinder cone trail, it can be slippery. Also, the currents here can be very dangerous, don’t venture beyond the natural rock breakwater..
The last beach we visited on Road to Hana was Hamoa Beach. It was so great to take a dip and to bodysurf! The beach had the softest sand and the greatest fresh water shower — soft and strong at the same time — what can be better after some heat and humidity? And on the way to our car we had a green coconut water and meat. Yummmm, awesome! After that we felt completely revived and ready to continue to our last destination — ‘Ohe’o Gulch. Thank you, Hamoa Beach, we will return! We highly recommend to allocate some time for Hamoa Beach on your Road to Hana Itinerary.
And the last waterfall we saw just before ‘Ohe’o Gulch – Wailua Falls.
Only at 4:30 pm did we reach our final destination — Ohe’o Gulch (a.k.a. Seven Sacred Pools). It’s really better to come here earlier to fully enjoy the views, the water and the rocks. We spent a lot of time and energy already, so this time we decided not to play in the water, but walk around on the trails and then just sit, relax and watch the sun setting down behind the mountains. And our bodies still remembered the lull of Hamoa beach! Probably the biggest fun is to jump into the pools from the rocks, next comes watching the jumpers.
We planned to continue driving south and around Haleakala rather than returning back the same way we came. Unfortunately, Piilani Highway 31 in Hana was closed and we had to drive Road to Hana backwards all the way. Next time, when the backside road is open, we will pick a clear dry day and drive to Seven Sacred Pools around the backside of Haleakala to enjoy this amazing place before the crowds.