Getaway Compass

Best Road to Hana Stops You Can’t Miss

Wai'anapanapa State Park beach

Road to Hana offers an incredible road trip along the northwest side of Maui. This guide to Road to Hana walks you through which stops along Road to Hana are most recommended, the mile marker of the top Road to Hana stops, and what you can expect to see there. Most people do Road to Hana in one day, but if you have an extra day I recommend staying in Hana for one night and taking two days to complete the drive and stopping at the top destinations.  Continue reading this guide for the best Road to Hana stops you can’t miss.

Things to Know Before Driving Road to Hana

  • 4 wheel drive is not necessary for Road to Hana.
  • Start as early as possible so that you can see more. Try to finish before it is dark so you can do the drive back through the windy road in daytime.
  • Plan on spending a night in Hana if you have time in order to enjoy this part of the island without being rushed.
  • Make sure you are confident driving on this very windy road.
  • There are food trucks and vendors at different stops along Road to Hana but they are expensive. I recommend bringing plenty of water and lunch in a cooler to save time and money. If you need to you can buy more snacks along the way. There are many vendors that sell amazing banana bread.
  •  There are restrooms located in different stops near the road (near some food vendors, Garden of Eden Arboretum, Pua’a Kaa State Wayside Park, Wai’anapanapa State Park).

Packing List for Road to Hana

  • Bathing suit: Make sure to have your bathing suit so you can enjoy the beaches along Road to Hana.
  • Towel: Don’t forget to bring a towel so that you can relax on some of the beaches along Road to Hana. I take this Turkish beach towel with me on every trip.
  • Change of Clothes: You will most likely get wet and/or muddy if you plan on hiking so make sure you have a change of clothes.
  • Bug Spray: You will definitely need this for Road to Hana and you won’t be able to find any once you have already started the drive. I recommend purchasing a travel size bottle before your trip, but if you forget make sure to buy some in the last town before Road to Hana starts which is in Paia.
  • Daypack: Bring a comfortable daypack to carry your stuff for the day. This REI Co-op bag is perfect for exploring Road to Hana for the day.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Make sure to bring plenty of water with you for the day. My go-to is this 24oz Stanley water bottle that can keep your water cold for 12 hours.
  • Hiking Sandals: A pair of sandals that you can wear on rocky beaches and for longer walks to the beach will be helpful. These sandals are perfect for the rocky beaches (red sand beach and black sand beach) and hikes to the beaches.
  •  Rain Jacket: A rain jacket will come in very handy for Road to Hana since it often rains here and you don’t want the rain to ruin your trip.
  • Dry Bag: Bring a dry bag for your valuables in case you get caught in the rain. I use this waterproof bag all the time for my camera and cell phone, and make sure I always have it with me.

Best Road to Hana Stops

1. Paia

Start your day walking around the town of Paia and checking out the shops. Eat breakfast at one the restaurants in Paia and buy anything you might have forgotten to bring for the day at the local shops.

2. Twin Falls- Mile Marker 2

Twin Falls

For your first stop on Road to Hana, complete the short hike to twin falls. You will see a lot of flowers along the way and we even found a pineapple! Note that the falls look very different depending on the amount of rainfall. If the area has gotten a lot of rain, the falls will look like they do in the above picture.

3. Bamboo Forest - Between Mile Marker 6 and 7

Bamboo Forest Maui

For your next destination on Road to Hana, stop where you see the beginning of a bamboo forest between mile marker 6 and 7. You will see an entrance to a trail which will take you about 20-30 minutes each way through a bamboo forest to get to a stream. You can continue past the stream to get to another waterfall if you have time. This bamboo forest hike is one of the best Road to Hana stops.

4. Garden of Eden Arboretum - Mile Marker 10

Garden of Eden Arboretum

Garden of Eden Arboretum is a garden with beautiful views, plants, and trees. There are fees to enter: $15/adult and $5/child. You can get a $5 discount for AAA cards, military cards, student IDs and parties of five or more are $10/adult.
For a map and more information on the garden access their website here.

5. Wailua Valley State Wayside - Mile Marker 19

Road to Hana Top Stop
Wailua Valley State Wayside view

This viewpoint is one of the best stops on Road to Hana. It is quiet with beautiful views which you can enjoy without crowds. To get here, look for the state park sign and turn into a small parking lot. Follow the 2 flights of stairs to a viewpoint with lush green hills and waterfalls on one side and an ocean view on the other, as seen in the pictures above. How many waterfalls can you count?

6. Pua'a Kaa State Wayside Park - Mile Marker 22

This amazing waterfall is a short walk from the parking lot. If you are looking for a quick refreshing swim along Road to Hana you can do so in the swimming hole below the waterfall. You can also find a picnic area and restrooms at this Road to Hana stop.

7. Wai'anapanapa State Park - Mile Marker 32

Now you have finally made it to the famous Black Sand Beach! This is one of the best Road to Hana stops you can’t miss. Take your time enjoying the beach and then continue walking past the beach up the cliff to get even more amazing views of the black sand beach, black cliffs, and blue water. Note that the sand is made up of small rocks from the cliff and it is painful to walk on barefoot, so I recommend wearing hiking sandals. Don’t skip this stop on Road to Hana! It is one of the most amazing places.

8. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach - In Hana

Red Sand Beach Maui

This red sand beach is the most beautiful and unique beach in Maui. To get here, park near the Hana Youth Center (make sure to obey signs and park only where allowed) and when you pass the school take a left before the gate. Continue walking down and you will hit a trail where you will take a left. The trail to the beach takes about 15 minutes. Make sure to wear shoes with support so that you do not slip. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach is one of the top stops on Road to Hana.

If you have more time, continue past Hana to the following locations

Note that at a certain point if you are staying in the south side it is faster to continue driving around the island rather than turning around. However, keep in mind that if you continue instead of turning around, for 40 minutes you will be driving on a road that is not maintained and there are no street lights. There is cattle along the way that could also make your journey take longer. We continued this way and it was a perfect chance to see more of the island.

9. Wailua Falls

Wailua Falls is one of the prettiest waterfalls along Road to Hana. The waterfall is located behind a bridge, so you can view it from the bridge. The parking is located after you cross the bridge on the left. 

Wailua Falls Maui Itinerary

10. Seven Sacred Pools at Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu District)

The seven sacred pools on are located in Haleakala National Park. Note that there is a $25 Entrance fee to national park which valid for 3 days here and for the summit area as well. Follow the half mile Kuloa Point Trail to the Seven Sacred Pools. The pools look very different depending on how much rain there has been recently (above photo shows a very rainy time). These pools are often closed to swimming and you can check the status on the national park site.

TIP: Purchase the America the Beautiful National Park Pass ahead of time to cover access to Haleakala National Park and other US national parks and monuments for a year.

11. Pipiwai Trail: Haleakala National Park (Kipahulu District)

The Pipiwai Trail is also located in Haleakala National Park, so it does require a $25 entrance fee to the park. This is a 4 mile roundtrip hike with 800 ft elevation gain. It does get very muddy on the hike, so make sure you are wearing proper footwear. I didn’t get a chance to capture a photo because it was raining heavily when we did the hike, but it was worth it. The highlights of the hike include:

  • Makahiku Overlook: At 0.5 miles, view of Makahiku falls
  • Bamboo Forest: at 1 mile
  • Wamoku Falls: Waterfall at the end of Pipiwai trail, at 2 miles

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *