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Hana road, a scenic drive in a Hawaiian paradise.

Hana road in Hawai
View from Hana Road

Hana road or the road to Hana in Hawaii is on the bucket list for many travelers and road trippers. It has a particularly unique shape in astonishing surroundings and landscapes. It is considered one of the most beautiful roads on the island and very appreciated by locals and tourists. Nevertheless, it can be a difficult and exhausting road because of all of the twists and turns.

Where is the Hana road located?

To drive on Hana Highway you have to fly to the US State of Hawaii, as it is located on Maui Island. It goes along the oceanside from Kahului in the northern part of Island to the south, you can then go back to continue the tour of the island by Piilani Highway back to Kahului

This route is quite popular but also quite tough because of the various turns because and one-way bridges. However, the views and the luxuriant nature definitely make it a road to explore if you are planning a trip to Hawaii.

You can situate the road on the map below:


Enlarge the map

Facts about Hana Highway

Road description:

Hana Highway (or just “Road to Hana”) connects the coastal villages and communities of the northern and eastern parts of Maui Island to the Kahului airport and town. Kahului is the biggest CDP on Maui with more than 25,000 inhabitants.

The road is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) long but its shape can make the drive feel much longer. Indeed with more than 600 turns and more than 50 on way bridges the road can be a little challenging so consider passing the steering wheel to the most experienced driver. Also, the road can be quite narrow in some parts but don’t worry, driving threw the splendid views of the Maui coast and Hawaiian rainforests is a truly unique experience.

The drive takes at least 2 to 3 hours oneway, don’t forget to plan the drive back. And that is without stopping. But you will definitely want to stop quite often along the road. Indeed, do not hesitate to plan a full day to explore all of the surroundings and wandering around Maui Island.

Hana Highway is a paved road in an overall good condition. But as already written before it can be a tight squeeze in some portions of the road. Also, most of the bridges are only one-way.

There can be a lot of tourist season or on weekends. Our advice is to choose a weekday or starting your trip on Hana Highway earlier in the morning!

drone view of Hana Highway in Hawai.
Hana Highway

How to drive safely on Hana Highway

As we already wrote, the drive on Hana Highway can be a little hard especially if you are not used to this kind of curvy and tight roads. The road isn’t dangerous or scare but we advise you to respect the speed limits and follow basic safety rules: when a turn is very tight and you can’t see if a car is coming in front of you, drive very slowly and sound your horn to let the others know you’re coming.

Indeed, slow down to better enjoy the view opening around as you drive. Moreover, avoid driving by night as it can be dangerous. You can always pull over on the side of the road to let the cars behind you pass.

So, drive safely and don’t forget to have fun!

History

The construction of the road as we find it today was finished in the 1960s. However, Hana Highway officially opened in 1926 but it wasn’t fully paved and the construction of several bridges continued up until the 1930s.

The itinerary was based on the King’s Trail used since the 14th century. It was created under the ruling of Maui’s King. He wanted to visit the coastal villages of his island by foot instead of using a canoe.

Much later in the early 1900s, a prison was built in Keanae, and prisoners’ workforce was used in the beginning to build the modern road we know today.

How to get to Hana Road?

Usually, most people arrive on Maui Island by plane to Kahului Airport, then you can rent a car and directly drive on the Hana Highway as it starts just 5 minutes from the airport. When leaving the airport, just follow the signs to Hana, it is a left turn when leaving the airport road. If you are staying in Kahului, the easiest way to reach Hana Highway is to follow the road towards the airport and the following the signs to Hana.

When you finished the itinerary, you can choose to turn around and go back the same way you can from Kahului or you can decide to follow the road to make a loop around the island by Piilani Highway.

You can view the itinerary of the road on this map:

Things to do nearby

If we wrote all the things to do along the way to Hana this article would be too long. To keep it short, we selected 3 of the best things to do on the road to Hana. However, it’s not an exhaustive list, don’t hesitate to do more and enjoy your drive!

Of course, there will be a lot of viewpoints and stops along the road for you to enjoy the monumental landscapes so we won’t include them in our selection. We selected other activities that you can enjoy on your trip:

  • The Garden of Eden is a 26 acres Arboretum with flowers, trees, and plants found nowhere else. Take a walk and enjoy all the different and vibrant colors. Enjoy the waterfalls and take a picture on the Fuuka Rock overlook offering views of the ocean. The admission cost is $15 but it guarantees the preservation of the park
  • Waiʻānapanapa State Park is among the most popular stops on the road. Black sand beaches, lava tubes stone arches, and ancient temples make this place a must-see. The place can be very crowded so plan your stop accordingly to avoid the tourist peak hour. Try to come the earliest possible to enjoy the place all by yourself!
  • The pools of Ohe’o in the Haleakala National Park are a set of waterfalls and pools. Also called the Seven Sacred Pools, they are a tourist must stop. The access to the park is $30 per vehicle, but you can enjoy several hikes, cliff jumping, swimming…

Once again, these are only 3 touristic spots we selected, there is much more to do and explore on the road to Hana. You can find some tour road to Hana.

Maui Hawaii
Maui Hawaii

Is Hana road open?

Hana Highway is usually opened all year round but it can be subject to road closures. You can always check if the road is open on the Hawaiian Department of Transportation’s website.

Also, don’t forget that the road is tight, so follow the rules and drive carefully!

A preview of the drive:

If you are planning your road trip to Maui Island, you can watch this video to have an idea of the drive:

Hana’s scenic road is breathtaking: more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) of bends and bridges… It follows the coast where lush valleys alternate with steep cliffs that plunge into the ocean. So, if you ever consider visiting Hawaii, plan a day or two to visit Maui Island, and take an adventure on Hana Highway, you won’t regret it because it’s one the best road in Hawaii!

Credits: Falco Ermert on flickr.com


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