The Road to Hana - My experience and thoughts
A blog about my experience on the Road to Hana in Maui Hawaii, with pieces of advice scattered through.
FYI- this is a long post. But I didn’t want to leave any details out :) And there are plenty!
Our Stops along the Road to Hana
Ok, so before I even talk the stops, may I suggest that you come very prepared for this journey? Cell service is somewhat non-existent so you really can’t rely on good ole Google in real-time for this one. You will be relying on mile markers and your handy notes (which I must say I did not do the best job of taking). I mean I did save several very helpful blogs, but I totally missed the part where I wouldn’t be able to easily access them. So right before we started, I screen shotted all the mile markers of the locations I wanted to visit. This was sufficient enough for us, but definitely could’ve been way more prepared.
So, again, first piece of advice, COME PREPARED. Take notes. Buy a guide if you really need it. This will help you ensure that you stop by all the wonderful places you can potentially see.
..However, that being said, if you forget, just stop where you see a whole bunch of other cars parked. There’s a good chance they did their homework and you’ll be sure to hit a few good spots.
Stop 1: Mile Marker 8 or 9-ish
So now, our first stop- Mile marker 8 or 9ish. This was when we were still adjusting and scrambling to get situated. My mom had read somewhere, not to stop within the first few miles, because EVERYONE tends to go there, and while it is great, it will most likely be crowded and there are plenty of stops further ahead that will be just as awesome.
Which brings us to mile marker 8. We passed by a few super busy stops, and by the time we were at mile 6 we figured we should probably start exploring. We see a stop, with a few good parking spots (which by the way, is not that many so for the spots you want to visit, grab a spot when you’re close).
This stop was essentially a 2 mile hike through the forest. It was pretty nice- you’ll see bamboo trees, and several other plant and tree species you’re probably not used to seeing all along the hike.
Overall, this was a nice hike, but for me personally, I would skip this one as there are some pretty cool stops ahead that you’ll want to save time for.
Stop 2: Mile Marker 11.5
Next up on my screenshots, mile marker 11.5! A beautiful waterfall and little lagoon where you can cliff jump.
If you’re not an experienced jumper, be cautious. We luckily were going up as a tour guide for a private group was coming down and we were able to get some quick instructions of how to climb up, where to jump, and how to jump.
A lot of the places on the road are very welcoming, however, sometimes getting to the places where you would cliff jump from can be slippery or difficult to reach. Definitely something you can do if you’ve done these sorts of things before, but for me, as much as I love adventurous, thrilling things I also enjoy not being injured haha.
Anyway, I loved this jump. It was about ~20-25 feet and totally thrilling. The water felt so refreshing. Everything about it was perfect! Before I had gotten to Hawaii, this was my thought of exactly what I’d be doing- fun, outdoor adventures.
Stop 3: Mile Marker 16.8 - Ching’s Pond
Cute, little picturesque pond where you can swim and also jump from the rocks. They say that when the water was much higher, locals actually used to jump from the bridge.
You can cliff jump here too! The ledge you jump from isn’t too high (about 10 feet) and getting to the top is quite easy.
Though this pond was small, it was nothing short of great! In fact, I really loved this pond. It felt like a small, hidden gem (even though I’m sure it’s on every blog lol), with the bluest of waters. Definitely make sure to stop by here!
Stop 4: Mile Marker 17– Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread
Best banana bread ever! It was so delicious, so I highly recommend stopping here for a quick snack during your excursion. Plus they also serve shaved ice :)
Wishing I had bought more loaves- it was that good!
Stop 5: Mile Marker 19 – Upper Waikani Falls
This place was amazing and as amazing as all the pictures you’ve probably seen of it. Unfortunately parking was a little difficult for this one, so I quickly hopped out the car and took a look at it quickly.
It’s a very beautiful, lush green spot where you should stop by if you have the chance.
Stop 6: Glen’s Coconut
Glen’s Coconut was on my mom’s list of places to visit, and I’m glad that we made it to this dairy-free ice cream shop famous for its coconut ice cream.
This ice cream was so amazing, even with it being dairy-free (nothing wrong with that!) Normally, I’m not a big fan of dairy-free but this tasted like any delicious ice cream I’d normally have.
Stop 7: Mile Marker 32.2 – Wainapanapa Black Sand Beach
This black sand beach is beautiful and one of the most popular stops on the journey. There were lots of people swimming in the ocean and many just admiring the black sand. Be sure to go in the little cave that leads out to the ocean- it’s pretty cool!
Stop 8: Mile 52 – Seven Sacred Pools
Seven Sacred Pools is part of the National Park Service, so just note there is a fee to get in.
This was the last of our stops, and by this point we were pretty tired so I’m sure we didn’t enjoy it as much as we could have. But it was still pretty cool, and something worth visiting if you have the time.
The Backroads from Hana
So the road to Hana is the main trail with all the stops. You can get back to Paia and the rest of the island going the way you came from, however, you can also take the “back roads” to get back.
This I must say was really cool, but you’ll definitely need a good car with some 4-wheel drive, and a driver (in this case my Dad!) that can handle the twisty, bumpy terrain. Also plan to do this in the daylight… it will be pretty scary if you don’t.
It took use about 2.5 hours on the backroads- even though it isn’t THAT long, a lot of times you are only driving 5-10 mph, especially on the curvy ridges where only one car can get through, despite being a two-way road.
While it isn’t the easiest drive, it does have amazing beautiful views of the water. I also liked the fact that this side remained relatively untouched- it seemed like what Hawaii would be in its natural state.
Though despite these roads being pretty empty, we did get stuck in traffic behind some cows from a local farm nearby lol!
My Overall Thoughts
This was probably my favorite part of my Hawaii trip.
I meant to write this blog right after we did the road to Hana, but it’s actually been almost 2 full weeks since this day. Writing about my experience just reminded me of how amazing it really was.
As much as I love just chilling by the beach or pool (which you can do a lot in Hawaii), I loved the adventure of this. Something about journeying somewhere, and putting in physical effort to get to somewhere really cool was just really rewarding.
If you’re a first timer in Maui, definitely do this! Even if you’ve done this before, there are plenty of other stops to hit while you’re there.
I mean to make this more of a guide, but it’s kind of just come out as another blog entry… with a lot of advice in between.
If you have any questions or plan to do this, let me know! I don’t mind talking about my experience again :P
But if you don’t plan to talk to me here are some things to think about:
What to wear:
- Hiking/workout/comfortable clothes
- Bathing suit
What you need:
- BUG SPRAY (must bring!!! You will be eaten alive if you don’t)
- Hiking shoes (would recommend sandals….NO FLIP FLOPPIES)
- You can always go with a tour group that will have a bus or van, but I’d recommend… renting a Jeep! It can handle this type of journey and it just matches the Road to Hana adventure!
....and that's about it for my experience on the Road to Hana. Questions? Message me! :)