"The Road to Hana"


We are back from Hawaii!!  Wow!  What a gorgeous place.  Every time we visit, we are still in awe at the beauty of these islands, the mountains, the canyons, the cliffs and sweeping coastlines.  On this trip, we got to see some pretty amazing sites.  Although I was there for work, we still found some time to discover more of this tropical paradise!  Our first stop was Maui where we stayed at the Marriott Vacation Club in Lahaina.  This was our first time staying up in Lahaina, usually we stay in Wailea.  Both places are great.  I would say Wailea has more of a glamorous feel, while Lahaina has more of a natural Hawaiian feel.  You will definitely find what you are looking for in both places: great food, amazing places to stay, good shopping, and stunning landscape all around. 


We started out our short 3 day stay in Maui with a much-awaited trip on the Road to Hana.  Since this summer, we had wanted to make a trip on the Road to Hana.  We heard it was amazing for the waterfalls, views, history of the island, etc.  Unfortunately, last July when we visited Maui, we had just come from Kauai where Michael had a little incident with a Paddleboard.  It involved his foot, the board and the ocean, needless to say, his foot lost.  Anyway, this time, we found time!  Here is what we would recommend for your Road to Hana trip:

  1.  Download a tour guide app- We used Shaka Guide- Maui and it was awesome.  We joked the whole time though, because the Shaka Guide sounded like Casey Kaysem.  Make sure you download the app the night before and have it ready to roll.  You will not have cell service in the mountains, but it works off of GPS!

  2. Leave early!  They say 7am is the right time.  If you are leaving from Lahaina, it will take you about 1.5hrs just to get to the start of the tour.  Plan to be gone for 10-12 hours.  This is an all-day affair. 

  3. Plan appropriately.  The Shaka Guide will give you “check-ins” along the route to make sure you are on track, but be aware how much time you are spending in each area and what you want to accomplish.

  4. Know what you want out of the trip… How adventurous do you want to be??

  5. Take water, hiking shoes, a light jacket, snacks, water and cash!


Ok… now for the fun part!  


As we started at Mile marker “0”, it was raining like crazy.  My comments “ugh!! This sucks!  Why does it have to rain the day we decide to do this?”  Direct quote from Michael… “Don’t worry, it will clear up.  It’s a rainforest and it rains every day.”  Right he was!  By the time we got to our first stop (Mile Marker 2) The Twin Falls, the rain had already started to taper off.  We hiked back to the Twin Falls, where they were gushing a ton of water into what is a swimming hole during the drier summer months.  You can see by our pictures… definitely not a place to swim the day we were there!


Ohhhh, the next stop!  One of my FAVORTES!!  It was an “off the beaten path” hike to see a couple of waterfalls.  The best part was… we hiked through a Bamboo forest to get to the waterfalls!  Check out the warning sign at the entrance!  “Kapu” means “Keep Out”…

After we made our way out of the Bamboo forest, we jumped back in the car.  We passed some Rainbow Eucalyptus trees that were super cool, a few smaller roadside waterfalls, and then landed at what is the BEST smoke shack ever!  We stopped at Kahako’s for some smoked chicken and pork.  The food was served on hollowed-out bamboo with a banana leaf, and fresh cut bamboo chopsticks!  Besides the meat, they served a salad, rice and smoked brown sugar bananas, all for $20.  They also made homemade banana bread and had fresh fruit.  Come to find out, the owner was a Bears fan born on the South Side of Chicago.  We stayed at this stop a little longer so he and Michael could discuss Bears football…. Go Bears!

Next, we went a little further on down the road to what I would call a bust.  The Kaumahina State Wayside Park.  Unless you had to use the bathroom, not much else there.  But just right outside the park, we started to see our first views of the ocean from the road.  Oh, and we can’t forget how much we loved our Jeep!

I would say that neither one of us are really into arboretums, but we decided to stop at the Ko’olau Forest Reserve and Arboretum.  Entrance was free, so that helped make our decision too, but the main reason we wanted to go, was to see more of the gigantic Rainbow Eucalyptus trees!

Ok, next up, was another favorite.  I would say this would have been tied with the Bamboo Forest, until we discovered more later.  We stopped in the small little town of Haiku.  This was a little detour off of the main road.  It was well worth it!  Here we saw large volcanic rock jetting out of the ocean and waves crashing all around it.  The sounds, sights, and smells of the ocean were everything here!  After watching the waves crash, we stopped at one more spot on the way out of town to test our climbing skills on the rocks to get better views of the coastline.  Also in Haiku, we learned this entire area was swept away by a tsunami in 1946, the only original building left is a stone church.  Last but not least, we got to see a small delta where the fresh water meets the ocean!

Half way to HANA!!  Ok, in my opinion, this is where it started to get really good!!  From this point on, we visited 2 of our favorite places we have ever seen!  Here we stopped to get some warm, local banana bread…yummmm.   There was also an ATM, if you need more cash!

Then we parked along the road to see Waikani Falls AKA (3 Bears Falls)….. it was so beautiful and full of rushing water.  It’s name comes from the short, medium and tall falls that fall in the same area. 

Another waterfall??  Yes Please!  The Wailua Iki falls.  After a short little hike (less than a mile round trip), we landed upon this powerful and beautiful falls.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t hike up to the falls, or down to the bottom, but just past it, was a smaller falls with a pool.  This falls was still powerful, but gave us a nice place with calm, shallow water to test out.  Let me just say, it was pretty chilly!

After our hike back out of the rainforest, we continued on down the road to see a few more roadside falls and then landed upon some food trucks!  They were serving, tacos, fish, fried stuff, coconuts, and Thai food!  We shared a fish taco, not bad.

YES!  Now time for Waianapanapa State Park!  Most definitely a favorite and checking off a box on our bucket list!  Waianapanapa State Park is the home to Maui’s only BLACK sand beach!  We were sooo excited about this stop, and all for good reason.  This place is AMAZING!  Not only was it on of the most beautiful places we have ever seen, but we got to see so much!  There was the black sand beach that I tried some modeling poses on and failed miserably, a blow hole that shot water up at least 20 feet in the air, underwater caves, an arch, and an entire hike on pure black lava.  It felt like we were in another world!  The green foliage against the black rock was stunning.  The turquoise of the water against the black sand was absolutely breath taking.  The sand is black today, but won’t be forever, so don’t miss this site!!  Now if you think this is as amazing as we did, our next stop was just as good!

After driving and stopping, and LOTS of picture taking, we finally landed in HANA!  We drove right through the town to … to Kaihalulu Beach the RED sand beach!  Beware, where and how you park, apparently, they don’t mark it well so you will screw up and get a ticket… like us.  After unknowingly, illegally parking, we hiked along a cliff edge back to one of the most insane places we have ever seen.  We were seriously was in awe.  We arrived right around 4pm when the sun was lighting up the side of the red cliff made from red volcanic cinder cones that enveloped the red sand beach.  The turquoise water, red sand, and black rocks creating a shelter around the shore were a tribute to how beautiful this planet is.  Take a look at the photos and see for yourself!  Michael had fun playing in the water while I stood and staring at my surrounding, and videoing and photographing him as well! 

The Road to Hana technically stops at Hana Town.  However, if you download the loop tour, you will see it goes on much farther.  At this point we were running out of precious daylight and trust me, you don’t want to be on those roads after dark!  So, we made one more stop at the Wailua Falls.  This falls cascades 200 feet through a beautiful setting of surrounding rainforest.  You can get an unbelievable view from the road, but if you hike down to the bottom, it is pretty incredible.  We wanted to get in and swim, but since we were losing sun, it was pretty chilly. 

We passed up the Venus Pools, 7 Sacred Pools, and Pipiwai Trail to continue our voyage back to our hotel.  What we saw next though, was the most unexpected!  As we crossed over to the other side of the mountain, it is a whole different view!  The coastline and cliffs were astonishing.  The ocean as far as you could see on the left and the volcanic mountaintops on the right.  The road was narrow (one lane to be exact), unpaved, and scattered with roaming cattle.  We passed through several small ranch towns and saw a remarkable sunset as we descended down the cliff of Mount Haleakala.  We made it back to our hotel by 7:45pm, showered, dressed and out the door again for dinner at Lahaina Grill!

The Road to Hana is a truly breath-taking trip to see the real Maui.  You can be adventurous, or take it easier.  Regardless of how you choose to do the Road to Hana, if you get the chance to do it, you won’t want to pass up the opportunity!  We hope you love this recap and pictures as much as we love sharing it with you!



Lindsey & Michael