Make 17 Stops on the Road to Hana in Maui

Make 17 Stops on the Road to Hana in Maui

After spending a memorable night in the funky town of Paia in Maui, it was sadly time to leave. I will miss you Mopsey Kalua Pork Pizza and Sandy Beach Coconut gelato. But, on the flip side of the coin we were departing to drive the Road to Hana.

The Road to Hana is a picturesque, curvy road along Maui’s northeastern shore. It is loaded with hundreds of hairpin turns, waterfalls, bamboo and beauty.
Road to Hana Garden of Eden

Most travelers will take the 53 mile road to the town of Hana, then turn around and head back the same route they came. But, our adventurous plan was to do the continuous loop. All in one day. Even the unpaved, bumpy part of the road with the zigzagging turns that the tour books warn you about.

We left Paia at 8:30 in the morning and made 17 stops along the Road to Hana. Most stops don’t have signs, so the guides refer to their location by the mile markers they can be found at. Counting mile markers makes it even more tricky than driving the switchbacks.

17 Road to Hana Stops

Mile Marker 3.5 – Kaulanapueo Church
The very first stop was the Kaulanapueo Church built in 1853. At 8:45 in the morning, we were the only ones there, besides the spirits buried in the quaint cemetery, some dating back to 1940. The Protestant churches doors were locked, but the stop was worth a peak around the grounds.
Kaulanapueo Church on the Road to Hana
Headstone at Kaulanapueo ChurchHeadstone at Kaulanapueo Church

Mile Marker 4.5 – Huelo Lookout
Early on the Road to Hana drive we decided that a fruit smoothie would be in order and one of the first stands was Huelo Lookout. I ordered a banana bliss smoothie, which was made with fresh papaya, coconut and bananas. If those ingredients don’t say Hawaii, I’m not sure what does.
Huelo Lookout Fruit Stand

Mile Marker 9.5 – Waikamoi Nature Trail 
The Wailamoi Nature Trail is an easy loop hike filled with ferns, tall trees and scenic overlooks. There are two hiking options; the long route and the short. Of course, we took the shorter of the two which was just under a mile. No regrets.
Waikamoi Nature Trail Waikamoi Nature Trail Waikamoi Nature Trail

Mile Marker 10.2 – Ka Haku Smoke Shack
Ka Haku Smoke Shack is one of the funkiest food huts along the way to Hana and the ten buck chicken plate comes with a free coconut. Don’t bother with the canned corn and rice sides that come with it. But the chicken, that is grilled right in front of you, is tender and flavorful. The fresh coconut juice washed it all down nicely.
Ka Haku Smoke Shack on the Road to HanaKa Haku Smoke Shack Chicken Plate

Mile Marker 10.6 – Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is one of those pricey, touristy arboretums that I would typically pass up, but it is a great stop for identifying all the local plants that you will see during your Hawaiian travels. Plus, they have a couple of waterfall lookouts.
Bamboo at Garden of EdenWaterall View at Garden of Eden Annette White at the Garden of Eden

Mile Marker 10 8/10 – Puohokamoa Falls
Just like the guidebooks say, there is a waterfall lookout at lower Puohokamoa Falls, but what they don’t say is that it has a no trespassing sign. The wire fence has a good size opening, which I took as an invitation. I am not suggesting that you do the same. Wink. It was only a couple minute walk for a faraway waterfall glimpse.
Lower Puohokamoa Falls on the Road to Hana

Mile Marker 16.8 – Ching’s Pond
Ching’s Pond is a popular swimming hole that many people pass by without even knowing it is there. The brave locals cliff dive from the bridge, a 25 foot drop. The less adventurous leap from the lower portions. Jumping is absolutely, positively not recommended, but not taking the leap is also my biggest Road to Hana regret.
Ching's Pond on the Road to HanaChing's Pond on the Road to HanaChing's Pond on the Road to Hana

Mile Marker 17 1/3 – Halfway to Hana
Meh…the Halfway to Hana snack shop is certainly one of those places popular due to its name and it will probably not be the best banana bread along the way, but worth the stop just to say you’ve been. Almost like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Halfway to Hana Sign Halfway to Hana

Mile Marker 18.8 – Wailua Valley State Wayside
We took the stairs on the right of Wailua Valley State Wayside to the top and were treated to a view of Ke‘anae Valley, Ko‘olau Gap and the village of Wailua. It will be a quick stop, but worth the scene.
Wailua Valley State Wayside View

Mile Marker 19.5ish – Upper Waikani Falls
The Upper Waikani Falls is also known as Three Bear Falls and is one of the most popular waterfalls of all the Road to Hana stops. It’s a quicky, right on the side of the road.
Waimoku Falls on the Road to Hana Stops

Mile Marker 23 - Lava Tube
An if-you-blink-you-miss-it lava tube can be found on the right side of the road after mile marker 23. This 140 foot cave takes some stooping to enter, but that didn’t stop me. Not much in there, but at least I can say that I was.
lave tube cave on the Road to Hana

Mile Marker 28.8 – Nahiku Marketplace
Nahiku Marketplace is a Hana shopping center, which consists of a tiny handful of Hawaiian product shops. This is where I discovered one of my absolute favorite Maui treats, coconut candy. The coconut is hand cut, sprinkled with brown sugar and slow baked. It was well worth the $5 a bag.
Nahiku MarketplaceCoconut Candy at Nahiku Marketplace

Mile Marker 32 – Luana Spa Retreat
After indulging on too much coconut candy, we made a quick stop at Luana Spa Retreat to get a tour of a yurt. Why? Because I had no idea what the heck a yurt was either. Turns out it’s fancy smancy collapsible tent commonly used in Mongolia. But, you can sleep (or, even better, get a spa treatment) in one at Luana.
Yurt at Luana Spa Retreat

Mile Marker 32 – Nutcharee’s Thai food
Right next to Luana Spa Retreat is Nutcharee’s, a delicious and authentic outdoor Thai restaurant. Even though it is off the beaten path, this place sometimes gets so busy it has to turn away guests. Yep, it’s that good.
Nutcharee's Authentic Thai Food Nutcharee's Authentic Thai Food

Mile Marker 32.2-  Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach
The Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach was my favorite stop along the Road to Hana. A short, yet steep, path led us to the beach which started with large coal colored rock, followed by shiny black sand with descending sizes of pebbles. Beautiful!
Waianapanapa black Sand Beach on the Road to HanaWaianapanapa black Sand BeachAnnette White at Waianapanapa black Sand Beach

Most people turn around at this point, heading back towards Paia, but we decided to do the full loop. Many of the tour books say that the unpaid roads are treacherous, but it really wasn’t that bad. Actually, the unpaved section was compact from so many cars driving on it. It was few miles of bumpy paved road that sucked.

Past the town of Hana

Hamoa Beach
After passing the town of Hana we made a quick stop at Hamoa Beach, a a beautiful, crescent public beach. We just took a peak, but would have spent more time sunbathing if we didn’t have to get back to Paia by dinner.
Hamoa Beach in Maui

Ohe’o Gulch – Seven Sacred Pools
Our last stop on the Road to Hana loop was the Ohe’o Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools. There are several falls that flow through Ohe’o Gulch and they are popular. By the time we got there, around 2:30pm, it was loaded with tourists.
Ohe'o Gulch Seven Sacred PoolsOhe'o Gulch Seven Sacred PoolsOhe'o Gulch Seven Sacred Pools

By then, after 17 Road to Hana stops, the 4 mile hike (in & out) of the bamboo forest was not gonna happen. Next time.

We returned back to the Paia Inn after 9 hours of adventure, exhausted.

Have you done any of the Road to Hana stops?

Want more travel ideas for Maui? Read the Bucket List of 24 Things to do in Maui

25 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Nick Rutten says:

    That's beautiful! I gotta visit Maui even more now!

    Another island (or series of islands) that's on my bucket list is Vanuatu, it looks so good on all the pictures, I just have to go there!

  2. I have never even heard of Vanuatu. I need to Google!

  3. Cassie says:

    Wonderful photos, they make me want to go back so badly! I lost all our photos from our trip to Maui when my computers hard drive failed. I need to go back and retrace our steps (and make several of these stops you mention that we didn't do!)  We're thinking of going this fall.
    Did you happen to see the ice cream hut that served homemade coconut ice cream served in a half coconut shell? It was somewhere between the banana bread place and the black sand beach. I hope it's still there!

  4. I did not see the ice cream served in a coconut! And now I’m mad, because that is something I would have loved.
    I am always so overly paranoid about losing all my photos, what a bummer that must have been. But, a perfect reason to go back :)

  5. Sherry says:

    Wow! This post is a wealth of information. I'm motivated to make it all the way to Hana now. I've always attempted to go, but less than halfway there, we always decide to just go back. Inevitably someone's car sick. I'll keep all this in mind for my next trip to the island.

  6. It was worth doing the whole way around, but next time I’d stay the night in Hana.

  7. Anita Mac says:

    Gorgeous photos!  I could easily spend a week….a month…..here!

  8. Thanks! I definitely could have used one more day.

  9. Aryn says:

    Gorgeous photos! I didn't know that there was so much to do Maui other than beaches. Thanks for sharing this!

  10. The beaches are definitely a draw to Maui, but there is so much more!

  11. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Wow this post is absolutely incredible!!!

  12. Thank you! I love writing posts like this because it allows me to relive my wonderful experience :)

  13. Allison says:

    Ah, I can never get enough of Hawaii!!!
    thats a great pic of you in the bamboo- coffee mug! 

  14. Thanks! But, I would not be able to stand looking at my mug on a mug everyday :)

  15. Allison says:

    Haha, I'm trying to create a life list wall of photos, it's hard to keep up with it and the frames I like are expensive….expensive when you are buying about 50 of them! I only have 1 pic up so far but one day I think it'll look quite nice! 

  16. That’s a GREAT idea! I have always wanted to do a wall of framed maps from the places I have been.
    Send me a picture when you are done!

  17. Wow, loving all the waterfalls :)

  18. The waterfalls are a highlight to the Road to Hana!

  19. CeCe says:

    I am definitely sending this to my friends so we can plan our road to hana trip.  Amazing photos, makes me want to go there NOW.

  20. Jessica says:

    thanks so much for sharing! I am going to Maui in July and most definitely doing the road to Hana. Thanks for including your stops- I'm having a hard time deciding which ones to stop at and your pictures definitely helped me narrow down a few! 

  21. There are so many Road to Hana stops to choose from, it was really hard for me to decide too! Have a great time and enjoy.

  22. Kat says:

    My mom and I are revisiting this trip as part of a cruise stop over. We missed so many things the first time. Thank you for your suggestions. I am looking forward to seeing all of these wonderful gems in just a few weeks!

  23. Have a wonderful time! I am jealous because the weather should be amazing and I am in 40 degree weather right now!

  24. Brenda says:

    Going in April, thanks for the information.

  25. Have a wonderful time and eat some coconut candy for me!

Trackbacks For This Post

  1. My Biggest Regret on the Road to Hana in Maui
  2. A Regret on the Road to Hana in Maui | Bucket List Journeys
  3. Bucket List of 24 Things To Do in Maui, Hawaii
  4. The Road to Hana | SloRiders
  5. Awesome bucket list idea ideas adventure travel » The Red Rucksack
  6. Bucket List of 24 Things To Do in Maui, Hawaii

Leave a Comment Here's Your Chance to Be Heard!

CommentLuv badge