Hana Loop

August 5, 2010

We did the road to Hana. It took a bit of planning and a some gumption from Joie and Jesse.

To the left you can see the route we ended up doing.  We left our resort in in West Maui (at the left of the map).  We drove to the middle of the island and up to Kahului.  Outside Kahului at Paia is pretty much where the road to Hana begins.

The issue w/ the road to Hana is about 150 switch back turns.  It is two lanes of paved road, but the turns are all narrow bridges that allow one car at a time either direction.  There are many stops and views along the way.

The evey sell a CD for your car that helps you identify sites by mile marker on the road.  I’d plan about 2 to 2.5 hours from Paia to Hana on this front stretch.  Jesse and Joie struggle a bit with motion sickness.  The road up to Haleakala last week didn’t sit so well, so the prospect of this loomed as a major concern.  Still, they bucked up (and buckled up) and hit the road with us like troopers!

We stopped first at Twin Falls, it is the first major stop along the road – and like many, I stopped to take a look.  Due caution here – just because it is first, and there are lots of folks pulled off, it may not be worth it.  In this case, the hike was a good 15 minutes in and out, plus time at the falls, so it’s quite a time investment with most of the road ahead of you.  And, well, honestly the falls are nice, but not spectacular – there were many more falls ahead, visible from the road, that saved you a hike and were longer.

Most of our stops were quick, just off the road types, for views of these falls or views out to the ocean or down the cliffs.  Some of those pics are below.  We hit a road side shack for a smoothie and some other snacks.

Close to Hana is the Black Sand beach, which we picnicked at and had our lunch – we spent most of our time there.

Once in Hana – congratulations!  Some folks stay the night, and I can see why – the prospect of turning right around and hitting all those switch backs for 2 more hours is daunting.  The other option?  Keep going!  Now, some locals we know gave us the down low on it – it’s generally fine to do, in good weather.  The road gets much more narrow, and there is a significant stretch of unpaved road – so if it is raining there could be issues depending on your vehicle (4WD).  If you get stuck for some reason, car trouble or whatever, your options would be very limited.  Though, as we bought mangos and fruit from a stand in Hana, the lady told us “you got AAA?  Okay, you get flat, you call, Tony, he come get you”.

So, we went.  It was not as harrowing as I expected, and fortunately we didn’t face much traffic coming the other way.  The vistas and views were spectacular,  as you can see hopefully from some of the pics I selected below.  Toward the tail end of the ride, the landscape really starts to change – we thought we were in Wyoming for a while.  Coming around to the end of that loop and turning North again you can see the freshest lava flows on the island (from the 1790′s) on around to La Perouse (but you can’t get there by car from here w/out going back to the middle of the island and down a different road, probably an hour round trip).

The map above shows the full loop of our day!  We made it back just in time for our 6:30 dinner reservations at Pacific’O!

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3 Comments for this entry

  • Beth

    Yeah that road does look a bit sketchy!! Good for you for sticking in there and doing the whole bit!! And you didn’t even have flat and Tony fix it.

  • Ilene

    Congrats Jesse and Joie. We didn’t even make it to Hana when we went! How were the mangos?

  • Granpa Tom

    Cool! Did you get to see the Bamboo forest?? It was pretty cool when I was there. Don’t think I have the pictures I took though :(

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