We had a great time on the Road to Hana! It was a great all day date with my husband. If you are like us, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time researching and preparing. So here are the cliff notes for Road to Hana:
Cliff Notes for Road to Hana
- Bring at least $20 cash per person – $50 is better. Lots of the little shops and road side stands for food don’t take credit cards.
- Bring a swimsuit, towel and and a change of clothes. And of course sunscreen and water. You need tennis shoes (and an extra pair of socks) as well as flip flops. Or you can get a pair of water/hiking shoes – those would be perfect. Check out the options.
- Don’t plan anything else that day – we left Lahaina at 6:30am and got back at 7:30pm.
- This is the most important part of the Cliff Notes for Road to Hana. Buy the $5 Road to Hana – Gypsy Drive Tour App. Eric declared this worth the $5 in the first 30 minutes. This allows you to not have to do a ton of planning because the App does it for you and gives your options with plenty of time to decide if you want to turn off and stop at each location. Side note: make sure you bring a car charger for your phone.
- Rent a Jeep and do the back road (the complete loop instead of turning around after Hana). It’s WORTH it. Scenery is completely different than the rainforest on the Road to Hana. For about 12 miles, the roads are what I call “good for not being paved”, but narrow and only room for one car a lot of the way. Thankfully, we only saw two cars going the opposite direction. It’s breathtaking. Pictures don’t do it justice.
Check out our pictures from some of the stops. These are just a sampling. We didn’t take our camera out with us on several of the stops. You don’t need to write down any of these places, because the handy tour guide App will tell you all about them – that’s why the cliff notes for Road to Hana make life so much easier.
Stop by Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread Hut on this little turn off the main highway into Ke’anae.
Three Bears Waterfall
This waterfall is right on the road. You will see it as you pass. We got out and took pictures and then hiked right up close to the waterfall – where we got DRENCHED. The first 10 feet of the hike require you to scale some rocks but after that it is easy breezy. Eric coaxed me into it – and I was glad he did.
An Hour Delay
So at the first waterfall, we had someone tell us the road was closed due to a downed power line up ahead, and it was a 3 hour delay. Eric and I of course pressed on. When we got to the line of cars that clearly wasn’t moving we pulled off to the side and go out and walked. The rainforest is gorgeous and so getting to walk along the road with no fear of a vehicle whipping around the corner was actually a lot of fun.
We went to see the tree for ourselves. If you look closely, you can see in the picture a downed cable line under the tree. About 5 guys and chainsaws worked to clear the cable line and then bulldozed the rest of the tree out of the way. In all it took about an hour from when we stopped for our car to start moving. Lots of people turned around, fearful of a long delay. But the wait was definitely worth it and we got to talk to lots of other tourist who were waiting too. About 80 cars waited for the road to clear – everyone else turned around. The few. The proud. The dedicated tourist.
A black sand beach, a few caves to explore, and beautiful arches. This was a great and well loved stop.
Another waterfall that is right on the road. And yes – I ran around in my bathing suit most of the day because it rained, and I when your wet there ain’t no point in putting clothes on! Don’t forget that part of the cliff notes for Road to Hana – a swimsuit is a must!
Seven Sacred Pools at Kipahulu
This stop is the last major stop on the paved road (before the tour guides recommend you turn around). It’s part of the national park, so its $15 per car to get in.
Got a stranger to take a picture of Eric and me at the pools in the national park – might be the best picture of the trip.
The Back Road
Instead of heading back when the tour guide app tells you to turn around, you can take 12 miles of unpaved road on the back of the Haleakala mountain and do the full loop. WORTH IT. After a gorgeous day in the rain forrest, seeing the beauty of the open arid fields and possibly a sunset as you look down over Wailea – it makes you wonder at God’s creation. The variation in climate on a relatively small island is amazing. The back road is very narrow – like definitely not two cars wide for long stretches. We only saw two cars going the other direction and thankfully neither was at a particularly tight spot.
Changed into a long sleeve dress as night approached and the chill factor went up. The dress happens to be on major sale – already 50% off and even more with Gap’s current sale code. Comes in four colors.
It was a glorious day. If you are vacationing in Maui, devoting a day to this experience is highly recommended. Follow my cliff notes for Road to Hana and have a great time!