Dramatic coastlines, black sand beaches, jungle forests, and jaw-dropping waterfalls – it’s no wonder why Maui is considered to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
The Road to Hana Highway is by far the most epic road trip route that you can drive on the stunning Maui island. The hardest part about this drive is picking which Road to Hana stops you should see in a single day – because there are so many incredible ones to choose from!
In this post, we share 8 of our favorite trails and attractions from our day trip along the Road to Hana in Maui. These are some of the most popular stops that you should not miss and can easily squeeze into a day trip.
Don’t stress anymore about research because we got you covered on what to expect, what to pack and we dish out tons of tips from our personal experience to make the best of your time on the Hana Highway road trip!
Getting Around In Maui
The easiest way to visit Road to Hana and other points of interest in Maui is by having a rental car. Most attractions in Maui are pretty spread out so having a car is a must if you want to explore outside of your hotel.
Most rental car agencies are located at the airport so you can easily pick up a car when you land. I recommend going with a premium provider because we had some issues with our budget rental and the company would not come to exchange our car – despite it not being drivable a few days into the trip.
It turned into a little bit of a nightmare situation so for Maui it’s best to pay extra for a premium rental because there is nothing worse than being stuck on the other side of the island with a non-operational car and getting no help.
Check out the highly rated Enterprise Rent-A-Car at Kahului Airport in Maui!
How To Drive The Road To Hana
I’m not gonna sugar coat it – driving the Road to Hana can be an intimidating experience. The Road to Hana is a super-narrow mountain highway with sharp turns that often turns into a one-way road.
Most visitors start the drive in Kahului City and end it at the Pīpīwai Trail. This route covers around 60 miles of a windy coastline with steep cliff drop offs.
The drive itself takes around 2.5 hours each way (without any stops) so you can expect to spend a lot of time in a car. Road to Hana travels next to the ocean providing stunning views along the way but the drive is slow and challenging. You’ll constantly need to pass other cars, pull over, cross one-way bridges and squeeze into tight parking spots.
This is a tough drive so many people choose to sign up for a guided Road to Hāna Sightseeing Tour like this one and put their trust in an experienced local driver.
If you choose to drive the Hana Highway yourself, you will need to leave your place very early to get going (we’re talking like 6 am). I recommend leaving as early as possible to get ahead of the crowds which will also allow you to find parking much easier.
Give yourself 5 hours for the drive, plus time to see a few of the main attractions along the way. Try to be out of Road to Hana before sunset because this road can be very dangerous to drive at night. You’ll most likely get back to your hotel at around 8 pm so be ready for an all-day-long adventure!
Where To Stay In Maui
When visiting Maui, most people stay in either Lahaina or Kihei – the two most popular hotel areas on the island. As an alternative, you can also book a vacation rental around Hana and spend more time exploring the Road to Hana. If you stay in Hana, you’ll already be at the center of the main attractions and won’t need to spend so much time driving in a car.
If you’re looking for an incredible private rental in Maui, read this post next that covers some of the best vacation homes from all around the island:
What To Pack For Road To Hana
So what should you bring for the Road to Hana drive? The Hana Highway is located in a dense jungle next to the ocean so bring light clothing that you don’t mind getting muddy or dirty.
Here’s what we suggest to bring for Road to Hana trip:
- The weather in Maui is mostly hot and humid. Wear clothing that is easy to layer like shorts and light tops.
- You will be trekking across muddy, wet terrain. It’s best to wear water shoes or hiking sandals to avoid accidentally slipping and falling. I thought I would be fine in my tennis shoes but my feet were completely soaked and covered in mud by the end of the trip. Bring an extra pair of shoes and socks to change into for the drive back.
- Wear your bathing suit! Nothing feels better for cooling off from hot weather than a quick swim in a waterfall or the ocean. I recommend already wearing a bathing suit underneath your clothes instead of changing there because you won’t have much privacy at these locations.
- It’s easy to get sunburned in Mau. Don’t ruin your vacation with a bad sunburn by wearing mineral sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, and bring plenty of water for your trip.
- There are several porta-potties and bathrooms along this route. I always bring travel toilet paper and hand sanitizer in case they don’t have any in the visitor bathrooms.
Now that you have an idea of what to expect, here are 8 of our favorite Road To Hana stops in Maui that you should not miss!
- Twin Falls Maui Waterfall
- Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
- Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread
- Kopiliula Falls
- Hāna Farms Roadside Stand & Restaurant
- Black Sand Beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park
- Wailua Falls
- Pīpīwai Trail
1. Twin Falls Maui Waterfall
- Length: 1.8 miles out and back
- Elevation gain: 350 feet
- Trail difficulty: Easy
- Time needed: 1-2 hours
- Location: 6300 Hana Hwy, Haiku, HI 96708
Kick off your Hana Highway road trip by stopping at the Twin Falls Maui Waterfall. This is one of the shortest and most scenic hikes in Maui that visits two stunning waterfalls. The Twin Falls Maui Waterfall is one of the first major Road to Hana stops so many people hike this trail.
The Twin Falls Maui Waterfall is located on a private farm that is open to visitors. There is a large designated parking lot for hikers in front of the Twin Falls Maui Farm Stand which is a charming little stand selling fruit, juices, and smoothies.
Once you park, the entrance to the trail is easy to spot next to the fruit stand.
The hike to the waterfalls is straightforward and follows a wide path through a lush jungle.
The first waterfall is located 0.2 miles into the trail to the left and can be hard to spot so don’t miss it! There is a viewpoint that overlooks the waterfall but if you want to get a closer look, you can take a steep trail down to the waterfall base.
The second waterfall is located further up the main road. You will need to cross a few creeks to get there and you might get your feet soaked so wear water shoes or hiking sandals if you have any!
The second waterfall is located at the end of the trail and has a large pool which provides a wonderful place to jump in for a refreshing swim.
2. Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
The next stop on our Road to Hana trip was to check out the Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees. These Rainbow Trees are located in an area next to the Hana Highway just past mile marker 6.5.
There is no visitor parking lot here so you’ll need to park along the road whenever you see some space. These colorful trees are located next to the road so you can quickly park, jump out of the car and see them within a few minutes. There is one large grove here with around 20 Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees, but there are more trees further up along the highway.
The Maui Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees are made of many different colors due to peeling tree bark. The green layers are the newest ones while the maroon, orange, and red are the oldest layers.
When driving the Road to Hana be sure to keep an eye out for these trees and don’t miss them! Maui’s Rainbow Trees are so unique and a lot more colorful than I expected them to be so it’s worth a stop.
Location: Rainbow Trees, Haiku, HI 96708
3. Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread
After spending several hours driving in a car, stop for a quick snack at the famous Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread stand. This is one of the most popular Road to Hana stops because who doesn’t enjoy warm, freshly baked banana bread?!
To get to Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread stand you will need to go on a quick detour from Hana Highway. Turn left onto Keanae Road and the snack stand will be to your right soon after.
This banana bread stand is visited by tourists all day long so there will most likely be a line – but it moves pretty quickly. We ordered a couple of banana bread loaves to share with everyone in our group and I also got their smoothie that was very refreshing. The banana bread is so soft that it simply melts in your mouth followed by a slightly crisp crust.
The banana bread loaves cost $7 each and the smoothie was $6.50. If you’re extra hungry, you can also order sandwiches, soups, and hot dogs from this local food stand.
Hours: 8:30 am to 2:30 pm
4. Kopiliula Falls
Kopiliula Falls was an unexpectedly stunning waterfall along the Road to Hana drive. This is not a popular stop and is easy to miss if you’re not keeping an eye out for it.
Parking by Kopiliula waterfall is very limited and you might need to walk a bit along the road to see it. The best view of this waterfall can be found up the road overlooking the bridge and plunging waterfall tiers.
Location: Kopiliula Falls, Hawaii 96790
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5. Hāna Farms Roadside Stand & Restaurant
If you’re looking for a convenient spot to grab food along the Road to Hana drive, The Bamboo Hale at Hāna Farms is a roadside restaurant making it easy for visitors to stop for lunch.
The Bamboo Hale is an open-air restaurant made of locally grown bamboo. This unique outdoors restaurant specializes in pizza, sandwiches, traditional Hawaiian plates, and salads with fresh ingredients from their own garden.
I got their Harvest Salad with pork which came out to around $19. All of the plates were beautifully presented and tasted so delicious.
After eating your meal, you can also browse through their adjacent market that sells local goodies and fruits.
- Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday – 11 am to 3 pm
- Friday & Saturday – 12 pm to 8 pm
6. Black Sand Beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park
If there is one place that you should visit along the Road to Hana, it’s the Black Sand Beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park.
This is truly one of the most remarkable places in Maui but to visit the Waiʻānapanapa State Park you will need to make a reservation ahead of time. If you don’t have a reservation, you will be turned away which can feel pretty devastating after driving all day to get there.
Reservations for the Waiʻānapanapa State Park can be made here: Gowaianapanapa.com
You will need to pick a time slot and enter information for every person in your car. You can book the reservation up to 14 days in advance and no later than 1 day before your visit (no same-day reservations are allowed).
We booked our reservation a couple of days before driving Road To Hana and most of the time slots were already taken up so don’t put this off until the last minute!
The black sand beach at Waiʻānapanapa State Park consists of volcanic sand that looks very contrasting against the green vegetation and turquoise ocean. There is a small cove where visitors can lay out, swim, explore sea caves and go on a short coastal trail.
Location: Waianapanapa, Hana, HI 96713
7. Wailua Falls
While most waterfalls along the Road to Hana require a decent hike to visit them, Wailua Falls is an exception.
Located next to the Hana Highway, visitors can park at the nearby parking lot and see this towering 80-foot waterfall within a few minutes from a viewpoint on a small bridge.
If you want to jump in the waterfall for a refreshing swim, access down to the waterfall is short and easy from the Hana Highway. The hike to the waterfall is slick and slippery so hiking sandals with good grip can be helpful here.
Location: Wailua Falls, Hawaii 96746
8. Pīpīwai Trail
- Length: 3.8 miles out and back
- Elevation gain: 900 feet
- Trail difficulty: Moderate
- Time needed: 2-3 hours
- Location: Pīpīwai Trail, Hana, HI 96713
Pīpīwai Trail is a stunning jungle hike that travels to multiple waterfalls, across bridges, and through the popular bamboo forest. This is considered to be one of the best trails in all of Maui so be sure to set aside some time to explore it!
To hike the Pīpīwai Trail you can park at the Kīpahulu Visitor Center. This trail is part of the Haleakalā National Park so you will need to pay the $30 vehicle entrance fee.
I have an annual US National Park pass that costs $80 but allows unlimited entry into any National Park for a year, even ones in Maui. We hiked several trails at the Haleakalā National Park on this trip so the pass paid itself off within a few days.
Due to time constraints, we didn’t get to hike all the way to Waimoku Falls at the end of the Pīpīwai Trail. We did hike a portion of the Pīpīwai Trail up to the bamboo forest and got to see Falls of Makahiku and a giant Banyan tree. It’s impossible to see everything along the Road to Hana in one day so you really have to choose what to see and what to skip.
The Pīpīwai Trail is not a technical or difficult hike but it is very slippery especially after rainfall. Along this trail, you’ll encounter exposed tree roots and rocky sections so good hiking shoes are recommended. Many people get injured on this trail from slipping and accidentally falling so extra caution should be used around cliffs, waterfalls, and steep drop-offs.
If you have extra time after hiking the Pīpīwai Trail, be sure to stop by The Pools at ‘Ohe’o which are located a short walk from the Kīpahulu Visitor Center.
Looking for more things to do in Maui? Here are some of our other popular Maui posts to help you with trip planning!
- 10 Incredible VRBOs In Kihei On Maui’s Sunny South Shore
- Kapalua Coastal Trail In West Maui, Hawaii
- Acid War Zone Trail To Nakalele Blowhole In Maui
- Guide To Hiking Waihe’e Ridge Trail In Maui, Hawaii
- Sliding Sands to Halemau’u Trail At Haleakalā National Park
Interested in stepping up your photography skills? Here is the camera gear that I use and recommend to create amazing travel photos:
- Main camera: Sony a7II Camera With 28-70 mm Standard Lens
- Polarizer Filter for the standard lens (helps eliminate reflection and enhance color especially on super bright days): Amazon Basics 55 mm
- Wide Lens (great for nature shots): Sony 16-35 mm F4
- Polarizer Filter for the wide lens: Amazon Basics 72 mm
- Small Tripod (to stabilize photos and eliminate blur): JOBY Gorrilapod
- Memory Cards: SanDisk 32 GB
- Batteries: Sony Battery Charger Set
- Camera Bag: Lowepro weather-resistant bag
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