The Road to Hana is one of the Hawaiian island top attractions and a road trip that often features in the top 10 road trip guides, including our own. We love the Highway and love sharing its beauty and secrets with our readers. However the Name is misleading. While the Road goes to Hana, this is not the destination. And while we regularly say the Road IS the Destination, it is still misleading as the goodness does not end at Hana. It is “the road that goes past Hana to even moe beauty spots and Natural wonders!” But that is not nearly as catchy!
Still, some people turn around once they get to Hana and miss out on some f the best stop that are still to come. In the Road Beyond Hana Stops Guide we take a look at all of the highlights that the road still has to offer, from amazing beaches, Waterfalls even more stunning than the previous examples, the most beautiful pools to take a dip and even a hidden culinary gem as good as any on the island. The Past Hana is even more remote, wild, and untamed than the early miles and is essential to any Hana Road trip. Simply put DO NOT STOP AT HANA, the best is really still to come!
This is Part two of our Hana Stops Guide, for all the amazing Stops BEFORE Hana check out Part-One
Map to Hana Highway Stops – Our Companion Map
You can follow along the Road to Hana with our Comprehensive and FREE Map. Every stop, Mile Marker Waterfall and attraction is shown on the Map and you can follow it live with GPS as you drive the Highway or read our guide. This works best in another window as you follow along with our route.
The Road Beyond Hana
Hana is Far from the end of the Hana Highway and beyond the town there are still many of the best sights and stops left to come. We still have the best beach, the best Hike, and the best waterfalls. There are churches, famous resing places, stunning scenery, and even one of Hawaii’s culinary wonders still to some, so turning back at Hana is a crime.
The Road does become narrower and takes a rougher surface. The road soon becomes a single track for both directions soon after Hana, with only a few rough two lanes sections. However traffic dies off and the road is less curvy and exposed than the worst parts earlier on. Take your time and you will be fine with this section assuming you made it this far already!
Can I drive our Hire Car here?
You may hear people say you cannot take your Hire car past Hana. This is nonsense. While the road past Kipihula is restricted (we look at this in the final section of our stops guide, the Back Road to Hana) this section of the road is well paved and fully compliant with your hire car agreement.
Ok, lets hit the highway and get out of Hana, hope you enjoyed the State Park, the stunning red sand beach, and the amazing waterfalls and vista’s that have come before…Amazingly things are about to get even BETTER!
Section 4 – Mile Marker 51 Hana to Mile Marker 42 Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park
As you head out through the suburbs of Hana (to be honest it is pretty tricky to tell the difference between the suburbs and the center!) there a few places to look out for. First is the Fire Station, one of the world sleepiest and underworked in terms of fire fighting (although they keep busy rescuing tourists and cutting people out of auto wrecks!)
You will then pass a couple of pretty churches and a number of stores. There will be, depending on the season, a large number of food-trucks and food-stalls dotted about and in clusters. These change so often it’s hard to keep track. While there are some good ones we have a real culinary treat coming up so save room. The Hana Gas station is on your right, and if you ignored our tips and tricks page (in short fill up before you head to Hana!) you can fill up with fuel here, this is your only hope and with sporadic opening hours, we hope you are in luck.
You then leave “civilization again and head out into the real wilds. This part of the Haleakala Backcountry is really remote and the farthest from the real world most of us are likely to get!
Mile Marker 51 (+0.8) – Haneoo Road – Detour Must Stop
This 1.6 Mile detour misses out a dull part of the Hana Highway and replaces it with two stunning beaches and a really unique and tasty food stop!
Mile Marker 51 (+1.1) – Koki Beach – Quick Stop
Koki Beach is renowned as the other Red Sand Beach of Hana. While people forcefully redirect people to here instead of Kaihalulu due to the iffy access, it is a pale substitute. Not least because the sand here is really not red at all! The golden sand has a slight orangy-red tint to it, but often just looks muddy and unappealing. There is a remote and lost feel to the beach but it is not one of Maui’s Finest. A quick stop to check it out and move on.
Mile Marker 35 (+1.25) – HuliHuli Chicken – Must Stop
One of the best dining spots on the Island is Koki’s Huli Huli Chicken. If you are expecting a Fine Dining experience think again, this is little more than a backyard hut. But in terms of a culinary experience it’s right up there.
Huli Huli refers t the turning of the chicken, which is a bit odd as if you didn’t turn it one side would be raw! Anyway, The chicken is marinated in a rich Polynesian Style sauce (we are breaking down the recipe right now so you can make this at home!) and then cooked over an open fire, turned regularly which is referred to as a huli.
The Smoke and the heat fro the fire intensify the marinade and the chicken ends up out of this world! Like so many of the best things in life it’s so simple but oh so delicious. Eating Huli Huli Chicken down by the ocean in the remote backwaters of Hana’s suburbs is one of Maui’s real pleasures
Mile Marker 35 (+1.9) – Hamao Beach – Priority
The Hana Coastline is wild and rough as it is pounded by uninterrupted Pacific swells, as such almost all the beaches in the area are pretty poor for bathing. We constantly push people away from anything more than a quick dip. Finally right on the far side of Hana do we get to a beach where you can really take a plunge.
Hamao Beach is a fantastic Bathing beach. The wide deep sand beach with moderate shore break is the perfect place to play around in the surf! The Sand is soft and deep and most free from rocks. It is soft Coral sand with a little black lava fleck thrown in giving a salt and pepper look to the beach.
The Ocean is wonderful fun here. The shore break can be strong but most of the time the waves shoot up the beach and it’s perfect for playing around in. The area retains some of the lost world aesthetic that most Hana beaches have but actually works as a beach. We could easily spend all day here, and it’s such a shame we need to push on!
We are back on the 360 Hana highway now and there was little missed and a lot gained by the short detour.
Mile Marker 49 (+0.7) – Waioka Pond – Optional
The legendary Venus pools are one of Maui’s tourist horror stories. Once scarcely known and the sole sanctuary of the locals, these pools were revealed and became a tourist hotspot before “Liability” came crashing down on them and access was restricted.
The trail to the Pool is open at the time of writing but this definitely flip-flops and you may arrive at a time when the access is restricted. The needle seems to have fallen on warning you off and absolving Liability (the pools are on state land but the access trail is on Hana Ranch land). So you can proceed with caution, if the signs change and Hana Ranch decide you are not allowed on their land you need to obey.
The trail to the pool is not the best, and hence why the Ranch is twitchy about liability. Once down the trail the real issue is getting into the pool as you have two choices, a nasty scramble down slippy rocks or a plunge into the water below. Explaining in detail how to get to the pool is tricky as the beach is in constant flux. It is a pebble beach and the sea constantly shifts the main part of it either connecting our cutting off the pool from the ocean.
Are the Venus pools worth it? We are less convinced than others. The area is not as beautiful as many others on the highway and it is always crowded. More often than not we skip the pond. However, it is the biggest and deepest pool on the island and with care offers some great cliff jumping. (Always pre-scout the underwater landscape before plunging in from above!)
With so much to see and do on the road the Waioka pond can be left to the locals for us. The tourist name “Venus pools” is so misleading and lure people in expecting a wonderful and picturesque location but it’s just a murky inlet connected to the ocean. There are so many better places to swim around Maui that the limited parking and tricky access just make us want to pass on by. However for many this is one of the premium stops, so if you are looking for some lower-risk cliff jumping the Waioka pond does offer a number of varying heights to plunge from.
Note we say lower risk, not low risk. Cliff jumping is an inherently dangerous pastime.
Mile Marker 49 (+1) – St Peters Church – Diversion
While we do not really ever stop at St Peter’s Church we do always make this short diversion to drive by. The little chapel s open to the public (like most churches) and is a lovely little piece of small-town America hidden away in a jungle!
Mile Marker 45 (-0.1) – Paihi Falls – Skip
Paiho Falls probably has the distinction as the least spectacular fall on the Island, They are right by the roadside so you can slow down, but you have seen enough waterfalls already and this is pale by comparison and just up ahead are some stonkers!
Mile Marker 45 (+0.2) – Wailua Falls – Quick Stop
And this is one of them! One of the most striking roadsides falls the Wailua Falls is a wonderful last stop before Kipahulu. While there is a pool below the falls for you to take a quick dip, most people hold off to swim in Oheo Gulch. This makes this a quick stop to stretch the legs and take in the beauty of the falls.
The Twin level and narrow lush green valley, filled with vegetation, make this a real spectacle, and a taster of what is to come just a few miles up the road.
Mile Marker 42 – Kipahulu Visitor Center – Must Stop
Oheo Gulch – Pipiwai Trail – Waimoku Falls
If you have ventured this far past Hana it can only be for one reason and that is Kipahulu. The remote district of the Haleakala National park. While we always stress the road to Hana is not about the destination, the Kipahulu District is about as close as one gets to a “there”. We would be hard pushed to recommend the drive Just for this portion of the park, but it is a fitting terminus and home to some of the best jewels the high has to dish up!
First up is the entry fee! A painful $30 to access the park! This definitely stings, as the district only has one hike and a few pools that are often closed. Admittedly it is one of the best hikes on the island and the pools are STUNNING but it is still a big ask.
Fortunately, the Entry fee is good for 3 days and gets you into the summit area of the Haleakala national park too. Plan to visit there in the next three days or, save your receipt from visiting the summit and it is good for Kipahulu within three days.
If you can’t visit withing three days but are going to both areas of the park, buy the Tri Park pass for $55 which is good for a year and gets you into the Volcanoes National park over on Big Island. Even if you are not going to the big island and won’t be back to Maui in the next year the Tri-Park is still better value than paying twice…just!
Inside the park, there are a few sites of interest. A Hawaiian burial site, an interesting visitor center, and a small beach that has poor bathing conditions. There are a few short but scenic hiking trails and there is even an area for camping for the adventurous. But the main attractions are the Oheo Gulch and the Pipiwai Trail with its stunning waterfalls.
One of our all-time favorite hikes on the Island. This 4-mile round trip hike takes in some seriously unique and wonderful landscapes as you track deep into the Hawaiian rainforest past prehistoric valleys, ancient trees, and consuming bamboo forests to reach one of the most picture-perfect waterfalls in the world.
If the Road to Hana was a hike this is it. After every turn is another jaw-dropping spectacle, and the whole route is dripping with dense jungle and unmatched beauty. After the long drive, it’s the perfect way to stretch the legs. It is, however, a fairly steep push up the hill to begin with and the jungle is hot and oppressive, and likely filled with mozzies!
After that hard hike up to the falls, there is nothing better than cooling off in a waterfall filled pool before you head back along to the highway. And there are few better places on earth to do that than the ‘Ohe’o Gulch Pools.
Better known by the tourist name, Seven Sacred Pools, This series of cascading waterfalls and pools is a hotspot for beauty and cooling off. We are not fans of the tourist name as there are more than 7 pools and there is no indication they are even remotely scared, but the tourist boards thought ‘Ohe’o Gulch was pretty unappealing. I guess no one thought of just showing the tourists a picture!
The water is very cool and can muddy up during heavy rains. If the flow is fast, just admire the view, and if not take care as this is a flash flood hotspot. The Park has a nasty habit of hunting the pools for the slightest reason, rockfall, light rain, rough seas, and these days they are closed more than they are open. But if you get lucky a cooling dip here is the perfect tonic to the day.
Read More Here…
Back Road to Hana!
And so ends the road to Hana, and the Road PAST Hana. In the final few miles, you will have noticed the road getting narrower and narrower and the surface poorer and poorer. The road continues this downward spiral for the next few miles until it is a tiny dirt track miles from anywhere remotely civilized.
This section of road is Kapu, or forbidden, at least as far as your Rental Car agreement goes, and that means your insurance. The majority turn back here and on the whole that is our advice too, however, there are still a few gems further along that might be worth the risk, and the road as a whole is a stunning spectacle for those brave or stupid enough to push on. In our Hana Back Route Article, we explore the Back Side of Haleakala and all the things you can see and do along this real hells highway. We also take a look at if you should risk it, or take heed of all the warnings and turn back.
Starting your Journey at Kipahulu?
Of course, if you have just joined us, as you have hightailed it all the way to Kipahulu, then welcome your journey along the road to Hana is just beginning!
Have Your Say
Have you Driven the Road Beyond Hana? How did you find the drive? What stops did you take and what were the highlights? Are you glad you pushed on past Hana or had you seen enough already? Did you Hike PipiWai? Did you bathe in the Scared pools? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, we would love to hear from you!
And if you have any questions at all on this part of the highway just fire away in the comments.