For navigating the Road to Hana it is best to use the mile markers along the highway. When highway 36 turns into highway 360 you will see a sign with mile marker 0 below it. Reset your odometer at this point. Now you can use the Google interactive map and/or detailed list of attractions and waterfall PDFs. The Google interactive map contains the mile markers with images, waterfalls, restaurants, exits, slide shows, and attractions, all to help you make your Road to Hana trip easy and enjoyable.
For more information mile markers click here
To navigate to images slide shows at bottom of page click here
To navigate to detailed driving instructions with mile markers page click here
The Road to Hana is a 36 mile well paved and maintained highway that connects East Maui to the rest of the island. The narrow road with 54 one lane bridges and over 300 ess curves winds its way through the tropical east coast. The journey will take you through dense forests, waterfalls, and a rugged coastline. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy with 2 main parks and a few market places along the way. The trip takes over 5 hours to Hana and back with minimal stops. This trip is about the journey, not the destination. It is best to take your time and stop at as many places you can to get the maximum enjoyment out of your trip. The best option is to stay the night in Hana, giving you 2 days to explore the the entire area. While all of this sounds a little intimadating, it is really a pretty safe and enjoyable drive. Just remember to relax, drive slow and enjoy your surroundings.
Driving time estimates (no stops)
- Airport to Mile Marker 0 - 17.5 miles - 30 minutes
- Kihei to Mile Marker 0 - 24 miles - 40 minutes
- Lahaina to Mile Marker 0 - 38 miles - 60 minutes
- Mile Marker 0 to Hana -34 miles - 2 hours
- Hana to Oheo Gulch - 10 miles - 30 minutes
Preparing for the trip
- Plan the duration of the trip.
- 6 hours - This is about the time it takes to drive to hana and back, stopping at a few places along the way. Not enough time to travel to Oheo Gulch. This plan is not recommended.
- 8 hours - 11 hours will give you ample time to stop and enjoy the main attractions along the way.
- 2 days - Staying overnight in hana will allow you to visit all of the waterfalls and Hana beaches, hike the bamboo forest at Oheo Gulch, fully explore Waianapanapa Park, Hana Caves, Garden of Eden, and the Keanae Peninsula.
- Tour Bus 8-10 hours - You can opt to take a tour bus. Tour buses are great for those who don't like to drive but still enjoy the Road to Hana. Some tours even explore the backside which is usually closed to rentals.
- There are no gas stations so fill up before you leave or gas up at Paia (the last town) in the morning. Rent an economical small auto for your time on the island. While any auto can easily navigate the road; you will be on the road with tour buses and construction trucks, and a small car seems to maneuver better.
- While there are some places to get food and drink, it is a good idea to pack a lunch or ice chest. If you leave early some places will not be open yet.
- You have a 90% chance of encountering rain on your trip ( mostly in the morning). A light waterproof wind breaker or poncho is a good idea. If you are going to hike some of the trails and waterfalls wear good hiking boots or water shoes as it does get muddy and slippery.
- You will want to leave around 6 a.m. By leaving early there will be few cars on the road and plenty of space at the turnouts fo the waterfalls. Be aware of locals speeding down the road going to work. They are used to driving the road so give them the right of way. If you leave after 10am you will be sharing the narrow winding road with tour buses and many cars. If you plan on visiting Oheo Gulch leaving early will get you to the park when it opens, and with only a few other tourists. You will be able to enjoy the pools and scenery by yourself. By noon the parking lot will be full of buses and cars carrying hundreds of people.
- If you plan on staying the night reserve a condo or room. The Traavasa Resort is nice but very expensive. There are several condos you can rent on a daily basis. The Hana Kai is a good choice offering nice rooms with kitchens and views of the bay.
Using Maui's state highway mile markers are the best way to navigate the Road to Hana. You can reset your odometer when you get to mile marker 0 (look for it about 10 miles from Paia when Hwy 36 turns into Hwy 360). Use the printed Road to Hana itinerary to locate the attractions. The map is not 100% accurate, but pretty close. You can download the
file to your GPS or phone (if you can get
service) or to use with an offline viewer.
There are plenty of stops along the Road to Hana. Using the mile markers can help you find the waterfalls, lookouts and other spots along the way.
Road to Hana Tours
The journey to Hana is incredible but the driver often at times misses out on the best views, eyes glued to the car in-front. A great option is to go with a guide. A Guided Tour can allow for a full, relaxing day. A tour is free from the stress of driving and handles all the arrangements, including entrance fees to the National Park where you can swim in the Pools at Oheo. See everything on the road to Hana and then go beyond to the backside. Valley Isle Excursions takes it's passengers all the way around the island (including areas were rentals are not allowed) so you can see a lot more too. Road to Hana tours will provide pick-up and drop-off at your hotel/condo as well as meals and drinks all day long.