Previously I had posted about my trip to Maui, and quick tips you should follow and places to visit. The selling point of Maui, for me, was The Road to Hana. When I saw it, I knew it was something I needed to experience immediately.
The Road to Hana is a drive from the bottom of a mountain, all the way to the very top to the town of Hana. Along the way, there are mile markers that you pass and just about each mile marker has something to see. Please be aware, there is absolutely no way you can stop and see every single mile marker along the way. Some of them are easy and you just pull over to the side of the road. Others are miles of hiking that take hours. I did intense research and came down to 6 mile markers I could not miss.
Though the town of Hana is very nice, many people have been saying that you should spend the night up there on the mountain, I didn’t see the purpose of that. We left for Hana around 8 am and we got back to the bottom in the late afternoon. We were exhausted. From the hiking, climbing, jumping, swimming, undressing, redressing, getting in and out of the car, it was an action packed day, but it was probably the best day of my life.
To get to the very top, where Hana is, is around 55 miles up and then you have to turn around and come back down. So please plan accordingly, because it is a full day of adventure and it is very tiring at the end of it. But all the stops you make are so worth it.
You also need to know that the Road to Hana can be very dangerous at points in the car. When crossing bridges or going around turns at points, it becomes only one lane of traffic for both ways. When you’re on the road in your car, you think “how the heck can this tiny road be for two ways of traffic?!”, but you make it work. Just be sure to drive slow and beep when you are coming around a turn, so a car coming at you is aware. Also, at some points there are no guard rails, so stick close to the side of the mountain.
Things you need to bring:
-sneakers (they’ll get wet)
-a few pairs of socks
-bathing suit (make sure you’re wearing it)
-shorts and a t-shirt to throw on
-a towel to sit on in the car (you’ll dry off by the time you get to the next destination)
-BUG SPRAY! ( we forgot this and had a million mosquito bites)
-money (for banana bread and smoothie stops along the way)
-your list of mile markers you want to stop at (there is no cell-phone service on The Road to Hana, so be sure you know where you want to stop and where it is)
These are the Mile Markers I could not miss:
MM 16 / Ke’Anae Penninsula
If you want to see the bluest water crash into an abundance of black lava rocks, this is the place to go. Don’t get too close to the crashing water, because the tide can take you in quickly. You drive down a small road to the very end, where you’ll see cars parked. Get banana bread before you leave and return to the Road.
MM 19 / Three Bears Waterfall
Park your car on the side of the bridge. At first you think, “Oh! Let me just stand here on the bridge and admire these three waterfalls.” Yeah, definitely do that. But then, walk across the bridge and on the left side is a small opening. It may seem steep and crazy, but climb down under the bridge, walk through the wildlife, climb the rocks and swim under those waterfalls! Be sure to stick to the left side as you walk through this sort of jungle. People have made this trip before, so you have a sense of direction as to what to follow. The water was freezing! But hey, you’re in Hawaii, on the side of a mountain, under a waterfall.
MM 32 / Wai’anapanapa State Park
Drive down the dirt road to the very end, where there is a large parking area. Follow the path down the middle, past the welcome center and to the left. This is where we found the Black Sand Beach and the Cave. It was a little crowded, but no one was really swimming, which we planned on doing. The beach is in this small little cove, so the waves come in at an awesome speed and you get incredible views of a world you didn’t even know existed. Out in the ocean was this large lava rock, and as we were walking up the hill back to the car, we saw a man jump off of it. This is a must see spot and also the only place I had cellphone service.
MM 48 / The Venus Pools
THIS WAS THE BEST PART OF MY WHOLE TRIP. If you do anything, please do this. It is beyond any words I can say to you. Park before the bridge and past the chain link fence and into the field where there are cows. You will see a sign that warns you that it is private property and to be safe. The sign is not a warning, but just a reminder that if you get hurt, it is your own fault. Take the small path that leads to the opening of the pools and the cliffs to jump off. Follow down to all the rocks on the right, where people will be sitting and taking pictures and leave your stuff here. Then venture back up to the cliff and jump from the 40 foot edge. The water below you is very calm and in a small cove, so you can even bring blow up floats to just relax for a few hours. This was the most relaxing place, with the most fun. Anthony jumped off the cliff 4 different times and everyone cheers for you. There are a few smaller jumps if that one seems a bit high. Then you swim to the bottom of the rocks and begin your climb back up (this part isn’t too easy because the rocks are slippery).
***At this point, we had made it into Hana so the mile markers stopped going up and began going down, because you are making the decent down the opposite side of the mountain. At one point we were at MM 32 and then the next one was MM 52. That is why we went to the mile marker 48, before we went to mile marker 41. Just continue along the Road to Hana you had been traveling to get to the next one.***
MM 41 / Haleakala National Park
It cost 20$ to get inside (credit card only), but I had been waiting for this part in the trip. Re-apply bug spray here, because you’ll be in the forest. The hike to the waterfall was 3.5 miles in total, but we only traveled around 2.5 miles in total to the Bamboo Forest. I had mental mile markers along this hike to know when we were getting closer. First I wanted to see the Giant Banyan Tree, then pass over the bridges and finally to the Bamboo Forest. It was a beautiful hike and worth it, despite how tired we were at this point.
Once we were finished here, we got back in the car and traveled all the way back down the mountain. We got caught in some rain, which was extremely funny because we had to quickly put the top back on the jeep and we were soaked, but loved it. We stopped along the way to get smoothies and listened to the rain hit the windows.