Hana is a sleepy little town located in Maui on the backside of Haleakala. Hana is a fairly quiet town with only one or two hotels. It has a small public beach that when compared to some of the other beaches on Maui seems less impressive. And what sleepy town would be complete without a horse ranch. Hana is definitely not lacking in charm. While millions of people travel through Hana each year, few people actually stay here. The road to Hana, as the Hana highway has been dubbed is more about the journey, than the actual destination. If you were to drive straight from Kahului to Hana the trip would take you about two hours. But, as I said before, this trip is about the scenery.
If you were in a huge rush to get to Hana, you would be disappointed. In order to do this trip properly, you should be in no hurry and allow for an eleven or twelve hour trip.
The first place to stop on the road to Hana is the twin falls. They are impressive if you have never seen a waterfall, but you will see some much more spectacular views along this journey. The Ko’olau Forest Reserve is one stop along the way that you should not skip. You will first see Norfolk pines located on the hillside, then some vibrantly colored Eucalyptus trees (very impressive to the east coast native). Next you will see a vast expanse of bamboo trees. It’s worth the time to visit this tropical forest.
If waterfalls are your thing, you are in luck. There is the famous Waikamoi falls located at the bridge just before the 10 mile marker. This waterfall is impressive to say the least. It stretches some hundreds of feet above the bridge, and has several different colors of moss growing alongside the falls.
The next place to stop is the Kaumahina State Wayside Park. It has picnic tables and provides a wide ocean view. This is the perfect place to stop for a quick romantic lunch. For the next several miles there is spectacular ocean view, offering ample opportunity to pull over and take pictures. If it has recently rained, then you are in for a special treat, you will see a plethora of water falls exhibiting a rainbow of colors due to the wild vegetation. You don’t get much closer to perfection than this. At this point you are roughly halfway to Hana.
The Ke’anea Valley marks the halfway point to Hana. This valley is home to the Haleakala Crater, which was formed by an eruption of the Haleakala volcano. Lava erupted from the volcano and flowed into the valley creating this giant crater. It is a sight to see. As you drive on from here you will see a sign that says “halfway to Hana”. There is also a camp site here, so you can either make camp or explore the first half some more, or you can drive onto Hana.