Shaka Guide's Loop Road to Hana Itinerary

Shaka Guide

There is only one road into and out of Hana. Locals have to drive this road every day and the thousands of drivers on this one-lane highway greatly impact their lives.

Please be respectful — do not park illegally, pay attention to signs, drive responsibly, and pull over to let locals pass. Do not enter private property or visit unsafe sites. And, please remember to pick up your trash.

Exploring Road to Hana with Shaka Guide

road to hana map in Hawaii with mile markers

The Road to Hana is one of the most famous excursions in Maui.

This road trip along Hana Highway passes dozens of:

  • waterfalls
  • lush beaches
  • tropical forests
  • a lava cave, and
  • stunning scenic spots

You can swim beneath waterfalls, hike through rainforests, and try some local grinds (two words: banana bread) along the way.

With Shaka Guide, you’ll have the freedom to visit the stops you want, spend as much time as you’d like, and skip the ones you don’t.

Our Loop Road to Hana tour takes you to the rarely discovered back road of Hana. With 142 narration points and over 30 stops, this tour takes between 10-12 hours to complete.

It begins in Kahului near the airport and ends in Kula Town. From there, you turn on your GPS to direct you to Paia Town for some dinner, or just drive straight to your hotel.

We highly recommend you start the tour in Kahului early, by 8:00 a.m., if you’d like to explore all the awe-inspiring locations on this tour. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you’re staying in Lahaina or Kaanapali in West Maui, the drive to the starting point for the Road to Hana is about 45 minutes away. Don’t forget to include that extra time while you’re planning your day! Also, if you want to avoid driving at night as much as possible, we suggest you leave Oheo Pools around 5:00 p.m.

Important Information for Driving the Back Road to Hana

On the back road to Hana, you’ll drive along some dirt roads, over cliffs with rusty guardrails, and along narrow coastal roads.

Most rental car agreements prohibit driving on “unpaved” roads. The drive can be done with a 2-wheel drive vehicle and most people manage it with no problems at all.

Just be aware that if you need a tow it’s expensive and will take the full day. Also, your insurance might not cover you.

It’s your call to make and you do so at your own risk. You can check out this article to learn more about driving the back road to Hana. 

Debating which tour to take? Here's our tour comparison! 

road to hana loop tour map


We highly recommend you start the tour from Kahului by 8:00 a.m. If you don’t start early enough, there’s a chance you’ll be driving the road at night.

This is definitely doable, it’s just a matter of preference. 

Paia Town

Approximate time: 30 minutes 

The official start of the Road to Hana is in Paia Town, a beachy neighborhood with cute shops and some good restaurants to grab a bite for breakfast.

Check out the tour highlights in the app if you need some restaurant recommendations.

Your next food stop will be in a few hours at the Garden of Eden Arboretum (a paid attraction) or even further down the road for some delicious, fresh-made banana bread.

If you’re not hungry, keep driving to the next stop! 

Hookipa Beach

Approximate time: 10 minutes 

The consistent strong winds and good waves here, make Ho’okipa a world-famous beach for windsurfing and kite surfing.

You can stop here briefly to check out the surfers! There is a great view from the parking lot above that overlooks the beach. 

download shaka guide


Approximate time: 10 minutes

During the months between December and March, when the wind and ocean conditions are just right, Jaws can produce waves as high as 70 feet!

There are many big wave competitions held here every year that attract the best surfers from around the world.

However, most of the time this beach has little to no waves. Unless it’s winter and you are sure that Jaws is “breaking” we suggest you skip this beach and keep driving.

PLEASE NOTE: To access Jaws you will need a four-wheel drive vehicle for a muddy dirt road.

Twin Falls

Approximate time: 30 minutes 

The first of many waterfalls on our excursion today is Twin Falls.

Unbeknownst to most, there are actually three different falls in the area -- Twin Falls, the most easily accessible, rope swing, and caves.

Each requires a hike and most people just quickly stop at Twin Falls for a picture or a quick dip in the swimming hole.

It’s a beautiful fall, but there are so many to see. We recommend taking a quick peek at the first falls as there are more waterfalls and better hiking opportunities down the road. 

Waikamoi Ridge Trail

Approximate time: 30 minutes 

bamboo Waikamoi Ridge Trail, a family-friendly hike on the Road to Hana; Allie_Caulfield, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr 

This family-friendly trail is a short, three-quarter-mile loop that takes you through a forest of giant eucalyptus and mahogany trees.

Stop here if you need to stretch your legs and want to get in a quick walk -- remember, you’ll be in the car for hours today!   

Garden of Eden Arboretum

Approximate time: 1 hour

The Garden of Eden is a family-friendly spot with a variety of exotic plants from tropical rainforests throughout the world.

While you’re there, you’ll see stunning coastal views and catch a glimpse of the Keopuka rock, which was featured in the opening scene of Jurassic Park. 

NOTE: there is an admission fee to enter the Arboretum 

Bathroom Break at Kaumahina State Park

Approximate time: 10 minutes 

This well-maintained park is a great place to stretch your legs and use the restroom.

It’s not the cleanest restroom along the road, so if you can wait we recommend using the restroom at the Ke’anae Peninsula.

While you’re there, take some great photos of the Keanae peninsula which we will be visiting in a bit. 

download shaka guide

Honomanu Bay View

Approximate time: 5 minutes

Here is the pullout for Honomanu Bay where you can park your car, and cross the street for a good view of the bay. 

If there is no room to park, you can also stop by on the way back if there’s still daylight. 

Nua'ailua View Point

Approximate time: 5 minutes 

Pullover to view sheer cliffs and crashing surf at Nua’ailua Bay. 

Ke’anae Arboretum

Approximate time: 30 minutes 

Perhaps you’ve heard of the rainbow eucalyptus trees on the Road to Hana. If you’re looking to see these colorful trees up close, here’s the spot!

The Ke’anae Arboretum is free and open to the public. You can also visit this stop on the way back if there’s time -- we mention it again on the return trip. 

Note: There is a bit of a hike on a paved path to get there. 

Ke’anae Peninsula

Approximate time: 10 minutes

peninsula overviewKe’anae Peninsula; Navin75, CC BY SA 2.0, via Flickr

The Keanae Peninsula is a short detour off of Hana Highway, but it’s well worth the time for its stunning views of the ocean ripping through jagged lava rock.

There are also some public restrooms near the peninsula. 

Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread

Approximate time: 15 minutes

As you’re leaving the Keanae Peninsula you’ll spot Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread on the left side of the road.

Aunty Sandy’s serves up warm loaves of banana bread that are made fresh, daily. We highly recommend you stop for a bite.

Plus, at this point, you’re probably starting to feel a bit hungry and we still have a ways to go before we make it to the next major food stop. 

Keanae Valley Overlook

Approximate time: 10 minutes 

Now, pull over at an amazing overlook of the Ke’anae Peninsula that we drove down.

You will see a large shoulder on the left that you can pull in for a great bird ' s-eye view of the peninsula. Notice the many taro patches that dot the landscape.  

Halfway to Hana Food Stand

Approximate time: 20 minutes

road to hanaHalfway to Hana Food Stand, stop for some snacks for the rest of the trip; dronepicr, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Looking to grab a snack for the road? Stop at Halfway to Hana Food Stand.

This snack shop also has fresh banana bread, but it also offers shaved ice, lunch items like burgers and sandwiches, and small bites like fruits and chips. 

FUN FACT! Halfway to Hana is actually just before the official halfway point.

Wailua State Wayside Park

Approximate time: 15 minutes

Wailua Valley State Wayside Park is not much of a park but more like an overlook.

Here you can get an excellent view of little Wailua Town and a famous church called the “coral miracle church”. 

When you get to the overlook you will see the Haleakala Volcano behind you.

You may even get lucky and see a waterfall or two cascading down in the distance. 

Waikani Falls (3 Bears)

Approximate time: N/A - just drive by

Waikani Falls is actually a series of three waterfalls, also known by its nickname -- the Three Bears Falls. Don’t worry, there are no bears in Hawaii.

The falls likely got this nickname because the three falls have varying heights: short, medium, and tall, just like the family of bears in the children’s story Goldilocks and the Three Bears. 

NOTE: Do not stop at the falls! There is no parking. 

loop road to hana download


Secret Lava Tube Cave

Approximate time: 15 minutes 

As we continue along Hana Highway, we’ll stop by a lava cave hidden on the side of the road.

This cave was formed when hot lava from an eruption cooled and hardened on the exterior, while it continued flowing in the inner core.

After the lava drained out the hardened exterior shell remained, forming a cave.

The entrance to the cave is small but it quickly opens up to where you can easily stand up.

NOTE: Please keep low and watch your head. The rocks in this cave can be sharp. 

Look Out for Makapipi Falls

Approximate time: 1 minute

You don’t need to stop, but look out for a waterfall on the side of the road. Most people drive by and don’t even notice it’s there!

You’ll see it under the bridge. As you look for the waterfall, please be mindful of the other drivers on the road.

Also, if you’re traveling in the summer months and don’t see the falls, it could be because they’ve dried up. 

Kahanu Gardens

Approximate time: 45 minutes

More than just a garden, Kahanu Gardens is also a cultural site and a National Historic Landmark.

Here, the focus is on plants of value to Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. You’ll learn about the connection between the ancient Hawaiians and the land.

The garden is also home to a thatched canoe house and one of the largest heiau (or temples) in all of Polynesia.

NOTE: There is an admission fee to enter the garden. 

Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach

IMPORTANT: As of 3/1/2021 reservations are required to visit Waianapanapa State Park. See more below

Approximate time: 45 minutes

black sand with feetWaianapanapa Black Sand Beach, Maui

Visit one of Maui’s only black-sand beaches. Created when hot lava shattered in contact with the ocean, this beach is unlike any others on the Road to Hana.

While you’re there, look out for:

  • the freshwater cave that leads to the ocean
  • a blowhole that shoots water into the air
  • a sea arch formed from erosion, and
  • a hiking trail to ancient burial grounds

This is a great spot to spend some time, stretching your legs, lay in the sun, and even have a picnic. 

As of 3/1/2021 reservations are required to visit Waianapanapa State Park. You can book reservations up to 14-days in advance. NO SAME DAY RESERVATIONS ALLOWED. The price for entry is $10 to park AND $5 per person.

Make your reservation here: www.gowaianapanapa.com. To learn how to plan your day based on your reservation time, click here. 

Hana Town 

Approximate time: 1 hour

Congratulations! You’ve made it to Hana. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. But don’t worry, the tour isn’t over -- some of the best stops are yet to come!

We recommend you grab a bite to eat here in Hana, there are loads of options to choose from. This is the last stop for food until you get back to Paia Town. 

NOTE: Visitors should not go to the Red Sand beach. Many years of overuse have caused erosion resulting in a dangerous hike along steep cliffs to and from the beach.

Hasegawa General Store

Approximate time: 5 minutes

This general store has been owned and operated by the same family since 1910. It has everything from snacks to souvenirs.

It’s a great place to stop to pick up food and drinks for the road. You can also skip it for now and visit on the way back.

NOTE: The only gas station in Hana is next door to the general store. Fuel up here if you need to. 

download shaka guide

Koki Beach

Approximate time: 30 minutes 

You made it to Hana! Now, take a few minutes to lay down and relax at Koki Beach. One interesting feature of this spot is the large hill beside it.

Hawaiians have a name for this spot  – it’s called Ka Iwi o Pele, which means the bones of pele.

Actually, this hill is a cinder cone that erupted lava just before Mount Haleakala went dormant. 

Hamoa Beach

Approximate time: 30 minutes

This is a perfect family beach because of the protected cove and the large sandy area.

If the waves aren’t too strong, there is some pretty decent snorkeling on the far left side of the cove.

To access the beach, park next to the road and take the set of stairs down to the sand. 

Look out for Wailua Falls

Approximate time: 1 minute

As you continue driving towards Kipahulu (Haleakala National Park), look out for Wailua Falls along the road. It’s a breathtaking, 80-foot waterfall.

The best view is from the right of the bridge. Be mindful of other drivers on the road as you keep an eye out.

Venus Pools

Approximate time: 30 minutes

Before you reach Haleakala National Park where you’ll find Seven Sacred Pools, we have another secret swimming hole for you to check out, Venus Pools.

This is a wonderful alternative to Seven Sacred Pools because it is usually uncrowded and you can also do some rock jumping.

Sometimes the waterfall is dry, but you can still swim in the pool below.

Pipiwai Trail (Inside Haleakala National Park)

Approximate time: 2 hours

bamboosViews along the Pipiwai Trail

Once you get to Haleakala National Park, there’s a three-and-a-half-mile rainforest trail that offers beautiful views of two waterfalls and a bamboo forest.

The hike is rated moderate and takes about 2 hours to complete, if you’re short on time, or looking for a family-friendly option, hike to the first lookout point where you can see Waimoku Falls.

From there, turn around and continue to Seven Sacred Pools.

NOTE: There’s a $30 entrance fee per car to enter Haleakala National Park. 

Oheo Gulch aka Pools of ‘Ohe’o aka Seven Sacred Pools (Inside Haleakala National Park) 

Approximate time: 1+ hours

This is by far one of the most popular stops on the Road to Hana.

Oheo Gulch, also known as Pools of ‘Ohe’o and Seven Sacred Pools, is a series of cascading waterfalls that lead to pristine swimming holes.

This is the perfect place to unwind with a dip after a long day of driving. Take in the natural beauty and reminisce on all you’ve seen and learned on your tour today.

download shaka guide

Charles Lindbergh's Grave

Approximate time: 10 minutes 

Just past Haleakala in a remote graveyard is the final resting place of Charles Lindbergh.

If you’re not familiar with this famous figure, Lindberg was an aviator known for making a nonstop flight from New York to Paris.

In 1972, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and after receiving various treatments in New York to no avail, he decided to spend the remainder of his life on Maui.

Behind the church is a small park, feel free to walk around and enjoy the serenity here. 

Alelele Falls

Approximate time: 20 minutes 

We’re not done with waterfalls just yet! This will be the ninth and final waterfall of your adventure today.

Visiting Alelele Falls requires a short hike that crosses a stream, but other than that, it’s pretty accessible.

The falls are roughly 50 feet tall and there’s a pool for you to swim in. If you’re looking to get back before dark, skip this spot and keep driving.

NOTE: The falls can be seasonally dry in the summer months. 

View of Nu’u Bay & Haleakala

Approximate time: 10 minutes

grasslands and sea view from Nuu BayBeautiful views along the backside of Hana

You may think you’ve seen all the amazing views Maui has to offer, but not just yet.

Make this stop for another epic view of the Valley Isle.

This windy spot offers views of Nu’u Bay and Mount Haleakala. 

Huakini Beach

Approximate time: 30 minutes

Get one more beach in before you end your day! There’s a short walk to the shore, and when you get there you’ll notice it’s different from the other beaches on this tour.

The beach is filled with rocks! Although you won’t feel sand between your toes, stop and listen as the waves crash onto these rocks.

You’ll hear a loud rumbling if the conditions are right.  

Natural Sea Arch

Approximate time: 5 minutes

As you drive along this country road you’ll soon spot a rock formation in the ocean.

This sea arch was created by an ancient dried lava flow that has carved out a hole by the ocean’s unrelenting waves. 

Drive Back 

Approximate time: 30 minutes - 1 hour

After you’ve stopped to look at Mother Nature’s work, you’ll begin your return trip home. If you’re heading back to Paia for some dinner it’s about a 30 minute drive.

If you’re going back to your hotel in West Maui, you can expect it to take about an hour.

PLEASE NOTE that you’ll have to enter these locations into your GPS, we do not guide you back to either of these spots. 


The Road to Hana is a magical journey filled with history, culture, scenic spots, and waterfalls making for a one-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Loop tour gives you a chance to experience the wet tropical jungles of Hana and the dry grassland of Haleakala all in one day.

We are grateful you’ve chosen Shaka Guide to help create lasting memories.

We hope that in the midst of your full-day adventure, you take time to step back and appreciate the natural beauty of Maui.

download shaka guide

Ready to take the tour? Check out Shaka Guide's Loop Road to Hana Tour!

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

Ready to take the Loop Road to Hana Tour? Here's everything you need to know before you go! 


Seven Sacred Pools Travel Guide 

10 Ways to be a Safe and Responsible Traveler in Hawaii

Is The Road To Hana Dangerous?

Which Shaka Guide Road to Hana Tour is Right for You?

Road To Hana: Guide To Having An Epic Driving Tour

Road To Hana Must Know Tips

The Scenic Hawaiian Roller Coaster: The Road to Hana

Road to Hana Maps

shaka guide app qr code

Download The Shaka Guide App

Get The
Shaka Guide App