Road to Hana

Road to Hana

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Mimi Towle

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There isn’t much more to say about the road to Hana that hasn’t probably already seeped into your imagination. It’s all true: rugged, scenic, waterfalls, bamboo, exotic flowers, fruit stands, rainforests, hiking, slow driving, blind curves, rain and unimaginably GREEN. The Hana Highway runs from Kahului to Kipahulu (about 10 miles past Hana) before turning into the Pi’ilani Highway. The interesting part, however starts a few miles past the turnoff for Haiku. From there to Hana…and beyond, sit back, be patient, wave a lot and enjoy the ride. A few pointers to consider for the journey:

  • It takes time. Give yourself two to three hours to go from Kahalui to Hana. Although only 68 miles, there are over 600 hundred curves and 59 bridges, most only wide enough for one car at a time.
  • Soak in the history. The Hana Highway was originally part of a trail dating back to the 1500’s that encircled the island and was completed by King Pi’ilani. The road was completed in 1926, first paved in 1962 and now gets frequent upgrades to keep the traffic moving.
  • Bring provisions. There are several fruit stands along the way, but no other options until you get to Hana. Our favorite stand is Hana Foods, before town, and Uncle Bill’s Lunch Wagon, located just beyond Kipahulu and Haleakala National Park. In Hana, there are two general stores and a few restaurants. Hint: don’t stop for banana bread, until you are at least halfway to Hana.

Feature Image Photo Credit: Hawaiʻi Islander

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