Island Life

Going To Hana Backwards

Location: Maui Hawaii

We weren’t going to do the road to Hana this time – we’ve done it before, more than once.  So it wasn’t on our list. But somehow we ended up driving it today – backwards. Let’s talk about Going to Hana Backwards.

Well, not actually backwards, but the opposite way that most people do the road to Hana.  And now, I’ll never do it the other way again.

The Road to Hana (Canva)

We were just going to go to Oheo Gulch and do the four mile round trip hike to the waterfall.  This hike is also known as the Pipiwai Trail (formerly known as the Seven Sacred Pools, which are neither sacred nor seven).  So we thought we would go in the backdoor, up through Kula and along the roughest part of the Hana road which many people never see.  By the way, many people still think this road is impassable.  It is not.  And also many people think the rental car agencies say you can’t take your car there.  Most do not.  Read your agreement to be sure.  The road is perfectly drivable in the Hundai rental car we have.

Driving that part of the road you get to have it mostly to yourself.  The views across to the Big Island are beautiful on a clear day, and even on a cloudy day the crashing waves on the jagged rocks below are magnificent.

We planned to return to Kihei on this same stretch of road, but decided after our wonderful hike to go visit Black Sand Beach just North of Hana.  And then it seemed to just make sense to take the road all the way around.

Black Sand Beach (Canva)

When you head north from Hana back to Paia late in the afternoon you are moving with the majority of traffic, given that most people turn around at Hana and head back late in the afternoon.  This actually works in your favor because the caravan of cars going the same direction makes for easy access on the many one lane bridges you cross on the Road to Hana.  Very limited traffic heading south at that time of day makes the crosses easy.  You rarely need to stop for oncoming traffic.

Combine that with the nearly deserted section of road we drove in the early part of the day, we made really good time doing the entire Hana Loop.  In addition we got to enjoy breakfast in Kula, beautiful vistas of Kihei, Makena and the Big Island.  Early birds at Oheo Gulch made the parking perfecto and because we were traveling in the opposite direction of most people, we were arriving at Black Sand Beach in the afternoon just as most people were leaving there to go to Oheo Gulch.


Oheo Gulch

So Backwards is the new Forwards.

Well, when it comes to going to Hana anyway.  Try it!

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  • Reply Nancy Rimel

    Just a matter of perspective.

    July 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm
  • Reply Heather Market

    I think one of the best parts of travel is going the way nobody else does and finding the gems. Well done!

    December 18, 2020 at 11:56 am
    • Reply Laureen

      Thank you Heather. Stay safe.

      December 18, 2020 at 5:25 pm
  • Reply Alma

    Nothing wrong with trying something from a different perspective and discovering that it works in your favour.

    December 19, 2020 at 1:17 am
  • Reply Linda (LD Holland)

    It is interesting how a route looks different when you drive it a different way. A bit like driving at different times of the day. Good tip to read your rental agreement if you want to take a car to Hana. I would definitely want to visit that black sand beach!

    December 20, 2020 at 8:04 am
    • Reply Laureen

      You would love it!

      December 20, 2020 at 8:43 am

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