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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 04/16/2009

Maui's Scenic, Sometimes Scary Road to Hana

By Kevin Ambrose

* Sun Today & Soon the 70s: Full Forecast | NatCast: Clear and Cool *

The Wailua Falls, one of many waterfalls along the road to Hana on Maui's eastern coast.

If you visit Maui you will probably notice many tourists wearing the "I survived the Road to Hana" T-shirt. The Road to Hana is a day-long journey, not a destination, and it is a favorite for many who visit the Hawaiian island. The road traverses the coastline of eastern Maui, providing scenic overlooks, waterfalls, beaches, and hiking trails through the rainforest. The drive can be a bit daunting, with 617 curves, 56 one-lane bridges, and a few sections of road that cut across cliffs with limited guard rails. I took the journey in a rental car on April 7, with the family.

Keep reading for a few of my favorite photos from the trip...

The road to Hana is visible in this photo, cut into the steep hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

I was in Maui for seven days and I watched the weather forecast very carefully to choose the best weather day for my drive on the Road to Hana. The road is located in the rainforest, in an area that sees frequent and heavy rainfall. I chose a day with a forecast for scattered clouds and breezy conditions, which is fairly uncommon for that area of the island. We were fortunate to have bright sunshine and beautiful weather for our entire drive. Heavy rain from the previous day provided plenty of water for the numerous waterfalls along the route.

Twin Falls at mile marker 2 was my favorite stop on the Road to Hana. This photo shows a waterfall with a deep pool and a rope swing. The water was a bit chilly, but refreshing.

It is best to plan an all-day trip if you want to drive the Road to Hana. Factor in time to stop for hikes, swims, and sightseeing. Bring along towels and extra clothing. It's also best to make the entire trip during the day; the road can be extra scary at night with the endless curves and sections of one-lane road. Tour bus options are also available for those who would prefer not to drive.

This is a photo of me at Twin Falls, swinging through a waterfall on a rope swing. The force of the falling water was intense and it was an amazing experience.

The curvy road to Hana cuts through the rainforest along the eastern coast of Maui. In a few areas, the road becomes one lane, cutting across cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. The road to Hana can be a little scary at times, but overall, it was a very enjoyable trip.

The Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park is located near Hana. The black sand was formed from the area's volcanic rock.

One of the many stunning views along the Road to Hana. The waterfalls, fed by rain from the previous day, cascade down the cliff.

Two of the Seven Sacred Pools in the O'heo Gulch at the Haleakala National Park. This is the turnaround point for most visitors who make the journey. The road does continue, but I was told it becomes quite rough and is even scarier than the section of road from Hana to the park. This was my turnaround point.

Sunset back at the resort after an all-day drive on the Road to Hana.

By Kevin Ambrose  | April 16, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Photography  
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Very nice. We were recently there, but only for two days so we didn't drive to Hana. We were on the Big Island for 7 and did drive to the volcano and some of the falls there.

Posted by: Hemisphire | April 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I've heard reports of strange occurrences, meteorological and otherwise, on another road in Hawai'i, the road passing through the interior of the island of Oahu. Apparently construction of this highway took it through a number of Native Hawaiian burial grounds and tradition holds that the disturbed spirits of ancestors have been causing strange happenings, including a few mysterious accidents, ever since the road was opened. It's possible the Hana Road also passed through a number of Hawaiian burial grounds. At any rate, local weather on most small to mid-sized tropical islands can be very dependent on prevailing winds and topography.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 16, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Maui Wowee!

Those are some nice pictures. I probably would take the bus option myself.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | April 16, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

what's scary about Hana Highway: All the turistas who stop dead in the middle of the road, blocking completely residents who either want to get to town or return home. And in Hana the hordes of turistas invade private property, not realising they would hate it if people behaved the same way in their own homes.

Posted by: davidlewiston | April 16, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

One of the most beautiful drives in the world--continue west from Seven Pools a coupla miles to the grave of Charles Lindbergh--on a promontory over the Pacific--next to a 1800's Protestant church--a spectacular site--worth a trip--

Posted by: JoeMthPce | April 16, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Nice article and pics... brought back good memories of my honeymoon. Somehow we missed the waterfall with the rope swing, but the black sand beach was one of our favorite spots. There's also a red sand beach nearby that appeared to be clothing optional.

Posted by: spgass1 | April 16, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

davidlewiston: What I found most scary about the road were the truck drivers delivering goods to Hana. A few of the large-size trucks drove extremely fast and disregarded the lane markers. Other than that, it wasn't too scary, except for the passengers on the right side of the car who could look down hundreds of feet at the edge of the road.

Posted by: Kevin-CapitalWeatherGang | April 16, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

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