This Road to Hana on Maui article is a continuation of our recent series on the Hana Highway.
What happens if it rains on the Road to Hana?
First let us note that by "rainy day" we're talking about a day that's completely overcast and dreary, not the passing shower.
Second, we understand that navigating a famously winding stretch of road in rainy conditions is rather challenging. That’s why we encourage you to book the best Road to Hana Tour with our friends at Valley Isle Excursions. We love their expert local guides’ wealth of knowledge and that they hit all the best stops. Plus, riding in their luxury custom cruisers is comfortable, viewing is easy, and groups are kept small. What’s more, they are the first Hawaii-based tour company to complete the Hawaii Green Business Program. Their commitment to the environment and their guests is outstanding.
If you do decide to head out on your own and can make it all the way to Hana without at least… encountering one brief shower, we're impressed. But if it's completely socked in from above on the day you plan to make the drive, we have some quick tips for you.
1.) Don't assume the trip won't be worth your time. As long as there hasn't been a torrential rain falling, the Road to Hana waterfalls will be gorgeous. Too much rain, however, can make them muddy and less appealing. We saw them in all sorts of conditions during our 2011 visit. One day they were flowing so heavily they were just ugly. The next day the flow had reduced enough to make them very pretty, so a lot can change quickly on the Hana Highway. If it's been especially dry, many of the falls will completely vanish from view entirely.
2.) Stick to the mauka (inland) sights when you can. Photographs in overcast weather will really come out well for the lush vegetative shots you can shoot. You'll get excellent greens and other colors this way because the sun isn't washing them out. Sights like the Garden of Eden, however, may be diminished because the coastal shots won't be as good, but we'd still recommend a stop here. Waianapanapa Wayside Park and Hamoa Beach also won't be as pretty with overcast weather, but again, both are worth a stop. If you have a tripod, this is the day to use it.
3.) If the waterfalls are really flowing due to rain, they may be tempted to get closer to. I mean what's cooler than an up-close waterfalls photo? But please, trust us; don't do this unless you feel like getting into trouble, and quick. If you think you'll get that perfect photo, consider this: The rocks are a lot slicker when it's very wet, there is a lot of mist coming off the falls that will muck up your camera lens and equipment, and if you fall in, you're not getting out easily with the fast current. We hope you'll heed our advice on this one, we've seen far too many people get into trouble trying to get that perfect waterfall shot. Even if it's not especially wet, use extreme caution approaching waterfalls.
4.) If the weather gives you fits during your drive, usually it will clear up a bit past Nahiku Road. Beyond Hana, it'll clear up even more, and if you get rain beyond the Oheo Gulch, we'd be surprised. And remember, passing showers are common along the Hana Highway. Don't let them rain on your visit, just wait a bit and they should pass.
Next, in our series we'll talk about all those bridges between the start of 360 and Hana town: Part 4 - There's how many bridges on the Hana Highway?