East Maui Coast Itinerary

Road to Hana, Oheo Gulch at Kipahulu, and Pi'ilani Highway

East Maui One Day Itinerary Markers

East Maui Coast in a Day

A Wayfinders Guide to the Road to Hana, the Oheo Gulch, and Pi'ilani Highway

Our current Maui itinerary explores the incredible sights, attractions, and beaches of East Maui, including the world-famous Road to Hana. Because this region prominently features the Hana Highway (a.k.a ‘Road to Hana’), we often refer to it as the ‘Hana Highway’ region of Maui.

The Long Road of Hana Highway

The Hana Highway (northeast and parts of southeast Maui) region spans from Pa’ia town to the community of Hana (Haa-na) on the northeastern tip of the island. Travelers and critics alike revere this region for its exceptional windsurfing, lush rural scenery, and the famous Road To Hana (Hana Hwy - 360).

Much of the little Hana Highway winds along the island’s beautiful northern coastline. Hana eventually merges into Pi’ilani Highway. This same road eventually loops around the backside of the Haleakala volcano into the Upcountry region of Maui.

The Power of Flexibility 

Our guide incorporates a One-Day East Maui  and a Two-Day East Maui Itinerary Essentially, we split our East Maui itinerary into two sections:

We recommend the latter for most visitors to Maui. Nonetheless, if you’re on a tight schedule and only have one day use the one-day itinerary. Regardless, both options will serve you well. Both guides will cover the main attractions of Hana Drive. 

How Our Maui Itineraries Work

Remember, each of our Maui Day-By-Day Itineraries is used as a grab-and-go resource for ‘mapping’ your trip. Mixed, shuffled, and re-ordered our itineraries according to your desires for this dream vacation. As fellow travelers, we understand the value of having options. Subsequently, consider our plans as suggestions that you can ultimately adapt to your liking. For instance, if one of our suggested stops or Maui attractions doesn’t sound appealing to you, skip to the following suggested stop on the list.

Mapping Your Maui Trip

We’ve designed our itineraries around many on-island Maui days: one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven-day itineraries. Hence, explore the best sights of East Mau with our well-planned itinerary. We split our itineraries accordingly to make the most of your precious time. Whether you gravitate toward adventurous or leisure options, our guide offers it all. Ultimately, we designated this guide to build your dream Maui trip.

Dining Options

In this East Maui itinerary, we have NOT included dining recommendations. We appreciate everyone’s diverse palate. Hence, we refrain from offering dining guides to avoid overlooking others’ dining preferences. Nonetheless, if you’d like to see local dining options or suggestions, particularly in either Pa’ia town of Hana town, drop us a line and let us know: [email protected]

 

Quick Pro Tip: We recommend packing a lunch for the Road to Hana. There are several great locations to stop for a scenic picnic. 

— article continued below —

East Maui Map for One-Day Trips

We’ve provided all Maui directions via Google Maps when possible, as Google Maps works on all platforms and across all devices. You should be able to pop the directions into your phone or tablet and go.

To help you visualize each day’s itinerary, we’ve also provided an East Maui ('Road to Hana') overview map to help you get your bearings.

Stop # 1.) Twin Falls Trail

Mile Marker 2 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

When it comes to driving the Hana Highway on Maui, it’s the journey, not the destination. Few words can describe the beauty of this drive. Cliffs cloaked in lush valleys dot this road. Since the curvy Hana road hugs the coast, see the fantastic ocean that stretches to the Alaskan coastline. Take this highway through ‘paradise’ where sandy black, red, and white beaches pepper the coast. Many beautiful trails and gardens sprawl across this road of ‘paradise.’ Additionally, expect to encounter several overflowing waterfalls.

Quick pro tip:  Start early; early (5:30 am - 7:00 am a great time to start)! Check out our article When to Start the Road to Hana to learn more about starting this journey early. If you start later in the morning, expect a less pleasant experience due to congestion on the highway.

Twin Falls

Launch your one-day East Maui itinerary with a quick visit to Twin Falls. Twin Falls sits near the beginning of the Road to Hana along Highway 360.

Just beyond mile 2, a bridge crosses the Ho’olawa Nui stream, where you’ll find Twin Falls. Some folks call it Hoolawa Falls. Twin Falls is an excellent stop to view several minor falls. We recommend skipping or limiting your visit to this site. Instead of finding a grand waterfall, many visitors found it lackluster especially compared to the other waterfalls in East Maui. Instead, we recommend stopping here if you have time on your return. We suggest you continue driving for the best waterfalls on Maui.

Stop # 2.) Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail Loop

Mile Marker 9 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After your quick visit to Twin Falls, let’s continue down the Hana Highway to Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail. This stop offers a short hike through the Maui rainforest. The hike entails a loop trail and a longer trail that leads to an available picnic pavilion.

Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail

It is mauka (toward the mountain) to the Waikamoi Ridge Forest Trail and Overlooks. This trail begins near the mile 9 mark, about a half-mile past the mile marking. Keep your eyes open for the parking lot as you approach the path. Many overlook the parking lot because it’s around a bend in the road.

The Waikamoi Trail is a beautiful, short nature walk through trees, bamboo, and ferns with a scenic overlook at various points along the way. The trail has two sections: a short loop that takes about half an hour and ends where it starts (at the picnic area). The second option is a one-way extension from the loop trail. Both trails begin at the picnic shelter located near the parking area.

The Waikamoi Trail is 0.8 miles if you do the loop trail alone and about a mile and a half if you do the extension. Depending on which routes you hike, you can spend about 30 minutes to an hour here.

Stop # 3.) Garden of Eden

Mile Marker 10.5 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After you finish trekking through the jungle at Waikamoi Forest Ridge, we'll continue to our next stop - a commercial stop, but one we highly recommend for all visitors. You will find stunning views within the garden, but you'll also find the only (legally accessible) overlooks for two popular waterfalls on the Highway: Upper and Lower Puohokamoa Falls.

Garden of Eden Botanical Arboretum

On the mauka (mountain) side of the Hana Highway, half-mile past mile marker 10, you’ll find The Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden. Usually, we don’t cover private gardens or businesses. Nonetheless, this garden is the exception. We consider it as one of our favorite stops on the Hana Highway. Notably, the director filmed the opening scene of  “Jurassic Park” in this garden. You can find the Keopuka “Jurassic Park” Rock from the gorgeous Lookout inside the garden.

The owners purchased this  25-acre site in 1991. Eventually, they added exotic plants and trees from the South Pacific region and tropical rain forests worldwide. They envision restoring the area’s natural ecosystem with Hawaii’s native and indigenous species. 

Today, the garden holds over 500 botanically labeled plants, including the most extensive plants in Hawaii. Polynesians have used it for their ceremonies and rituals for so long in history. The garden holds culturally viable plants. 

Other highlights of this  garden include:

  • A panoramic view of the Upper & Lower Puohokamoa Falls. 
  • Domesticated animals ( peafowl, chickens, ducks, geese, and even horses) reside here. 

 Overall, expect to spend about an hour or two in the garden.

Admission Fees: $20 (16 Years +) | $10 (Ages 5 -16) | Children 5 Years and Under are Free (rates are subject to change)

Stop # 4.) Wai'anapanapa State Park

Mile Marker 32 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After you finish enjoying your visit to the Garden of Eden, continue along the Hana Highway for over 20 miles of scenic driving. To save time on the one-day trip, skip as many stops as possible until reaching Wai’anapana State Park near mile marker 32. Despite the strong temptation to stop at various stops, follow our advice -built from almost 20 years making this drive- and avoid these stops for the best sights ahead. 

Wai'anapanapa State Park & Black Sand Beach

Wai’anapanapa (Why-Ah-naa-paa-naa-paa) features sculpted lava rocks, a black sand beach, wind twisted foliage, a sea arch, lava caves, tubes, and a blowhole in the lava rocks near the shoreline.

Hike the fascinating area surrounding the park. You can find a few wet caves and lava tubes with fresh water.

Reservations Notice Update: As of March 1, 2021, Maui’s Waianapanapa State Park requires reservations (up to two weeks in advance) for all non-resident visitors and commercial vehicles to enter the park. No same-day reservations will be accepted. The parking fee for out-of-state visitors will be $10.

Stop # 5.) Beyond Hana - Hamoa Beach

Mile Marker 51 on Highway 31 (Pi'ilani Hwy)

Mile markers will begin counting down after you pass through Hana town. Eventually, the road transitions from the Hana Highway (Hwy 360) to the Pi’ilani Highway (Hwy 31). The first stop along the Pi’ilani Highway, beyond Hana town, is the incredible Hamoa Beach.

Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach is located about 2.5 miles outside of Hana town traveling south. The access road is located just south of a large cinder cone.

There is a small white sign pointing the way to the beaches along this section of the road. There are several beaches in the area, Hamoa being the safest and most beautiful.

Turn down the access road and follow it around until you reach the beaches about 1.5 miles down the road. There's a bus pull-off on the makai (seaward) side of the road; the beach is below the overlook.

Stop # 6.) Wailua Falls

Mile Marker 45 on Highway 31 (Pi'ilani Hwy)

After enjoying the pristine views at Hamoa Beach, we have another treat in store for you at our next stop, Wailua Falls. This scenic waterfall is located just off the highway near the 45-mile marker.

Wailua Falls

Just beyond mile marker 45 on the Hana Highway, after it turns into Highway 31, you’ll reach one of the gorgeous falls in all of Hawaii, Wailua Falls.

Wailua Falls gracefully cascades 80 feet through a lush terrain into the surrounding vegetation. A short path takes you to the base of the falls. Take caution because some find the course tricky.

The water flow varies but is usually pretty at any rate throughout the year. Expect to spend 20-40 minutes at this stop.

Stop # 7.) Ohe'o Gulch at Kipahulu

Mile Marker 42 on Highway 31 (Pi'ilani Hwy)

Our final stop on our one-day itinerary is the Oheo Gulch at Kipahulu inside the southeastern end of Haleakala National Park. The entrance fee is $30 as of this writing. 

Quick Pro Tip: Save your admission stub. An entrance ticket to Haleakala Park is valid for three days. Regardless of where you enter the park, this same ticket will gain you entrance. Hence, the ticket covers access to the summit, too. 

The Drive Onward

After this stop, you can either travel to central Maui via the Pi’ilani Highway and Hana Highway; OR travel the adventurous backside of Haleakala into Upcountry Maui via the west road Pi’lani Highway. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the drive either way. We advise leaving the Oheo Gulch two hours before the sunset. View the current or future sunrise/sunset times for Maui here.

It will take roughly two hours to drive from the Oheo Gulch to Kahului along the Pi’ilani Highway with minimal stops. Or the drive can take 2.5 hours (or more) if you return to the Hana Highway.

Just remember, some rental agencies frown on the Highway 31 drive to Upcountry Maui due to a few unpaved portions. The drive is lovely for all vehicles, but ultimately that’s your decision. If you plan to drive the route along the backside of Haleakala, check with the rangers at the Ohe’o Gulch for conditions before you head out. The scenery along the rear of Haleakala is raw and wild, windswept, and relatively barren compared to the lush jungle scape on the other side of the volcano. This eclectic drive serves as quite an experience.

Ohe'o Gulch at Kipahuli inside Haleakala National Park

The Oheo Gulch, at Kipahuli, is near mile 42 on the Hana Highway. Found inside the Haleakala National Park, Oheo Gulch sits 15 minutes past Hana town. 

Many names know the Oheo Gulch. Some call it the Kipahulu Area, while others call it the Seven Sacred Pools. You can find dozens of pools and waterfalls that flow through the Oheo Gulch into the nearby ocean. As a striking landscape, we recommend spending several hours here.  

If you arrive early (before 1-2 pm in the Summer and no later than noon in the Winter) at Oheo Gulch, hike the Pipiwai Trail. The trail passes through an incredible bamboo forest to 400’ Waimoku Falls. The hike takes anywhere from 2 1/2 - 4 hours. It depends on how much time you need to absorb the beautiful nature here. Yet, please set aside enough time to return to your lodging before darkness hits the Hana Highway. Don’t risk driving this curvy road in the dark.

East Maui One-Day Final Suggestions & Thoughts

We’ve attempted to cover all of the major highlights for this region, and we hope you have a great time exploring this portion of Maui. We sincerely hope our trip suggestions will assist you as a reference point. If you only have 2-3 days, use our resourceful outline for making the most of your short time in East Maui.

The Power of a Flexible Itinerary 

Remember, each of our Maui Day-By-Day Itineraries is a grab-and-go resource for ‘mapping’ your trip. Because we provide daily itineraries, mix, shuffle, and re-order them according to your taste. Adapt these destination spots to fit your travel goals. If one of our suggested stops or Maui attractions doesn’t sound appealing to you, skip it for the following suggested stop on the list.

Overview of Planning for East Maui

In this section, we cover visiting East Maui for two days. We designed it for visitors who have 5-7 days on the island. An extra day to devote to the Road to Hana & Beyond makes all the difference. 

You can find many great attractions along the drive. Splitting the stops between two days instead of one helps visitors better appreciate each visit. It gives visitors the time to enjoy themselves without feeling rushed thoroughly.

East Maui Two Day Itinerary Markers

East Maui Coast in Two Days

A Wayfinders Guide to the Road to Hana, the Oheo Gulch, and Pi'ilani Highway

Today’s Maui itinerary explores the incredible sights, attractions, and beaches of East Maui, including the world-famous Road to Hana. Because this region prominently features the Hana Highway (a.k.a ‘Road to Hana’), we often refer to it as the ‘Hana Highway’ region of Maui.

The Hana Highway (northeast and parts of southeast Maui) region ranges from Pa’ia town to the community of Hana (Haa-na) on the northeastern tip of the island. Travelers and critics alike revere this region for its exceptional windsurfing, lush rural scenery, and the famous Road To Hana (Hana Hwy - 360).

Much of the little Hana Highway winds along the island’s beautiful northern coastline. Hana eventually merges into Pi’ilani Highway. This same road eventually loops around the backside of the Haleakala volcano into the Upcountry region of Maui.

One-Day East Maui vs. Two-Day East Maui Itinerary: We split our East Maui itinerary into two sections. The One Day East Maui Itinerary is at the top of this page. Two-Day East Maui Itinerary is here. We recommend the latter for most visitors to Maui. Nonetheless, if you’re on a tight schedule and only have one day use the one-day itinerary. Regardless, both options will serve you well. Both guides will cover the main attractions of Hana Drive.

East Maui Map for Two-Day Trips

We’ve provided all Maui directions via Google Maps when possible, as Google Maps works on all platforms and across all devices. You should be able to pop the directions into your phone or tablet and go.

To help you visualize each day’s itinerary, we’ve also provided an East Maui ('Road to Hana') overview map that'll help you get your bearings.

Day 1 - Stop # 1.) Pa'ia Town

Mile Marker 6.5 on Highway 36 (Hana Hwy)

When it comes to driving the Hana Highway on Maui, it’s the journey, not the destination. Few words can describe the beauty of this drive. Cliffs cloaked in lush valleys dot this road. Since the curvy Hana road hugs the coast, see the fantastic ocean that stretches to the Alaskan coastline. Take this highway through ‘paradise’ where sandy black, red, and white beaches pepper the coast. Many beautiful trails and gardens sprawl across this road of ‘paradise.’ Additionally, expect to encounter several overflowing waterfalls.

Quick pro tip:  Start early; early (5:30 am - 7:00 am, a great time to start)! Check out our article When to Start the Road to Hana to learn more about starting this journey early. If you start later in the morning, expect a less pleasant experience due to congestion on the highway.

We’ll kick off our two-day East Maui itinerary with a quick visit to lower Pa’ia town on Highway 36.

Lower Pa'ia Town

Find Pa'ia (Pah-ee-ah)  further up Baldwin Avenue, southeast Hana Highway. We recommend visiting Lower Pa'ia as a quick stop for a fun and quirky little town. If nothing else, stop here to fill up on gas and grab a bite to eat for later in the day.

To get to Pa'ia town from central Maui, turn onto Highway 36 and follow it to where you enter Pa'ia town beyond mile marker 6. A little over a century ago, Pa'ia was a sugar plantation town. Today, it is famous primarily for Ho'okipa Beach Park (our next stop), located right beyond the town.

Pa'ia has some decent shopping considering its reasonably small size. You may even want to browse through the local shops if time permits. Some would argue that Pa'ia shops are superior to Lahaina stores on the west coast of Maui.

Quick Pro Tip: Fuel up your vehicle here if you haven't already. It's the last gas stop until Hana Town, and it's A LOT more affordable here than in Hana. It may also be an excellent place to grab a bite to eat for a picnic lunch later on the drive.

Day 1 - Stop # 2.) Ho'okipa Beach Lookout

Mile Marker 8.8 on Highway 36 (Hana Hwy)

On day one of our two-day itinerary for the Hana Highway in East Maui, our second stop is Ho'okipa Beach Park. The park is located right beyond Pa'ia and Ka'au town, at approximately the 8.8-mile marker, makai (toward the ocean) on the Hana Highway (Hwy 36).

Ho'okipa Beach Park Lookout

We recommend this stop as a quick but enjoyable time. To reach it, pass the steeply graded exit before the entrance. Look for the sign marking the spot.  We recommend two very different hangouts to enjoy views in and from the small Ho'okipa Beach Park: 

  • Check out the overlook that is immediate to the right of the beach’s entrance.  
  • Or consider the road that leads down to Ho'okipa Beach itself. Stop before the path turns into the park at the sign. 

Ultimately, take the overlook option, do not head down to the beach itself.

Enjoying the Ho'okipa Lookout

Upon reaching the Ho'okipa Lookout, take a moment to look at the ocean: coastal northwest Maui (to your left) and the Pacific Ocean to the north. Notice surfers and windsurfers catching stellar waves below. Ho'okipa Beach holds World-class windsurfing events annually. 

After looking around for a minute or so, exit the Lookout and head to Highway 36 to continue your journey.

Day 1 - Stop # 3.) Twin Falls Trail

Mile Marker 2 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After you finish enjoying the views at Ho'okipa Beach Lookout, travel along Highway 36. Eventually, the road will merge into Highway 360, the official start of the 'Road to Hana' drive. Up next is a quick visit to Twin Falls.

Twin Falls

Just beyond mile marker two on the Hana Highway, a bridge crosses the Ho'olawa Nui stream, and here you'll find Twin Falls. Some folks call it Hoolawa Falls. Though Twin Falls has several minor falls, we recommend skipping or limiting your visit to this site; stay no longer than 30 minutes. Instead of finding a grand waterfall, many visitors found most of the waterfalls here lackluster- especially compared to the other waterfalls in East Maui. Instead, we recommend stopping here if you have time on your return. We suggest you continue driving for the best waterfalls on Maui.

Day 1 - Stop # 4.) Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail Loop

Mile Marker 9 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After your quick visit to Twin Falls, let's continue down the Hana Highway to Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail. This stop offers a short hike through the Maui rainforest, with both a loop trail and a longer trail leading to a picnic pavilion.

Waikamoi Forest Ridge Trail

A little over half-mile past mile marker 9 on the Road to Hana, keep your eyes open for the mauka parking lot (toward the mountain) to the Waikamoi Ridge Trail and Overlook. It is easy to miss because it's around a bend in the road.

The Waikamoi Trail is a beautiful, short nature walk through trees, bamboo, and ferns with a scenic overlook at various points along the way. The second option is a one-way extension from the loop trail. Both trails begin at the picnic shelter located near the parking area.

The Waikamoi Trail is a total of 0.8 miles if you do the loop trail alone and about a mile and a half if you do the extension. Depending on which routes you hike, you can spend about 30 minutes to an hour here.

Day 1 - Stop # 5.) Garden of Eden

Mile Marker 10.5 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After you enjoy a quick stroll through the jungle at Waikamoi Ridge, we'll continue to our next stop - the Garden of Eden, just a little over a mile beyond the Waikamoi Forest stop. This is technically a commercial stop, but one we highly recommend for all visitors. You will find stunning views within the garden, but you'll also find the only (legally accessible) overlooks for two famous waterfalls on the Highway: Upper and Lower Puohokamoa Falls.

Garden of Eden Botanical Arboretum

On the mauka (mountain) side of the Hana Highway, half-mile past mile marker 10, you’ll find The Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden. Usually, we don’t cover private gardens or businesses. Nonetheless, this garden is the exception. We consider it as one of our favorite stops on the Hana Highway. Notably, the director filmed the opening scene of  “Jurassic Park” in this garden. You can find the Keopuka “Jurassic Park” Rock from the gorgeous Lookout inside the garden.

The owners purchased this  25-acre site in 1991. Eventually, they added exotic plants and trees from the South Pacific region and tropical rain forests worldwide. They envision restoring the area’s natural ecosystem with Hawaii’s native and indigenous species. 

Today, the garden holds over 500 botanically labeled plants, including the most extensive plants in Hawaii. Polynesians have used Ti for their ceremonies and rituals for so long in history. They consider it a culturally viable plant. 

Other highlights of this  garden include:

  • A panoramic view of the Upper & Lower Puohokamoa Falls. 
  • Domesticated animals ( peafowl, chickens, ducks, geese, and even horses) reside here. 

 Overall, expect to spend about an hour or two in the garden.

Admission Fees: $20 (16 Years +) | $10 (Ages 5 -16) | Children 5 Years and Under are Free (rates are subject to change)

Day 1 - Stop # 6.) Kamaaina State Wayside Park

Mile Marker 12 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After you enjoy spending some time in the beautiful Garden of Eden, we recommend continuing just two more miles down the highway to our next stop, Kaumahina State Wayside Park.

Kaumahina State Wayside Park overlooking Keanae Peninsula

Just past mile marker 12 on the Hana Highway, you can find Kaumahina State Wayside Park. This 7.8-acre forested rest stop offers scenic views of the northeast Maui coastline.

One highlight is a spectacular view of the Ke'anae Peninsula and village, an upcoming stop. Several loop trails lead uphill from the ocean giving you a chance to view the many exotic plants.

Expect to spend 15-30 minutes here, possibly longer if you stop for a picnic lunch or to do a bit of bird watching.

Day 1 - Stop # 7.) Keanae Arboretum & Peninsula

Mile Marker 16-17 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

After departing Kaumahina State Wayside park, continue along the Hana Highway until you reach mile marker 16. You'll discover two of our next stops - Keanae Arboretum and Peninsula. Both offer an opportunity to stretch your legs while enjoying lush and verdant inland and wild and raw coastal views.

Keanae Arboretum

Around half-mile beyond mile marker 16 on the Hana Highway, you'll see a sign on the mauka (toward the mountain) side of the road marking the entrance to Ke'anae Arboretum. After the sign, you come across the arboretum. The conservatory sits before a paved parking lot makai (toward the ocean).

Because of the sloped curve in the road, be careful crossing the street from the parking area to the arboretum. The Ke'anae Arboretum lies alongside the Pi'ina'au Stream. Hawaiians built the leveled terraces hundreds of years ago for growing taro, a mainstay of their diet. 

A 0.6-mile paved walkway takes visitors from tropical regions worldwide through timber, fruit, and ornamental trees. They made sure to mark most trees with nameplates. Inside the conservatory, you can find 150 tropical plants (including taro). This is a great location to see some indigenous flowers and the painted bark eucalyptus trees.

There are no facilities or amenities at this stop. Expect to spend 30 minutes to an hour here.

Keanae Peninsula

Immediately after leaving Ke'anae Arboretum, look for and turn onto the road that splits off the Hana Highway makai (toward the ocean) with a sign labeled Ke'anae Peninsula.

The Peninsula is surrounded by dark, jagged lava. These remnants of lava occurred because of ancient lava flows from Haleakala. Hala trees along the shore are the only plant that can get a grip on this gnarled coastline. Down the road about 3/4 of a mile, a large dirt parking lot across from the church and ball field. You can park here while exploring the Peninsula. Expect to spend 30-40 minutes at this location.

Day 1 - Stop # 8.) Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park

Mile Marker 22 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

Our final stop for the day along the Hana Highway in East Maui is the Pua'a Ka'a State, Wayside Park. After you finish visiting the park, which is a great stop to enjoy a quick bite to eat, you'll want to head back along the Hana Highway, retracing your steps to central Maui. It should take approximately 1.5 hours to return to Kahului from this location. Subsequently,  plan according to the time of day. Make sure you depart from this stop at least 1-2 hours before sunset. Check the current or future sunrise/sunset times for Maui here.    Driving the Hana Highway in the dark is NOT a fun experience.

Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park & Fall

Around a half-mile past the mile 22 marker, you'll find Pua'a Ka'a State Wayside Park (that's always fun to say). You'll find a paved trail to several minor falls, restroom facilities, and a picnic area. You can access an enormous waterfall via a dirt trail. Take caution crossing the viaduct and muddy paths if you decide to go.

Mongooses (yes, plural) also hang out at the park. You may have already seen them streaking across the road. Long ago, some bright soul imported them to kill the rats. Unknowingly, sailors brought rats on their boats. The mongooses killed the ground rats and small birds but left the tree rats alone. Currently, the mongooses roam around every island except Kaua'i. 

Take caution because little creatures run around this area. These critters gather leftover food from picnic sites. You are also likely to see the wild Jungle Foul (chickens) that frequent the site (if the mongooses haven't gotten to them yet).

Day 2 - Stop # 1.) Wai'anapanapa State Park

Mile Marker 32 on Highway 360 (Hana Hwy)

Start day two along the Hana Highway in East Maui by retracing our proverbial steps. The path follows the Hana Highway until reaching the mile 32 marker at Wai'anapanapa State Park. The park is roughly ten miles after your initial start day.

Wai'anapanapa State Park & Black Sand Beach

Wai'anapanapa (Why-Ah-naa-paa-naa-paa) features sculpted lava rocks, a black sand beach, wind twisted foliage, a sea arch, lava caves, tubes, and even a blowhole in the lava rocks near the shoreline.

The area around the park is also fascinating to hike through. There are a few wet caves and lava tubes with fresh water running through them.

Reservations Notice Update: As of March 1, 2021, reservations (up to two weeks in advance) for all non-resident visitors and commercial vehicles will be required to enter Maui's Waianapanapa State Park. No same-day reservations will be accepted. The parking fee for out-of-state visitors will be $10.

Day 2 - Stop # 2.) Beyond Hana - Hamoa Beach

Mile Marker 51 on Highway 31 (Pi'ilani Hwy)

Mile markers will begin counting down after you pass through Hana town, and you'll officially transition from the Hana Highway (Hwy 360) to the Pi'ilani Highway (Hwy 31). Our first stop along the Pi'ilani Highway beyond Hana town is the incredible Hamoa Beach.

Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach is located about 2.5 miles outside of Hana town traveling south. The access road is located just south of a large cinder cone.

There is a small white sign pointing the way to the beaches along this section of the road. There are several beaches in the area, Hamoa being the safest and most beautiful.

Turn down the access road and follow it around until you reach the beaches about 1.5 miles down the road. There's a bus pull-off on the makai (seaward) side of the road; the beach is below the overlook.

Day 2 - Stop # 3.) Wailua Falls

Mile Marker 45 on Highway 31 (Pi'ilani Hwy)

After enjoying the pristine views at Hamoa Beach, we have another treat in store for you at our next stop, Wailua Falls. This scenic waterfall is located just off the highway near the 45-mile marker.

Wailua Falls

Just beyond mile marker 45 on the Hana Highway, after it turns into Highway 31, you'll reach one of the gorgeous falls in all of Hawaii, Wailua Falls.

Wailua Falls gracefully cascades 80 feet through a lush terrain into the surrounding vegetation. A short path takes you to the base of the falls. Take caution because some find the course tricky.

The water flow varies but is usually pretty at any rate throughout the year. Expect to spend 20-40 minutes at this stop.

Day 2 - Stop # 4.) Ohe'o Gulch at Kipahulu

Mile Marker 42 on Highway 31 (Pi'ilani Hwy)

Our final stop on our two-day itinerary is the Oheo Gulch at Kipahulu inside the southeastern end of Haleakala National Park. The entrance fee is $30 as of this writing. Quick Pro Tip: An entrance fee ticket to Haleakala National Park lasts for three days. It covers the additional park. The same applies vice-versa. Thus, save your admission stub.

After this stop, you've got two options - return along the Pi'ilani Highway back the way you came to the Hana Highway and continue back to central Maui from there, OR, take the adventure along the Pi'ilani west towards Kaupo and continue along the backside of Haleakala into Upcountry Maui. Please give yourself plenty of time to complete the drive either way; we advise leaving the Oheo Gulch no later than two hours before sunset when possible. View the current or future sunrise/sunset times for Maui here.

The ride takes roughly two hours from the Oheo Gulch to Kahului along the Pi'ilani Highway. This approximate time includes no stops. The drive can take 2.5 hours if you take a loop along the Hana Highway. Just remember, some rental agencies frown on the Highway 31 drive to Upcountry Maui due to a few unpaved portions. We think the drive is excellent for all vehicles, but ultimately that's your decision. If you plan to drive the route along the backside of Haleakala, check with the rangers at the Ohe'o Gulch for conditions before you head out. The scenery along the rear of Haleakala is raw and wild, windswept, and relatively barren compared to the lush jungle scape on the other side of the volcano. The eclectic nature of this drive, when done 'full circle,' is quite the experience.

Ohe'o Gulch at Kipahuli Inside Haleakala National Park

The Oheo Gulch, at Kipahuli, is near mile 42 on the Hana Highway. Found inside the Haleakala National Park, Oheo Gulch sits 15 minutes past Hana town. 

Many names are used for Oheo Gulch. Some call it the Kipahulu Area, while others call it the Seven Sacred Pools. You can find dozens of pools and waterfalls that flow through the Oheo Gulch into the nearby ocean. As a striking landscape, we recommend spending several hours here. 

On a two-day trip along the Hana Highway & beyond, you'll likely have more than enough time to make one of the best hikes on Maui, the Pipiwai Trail (see below for more details).

Pipiwai Trail

While visiting the Oheo Gulch, consider the Pipiwai Trail to 400' Waimoku Falls. The hike with its stunning waterfalls, colossal bamboo forest, idyllic stream, and more beauty than you can imagine makes for one of the most memorable experiences on Maui.

Located above the Oheo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools), Pipiwai Trail is 4 miles roundtrip and gains 650 ft. of elevation. Depending on how much time you need in nature, it can take 2 1/2 - 4 hours to hike.

There are several incredible waterfalls along the route; the destination is Waimoku Falls, which drops 400 ft. down a sheer lava rock wall shaped like a horseshoe. If it's been wet in the area recently, you may find yourself surrounded by numerous small waterfalls on the surrounding cliff face. These are magnificent falls and well worth the hike to access.

The hike also passes the 185-foot Makahiku Falls, which is also beautiful. At mile one, you will enter the first of three bamboo forests. They built wooden boardwalks over the marshy ground to make hiking easier.

East Maui Two-Day Final Suggestions & Thoughts

May you find our expert travel tips resourceful for planning your trip to East Maui. To support your endeavors, we covered all the significant features. Get ready to have a great time exploring this portion of Maui.

Remember, each of our Maui Day-By-Day Itineraries is used as a grab-and-go resource for 'mapping' your trip. We provide daily itineraries for mixing, shuffling, and re-ordering them according to your taste. Please don't feel obligated to do everything listed on our daily itineraries. We mean them as suggestions. Ultimately, only select the options you find most favorable.

Our Guides Work

Want to see the Hana Highway  Our itinerary will take you on a road trip through East Maui, offering a unique perspective into this region  East Maui Coast in a Day, guides the Road to Hana, the Oheo Gulch, and Pi'ilani Highway. As expert Wayfinders, we have traveled throughout this region for over 20 years. With our guide, gain insights into the area's culture, history, geography, and activities.

Get started with planning your tour today. Click here for our daily Maui itineraries, more information about Maui, and the best lodging locations in Maui  Additionally, we offer more insight into other regions of Maui. Click here to view our exceptional itinerary for East Maui, West Maui, South Maui, North Maui, and Haleakala & Upcountry. Click here for guides of Maui regions, more information about Maui, and the best lodging locations in Maui  Start planning your Maui vacation today!

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