On Saturday, Josh and I decided to do the road to Hana, which is an entire day trip (we left around 7:00 a.m.). Our first few stops were Upper Puohokamoa Falls, Haipua`ena Falls and Lower Puohokamoa Falls. We missed Lower Puohokamoa Falls at first, but it was definitely the most impressive waterfall we saw all day at 200 feet. We backtracked about a mile and found the short trail to an incredible view of the impressive falls. The other two falls were beautiful as well, but much shorter.
We continued along the coast and made a variety of stops that included capturing some amazing shots of the Ke`anae Coast, the ribbon of the highway cut into the cliffs and Ching’s Pond. Ching’s Pond was filled with people jumping into it from the bridge along the highway. After watching a few people jump, we continued on and stopped at an adorable stand a few miles down the road called Halfway to Hana for a midmorning snack.
After our snacks, we continued on and stopped near the town of Wailua to check out the views from there. We climbed up some stairs at the Wailua Valley State Wayside and had a beautiful view of the Ko`olau Gap on one side an a great view of the tiny settlement of Wailua on the other side. After that, we drove about a mile and stopped at Upper Waikani Falls (sometimes called Three Bears Falls).
Our two stops were Hanawi Falls and Makapipi Falls (seriously so many falls). Makapipi Falls was unique because we stood on the bridge directly over it and could see how it fell into a large pool below. Different than the other waterfalls we had seen that day. Next to Makapipi Falls is Nahiku Road which lead to the community of Nahiku. Everything was so incredibly green and there were tons of beautiful flowers. After driving through the beautiful plants, we came to the end and had a beautiful view of the shoreline all the way to Ke`anae. We took a little path to a small waterfall and a pool that eventually lead to the ocean. After taking in the gorgeous views around us, we headed back up to Hana Highway to continue on.
Our next stop was at Coconut Glen’s for some dairy-free ice cream (made from coconut milk). It was sooooo good. We split the coconut ice cream and picked up some of their famous coconut candy. It was an interesting stop…Glen loves Willy Wonka and had decorated in that way…fairly odd but charming. After that, we stopped at Wai`anapanapa Park and explored Pa`iloa Black Sand Beach and found a really cool cave. There was also a sea arch and other lava tube caves to explore, but we didn’t have a flashlight or the time to stop.
We left Wai`anapanapa Park and finally made it to Hana! Our first stop in Hana was Hana Bay where tons of locals were swimming. The Pier was closed, but we knew there was a trail to a hidden red sand beach near there. This was probably my favorite part of our Hana trip. The trail leads about 200 yards along Ka`uiki Head that had a plaque at the end of the trail marking the spot near a cave where Ka`ahumanu (King Kamehameha the Great’s favorite wife) was born. It was so unreal to see this plaque in the middle of no where. There was also a small light beacon near the end of the trail and tons of amazing rocks to climb on.
After we hiked back to the car at Hana Bay, we headed to Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu). The trail to the beach was on the side of a hill and was a bit rough in a few places, but nothing too difficult (much easier than the trail to the other red sand beach). This beach was much larger and there were people laying out, relaxing and enjoying the views. At the beginning of the trail to the beach, there is an ancient Japanese cemetery that was pretty interesting to see.
After the read sand beach, we headed out of Hana into Southeast Maui and stopped at (no surprise here!) Wailua Falls…yet another beautiful waterfall. Then we continued on to ‘Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) where you can sometimes swim and enjoy the multiple waterfalls right by the ocean. They were closed to the public that day because it was raining, but they were still beautiful from up above!
After this, the landscape changed drastically from rainforest and incredibly lush to dry and desolate. Very different, but still very pretty. We drove all the way around Southeast Maui and continued into upcountry and back through Kahului. We stopped and had a MUCH anticipated dinner (our first real meal for the day) at Buzz’s Wharf. We were both starving and VERY ready to be out of the car! The Road to Hana definitely lived up to it’s amazing reputation. I’m sure we missed so many things along the way, but what we did get to stop at and enjoy was phenomenal.