There’s one long strip of pavement that overlooks the northeastern shores of Maui: That’s where visitors can become fully enlightened to the natural beauty that inhabits the island. For just over 64 miles, Hana Highway is the path to pure scenic wonder, winding through one majestic stretch of road after another, and allows for optimal stopping points for travelers to get out and see what makes Maui such a magical place. Of course, it’s all the breathtaking waterfalls you’ll encounter along the way that will forever cement the Hana Highway in your mind as the tropical paradise it truly is. During your stay at a Maui vacation rental, be sure to fill up the tank and hit the road in search of these immaculate waterfalls you’ll come across on the Road to Hana:
Mile 2: Twin Falls
The first cascade you’ll encounter on the Hana HIghway is the famous Twin Falls, noted as being one of the most accessible waterfalls along the journey. Because this is the first waterfall stop on the Hana Highway, it’s likely that there will be plenty of other visitors around you checking out the area. However, don’t let any crowds dissuade you; Twin Falls has enough space to comfortably navigate around the alluring dual waterfalls to get you that perfect photo opportunity. The twin cascades dive into a pool below that’s perfect for taking an afternoon dip under the hot Maui sun. You can also grab a snack or smoothie at the many local vendors that surround this coveted natural treasure.
Mile 19: Upper Waikani Falls
The next stop on your Hana Highway waterfall road trip is Upper Waikani Falls, where you’ll find three towering 70-foot tall cascades thundering their way down into a sparkling emerald pool below. Also known as “The Three Bears,” what Waikani Falls lacks in accessibility, this oasis certainly makes up for in beauty. Parking around this waterfall can be tricky, but there are spots available near the Hana Bridge. If taking on the challenge of parking and hiking close to the waterfalls sounds intimidating, there’s a great drive-by view available for simply cruising past the scenery, so be sure to have your cameras out and ready!
Mile 22: Pua’a Kaa State Wayside Park
If you’ve cruised past Upper Waikani Falls without stopping, then parking the car and taking a walk around Pua’a Kaa State Wayside Park is a great way to stretch out and explore some more immaculate Maui scenery. This is an excellent pit stop for hitting up a bathroom or even planning a picnic, and while the waterfall here itself isn’t too massive, it’s certainly worth taking a picture of for your waterfall photo collection. However, the pool’s surrounding topography can get muddy and treacherous, so if you’re trying to look for a good place to take a dip, it’s probably best to wait for another stop.
Mile 24: Hanawai Falls
Hanawai Falls is certainly one of the Road to Hana waterfall destinations that needs to be visited. For starters, there’s a great bridge to park close to that allows for an excellent view of the majestic cascade, but there’s definitely more to Hanawai Falls than what you see. Further down the stream from the initial waterfall that’s visible from the bridge is a 200-foot waterfall that eventually leads down a 9- mile channel directly into the ocean. Waterfalls don’t get much more incredible than that!
Mile 25: Makapipi Falls
The final waterfall before a brief hiatus on the Road to Hana, Makapipi Falls not only offers easy access to explore the area, but provides perhaps the most distinctive view of a Maui cascade on this highway. Makapipi Falls is a seasonal waterfall, so if there hasn’t been any rain in the past week or so, odds are there won’t be any cascade to see. If there has been sufficient rain recently, be sure to park behind the bridge just past the mile 25 marker near Makapipi Stream. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to watch the cascade from directly above, a view that’s entirely rare to come across with any of the other waterfalls on the Road to Hana.
Mile 42: Kipahulu, Haleakala National Park
After you’ve gotten some quality cruise time in along the Hana Highway, stretch out your legs by spending an hour or so exploring the pristine territory around Haleakala National Park. The park itself is packed with plenty of opportunities to engage in, from hiking to swimming to even embarking on ranger-guided tours. Make sure to head over to the Kipahulu district area of the park, which features a 400-foot cascade known as Waimoku Falls. You might feel a slight kink in your neck after staring up in awe at this gigantic waterfall for several minutes.
Mile 45: Paihi Falls
Just before mile marker 45 is another great waterfall to check out that’s nearby the Kipahulu: Paihi Falls. While the cascade itself isn’t overwhelming in size, it presents a great opportunity to test your drive-by photo-taking skills, as the small bridge surrounding the waterfall tends to get easily crowded.
Mile 45: Wailua Falls
You’ve reached your final destination along the waterfall road trip on Hana Highway, and boy is this a sight to behold. Made famous after being included in the credits of the famous television show “Fantasy Island,” Wailua Falls is the quintessential example of how breathtaking Maui nature can be. The 173-foot tall waterfall splits into two descending streams, and can easily be photographed from the road below it. This is also a great place to finally rest and grab a bite to eat at the adjacent local food stands while you soak in the glorious view of Wailua Falls above you. If you’re lucky enough to get there early, you’ll be treated with a spectacular rainbow that covers the waterfall, offering the perfect way to conclude your epic Road to Hana cascade road trip.
The Hawaiian Beach Rentals Team