The trip starts in a small country town called Paia. It travels on route 36/360 which is also known as Hana Highway and takes you to the town of Hana, continuing on to Kipahulu and (at some point the road changes names to Pilai Hwy/Route 31, then to Kula Hwy/Route 37) on through Ulupalakua also known as upcountry Maui, ending in the Paniolo town of Makawao.
It has breath taking ocean and mountain views, there are more than 600 turns and 60 one lane bridges so be careful and enjoy the scenery. Hugging the cliffs and riding along the outskirts of a rain forest is spectacular, the ocean views on one side mountain views on the other with a few spectacular waterfalls thrown in. Continuing past Hana is the 7 sacred pools, there is a fee to enter but I feel it's not worth the 10 Bucks, after this point you will be leaving the rain forest area and the scenery changes to accent lava flows with spectacular mountain views and for a short while you are right on the ocean then you start driving into the interior with rolling hills and Maui's ranches and farms so watch out for cows on these winding hilly narrow roads.
The road is paved and in great condition for the majority of this ride, there is about a 12 Miles section of bumpy road after Hana town and a short section of dirt road but after that there is freshly paved roads. There are wet areas of road from the springs running onto the road even when it's not raining. and you will need to be careful on some of the wet turns, be especially careful when you see lots of ripe guava fruit on the road, it's like being on ice. It does rain more often than not so you may need rain gear. There are few guard rails to keep you from going over straight down drops of more than 1000 feet, just take your time, don't pass others and don't race through the turns and you'll be ok. Note: There can be allot of traffic but if you start early 6 - 7 am you will beat the other tourist, this is a very popular trip. Most people reach Hana town have lunch and return the same way they came but you are going all the way around so traffic gets much lighter.
Packing a lunch is best, There are plenty of areas to pull off the road to take pictures and have lunch. There are fruit stands and food carts at a couple rest stops before Hana, there is one restaurant in Hana town, sometimes there are vendors at Seven Sacred Pools, a restaurant at the Ulupalakua general store (closes at 2 p.m.) and 4 restaurants in Makawao town. Camping, hiking, a Lava tube to explore with a beach in Waianapanapa State Park which is just before Hana town, There are hiking trails at Seven Sacred Pools and the Kipahulu camp grounds which is part of the Haleakala National Park it's about 35 Minutes past Hana town and in Ulupalakua there is a winery you can visit with gift shop. Makawao town with it's restaurants also has many little shops to browse through.
Motorcycle Road Additional info
This is an all day ride. Leave early with a full tank of gas, after Paia town the only other gas station is in Hana. Pack a lunch something to drink and bring a camera. You can do this trip in about 6 hours of riding. As long as you do not make too many stops you can spend some time at Waianapanapa State Park or one of the hiking trails at Seven Pools just watch your time or drive home in the dark. Getting a early start is a must or better yet call Waianapanapa State Park and make reservations for a cabin (reservations are usually booked 1 Year in advance) or grab a tent and camp out at Kipahulu camp grounds to make this a 2 Day trip.
I have done this drive in a car not a motorcycle but couldn't help wondering how great it would be on a bike. It is simply breathtaking and the previous reviewer is correct.. get going early! After you get past Hana the road is much better. Most rental car places make you sign you will not go the full way around or they will not pick you up if you get stranded with car trouble and most concierge's will tell you the same thing and warn you over and over that the road is awful. I will tell you I saw three tour busses taking people past the point of "no return" and it was fine. Bumpy and not much gravel at all. The views and the serenity is well worth it. Bring a bottle of wine and a sandwich to relax and enjoy the sun! Don't forget to stop for a pulled pork sandwich or a piece of warm banana bread along the way. There are tons of places to stop. I took a loop off the main road into a small town by the water. Amazing Kalua pork! Enjoy!
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July 15, 2012
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Motorcycle Type : Cruiser
The Road to Hana may be the most beautiful ride in the U.S., rivaled only by the Pacific Coast Highway. I rode it in 1996 on rental Harley Davidson Fat Boy.