Hana Highway: 617 turns and 46 one-lane bridges in Hawaii

Located on the eastern side of Maui, the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Hana Highway is one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Hana Highway

How long is Hana Highway?

This snake-like road is 52 miles (84 km) long and runs from Kahului to Hana. The ocean is down on one side of the road, with mountains rising on the other, and a few spectacular waterfalls that keep your attention wandering. The road winds deep into the tropical jungle, through valleys, to ultimately complete the final leg along the steep cliffs of the coast. This serpentine coastal route offers a perfect antidote to the vagaries of mainland winters—and a complete escape from daily life. More than 1,000 cars traverse the road each day. Today, it is primarily a tourist attraction and a means for locals to travel from one area of the island to another.

How many switchbacks are on the Road to Hana?

The drive (Hawaii Routes 36 and 360) features countless turns. It’s said to have around 617 white-knuckle switchbacks, steep cliff drops, falling rocks, and even some confusing mile markers that reset. Plus, it rains often.

How many bridges are on the Road to Hana?

There are 56 bridges on the Road to Hana. Most of them (46) are only one lane wide.

Why is the road to Hana famous?

There are wet areas from not only the waterfalls but also the common downpours for which Hawaii is famous. Despite several drops of more than 1,000 feet, there are few guardrails. For the best conditions, try timing your excursion for weekdays in the early morning—and after the afternoon traffic. It is the curvy nature and one-lane bridges of the highway that have made the road a famous visitor attraction. It’s one of the best coastal drives in the world.

Is the Road to Hana paved?

The road, locally known as The Road to Hana, is totally paved and in generally good condition.

When was the Road to Hana paved?

Construction of the road started in the 1800s and opened to traffic on December 18, 1926. It was carved by pickax-wielding convicts. It was totally paved in 1962 when tourist traffic began to increase.

Is the Road to Hana scary to drive?

The road is neither dangerous nor scary. However, it’s a pretty challenging drive winding its way past waterfalls, beaches, bridges, and spectacular ocean views. It's curvy, and you do need to be careful around blind curves, but it's paved all the way and not bad to drive. The road is winding, with more than 600 turns in 62 miles: that's 10 turns per mile. About 1/2 mile after mile marker 6, there's a sharp U-curve in the road, going uphill. The road is practically one-lane here, with a brick wall on one side and virtually no maneuvering room. Sound your horn at the start of the U-curve to let approaching cars know you're coming. Take this curve, as well as the few more coming up in the next several miles, very slowly.

Is Road to Hana worth it?

Even though the legendary Road to Hana is not long, to drive it without stopping will take most people between 3 and 4 hours. It can be quite a challenge to navigate. That’s because it is narrow and winding. The drive is very much worth it though and offers many scenic views of Maui’s northern coastline, rainforests, black-sand beaches, waterfalls, and lush, tropical vegetation. The road leads you through flourishing rainforests, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools, and dramatic seascapes. There are plenty of opportunities to stop and enjoy the lovely views, so get an early start and take your time on your drive. It winds 50 miles past taro patches, magnificent seascapes, waterfall pools, botanical gardens, and verdant rainforests and ends at one of Hawaii's most beautiful tropical places.