the world's most spectacular roads

Hana Highway

The Hana Highway is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Located in Maui, the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, the road is 52 miles (84 km) long. You will pass 617 white-knuckle switchbacks, 56 one-lane bridges, and tons of waterfalls as you travel away from civilization. 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.

This snake-like hairpin bends on a warped narrow road links Kahulu i with the town of Hāna. This serpentine coastal route offers a perfect antidote to the vagaries of mainland winters—and a complete escape from daily life. You’ll have to navigate through and around 600 hairpin turns, 54 one-lane bridges, steep cliff drops, falling rocks, and even some confusing mile markers that reset. Plus it rains often. Winding its way past waterfalls, beaches, bridges and spectacular ocean views, the 600 hairpin turns and 54 bridges make it one of the most demanding.  The road winds deep into the tropical jungle, through valleys, to ultimately complete the final leg along the steep cliffs of the coast.

A quick glance at the map, at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. The drive is definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera! 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. The road is paved and in generally good condition, but there are wet areas from not only the waterfalls but the common downpours for which Hawaii is famous. Despite several drops of more than 1,000 feet, there are few guard rails. For the best conditions, try timing your excursion for weekdays in the early morning—and after the afternoon traffic.  The outside world discovered the little village of Hana in 1926, when the narrow coastal road, carved by pickax-wielding convicts, opened. The mud-and-gravel road, often subject to landslides and washouts, was paved in 1962, when tourist traffic began to increase; now more than 1,000 cars traverse the road each day.

This infamous road is tightly hairpinned and bumped, an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. 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. Even though this legendary road is just 52 miles (84 km) long (from Kahului to Hana), it takes around three hours and 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.  


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