The road to Hana is known for it’s waterfalls, lots and lots of waterfalls.
Now we all love the sun, and for many visitors to Hawaii they love it too. Its what they came out to the islands for. Our island is setup beautifully with the glorious Mount Haleakala blocking a lot of the storms, rains and winds. It keeps the clouds and most of the rain on Maui’s northern shores and allows the southern shores to be basked in hot summer-like sun almost everyday. The tall mountain and the trade winds sets up the perfect environment for a rain forest to thrive; and thrive it does. Maui’s rainforest is spectacular, filled with varied vegetation, coastal views and lots of waterfalls.
From the Hana highway you can see a lot of waterfalls of various sizes. Some are tall and just a trickle of water, while others are short and wide. The flow of water depends mostly on the rain and how much water is being held back upstream by the East Maui Irrigation Company. They have built water catchment canals and dams across most streams to redirect all that water to central Maui to use for growing sugar cane. We love the rain for many reasons and one of them is that it provides the water for falls along the road to Hana. Maui’s watershed is quite small so daily rain is very important to keep the water levels high going over the falls.
To see a lot of waterfalls, just take a drive down the Hana highway and keep a look out every time you go around a corner. There are many to see right from the road but there are so many others that are hidden. A book can explain a general location and a CD can tell you a little based upon the road markers (that aren’t always there). In most cases, to see the best waterfalls, you need a guide, someone who knows for sure and will take you to the best viewing spot. Many times a great waterfall can be seen only from an elevated seat, like in a tour van or making a stop and walking back down the road a little way. There are lots of waterfalls right under the bridge, that you wouldn’t see unless you stopped and looked over the edge. There are hundreds of waterfalls that require a bit of a hike into the forest to see like at Twin Falls or up the Oheo Gulch, to some some of the tallest in Maui county.
Here is a sample of some of the waterfalls to check out on the road to Hana. The most picturesque is Wailua falls located just before the area of Haleakala National Park, it’s on the far side of Hana, on the road FROM Hana.