Haleakala and the Road to Hana

Today we decided to make a big day of it and do a huge road trip around the island. We started out at 4:00 a.m., with the intent of driving to the summit of Haleakala, the main volcano on Maui. We thought we were early enough, but the parking lot at the peak was still full (and the road closed) by the time we got there. Crazy. The weather didn't cooperate anyway - it was super cold (close to zero) and totally clouded over. The sun started to break through after we started our drive back down.

The visitor center at the summit of Haleakala.

We were well above the clouds, as we started back down.

After the short stop at the summit, we worked our way back down the mountain. We then headed to the coast, and did the Road to Hana, in reverse. The Road to Hana is one of Maui's signature attractions. Most people do it in the opposite direction as we were, as the road near the base of the mountain is very rough, and most rental cars aren't allowed there. We had rented a Jeep, and thought it was worth the risk. 

Along Maui’s rugged eastern coastline is the peaceful town of Hana, considered one of the last unspoiled Hawaiian frontiers. The legendary road to Hana is only 52 miles from Kahului, however the drive can take anywhere from two to four hours to complete since it’s fraught with narrow one-lane bridges, hairpin turns and incredible island views.

The Hana Highway (HI-360) has 620 curves and 59 bridges. 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.
— http://www.gohawaii.com/en/maui/regions-neighborhoods/east-maui/hana/#customOrder:random^newCustomSearch:false

As we started along the ocean-side road, there were many amazing sights.

Our first big stop was at the Pools At Oheo Gulch in Haleakala National Park. Also called the Seven Sacred Pools, there is a beautiful series of waterfalls that flow into the ocean. At some times of year, the water flow is low and you can swim in the pools. It was not the case for us, as the water was raging, and they were closed for safety.

Pools At Oheo Gulch in Haleakala National Park

After checking out the pool for a bit, we were back on the road, for the short drive into Hana. It's a cute little town, but there's not a lot there (other than a very expensive hotel), so we had some lunch and continued on. 

All along the road to Hana, there are waterfalls that you can stop to see.

As described, the road from Hana back to the main part of the island is a twisty, turning highway full of hairpin turns, one lane bridges and locals that drive way too fast for what that road is. We made a number of stops to check out the scenery.

Cool rock arch over the ocean. There was also a blow spout, a hole where the ocean would spurt up through, when the surf was high.

The volcanic rocks make for amazing scenery.

Just outside the town of Hana is Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach. As you might expect, the sand is black - really black.

The black sand beach

 rainbow on the Road to Hana