The Road to Hana: An Unforgettable Sunset

Slightly tired from our amazing hike, and with only a couple of hours until sundown we began our drive along the backside of Haleakala. Most visitors turn around after the Seven Sacred Pools, so it was intriguing to me to see a place that most don’t see during their visit.

From my research, I knew that this road was narrow. So narrow, that at times, there is only room for one car. These stretches of road have a tall rock cliff on one side and on the other side is a small guard-rail to offer some protection from plunging into the ocean below. Narrow. Steep. Scary. Sounds like fun to me! 🙂

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Be sure to Honk your horn around the blind corners.

Be sure to Honk your horn around the blind corners.

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Backside

We made it through the scary parts well before sunset, which was my biggest concern, and after the one-lane death-defying stretches of road, you are treated to miles and miles of washboard hell dirt road. I wasn’t surprised by the condition of the dirt road, because the guidebooks warn of the washboarding (I know, that’s not a word) but the five miles of intermittent paved and dirt road felt more like twenty miles after about ten minutes or so. (Go ahead and roll your eyes 😉 I’m being a bit dramatic.)

Regardless of the road condition, I would take this drive again in a heartbeat as we enjoyed expansive views all down the coast and only passed a few cars along our drive. It was nice to get away from all the cars and all the people on the Hana Highway and take a drive at our own pace. Typically the backside of Haleakala is very, very dry and somewhat unappealing, however, in an exceptional stroke of luck, Maui revealed her very best yet again. We felt extremely lucky, and somewhat spoiled, because Maui was sooo green.

A typical South Maui Drive... very, very dry.

A typical South Maui Drive… very, very dry.

Photo Credit

The photo on the left is from Maui Revealed--on a typical South Maui day. The photo on the right is my photo of the same section of road.

The photo on the left is from Maui Revealed showing the typical dryness of the region. The photo on the right is my photo on the same section of road. Unusually GREEN!

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Backside

As sunset approached, our luck continued. We found ourselves near the remote, unnamed, black sand beach as the golden sun dipped below the horizon. We parked the car and realized that we were the only car in sight. It was an incredible experience to view the sunset from a remote location on the backside of a dormant volcano. This sunset was the kind of sunset that would make anyone stop in their tracks and admire the beauty unfolding before their eyes. We watched in silence as the golden sun transformed the sky into shades of pink, purple, and blue right before our eyes.

Backside-Sea Arch

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The seclusion, combined with the striking scenery, and the beautiful sunset, will go down as one of the most memorable sunsets I’ve ever witnessed. In that moment, it was as if this sunset happened just for us.

Backside-sunsetHave you made the drive all the way around Haleakala?

Leave a comment

  1. February 23, 2014 / 9:29 PM

    I confess that we were too scared to do this drive and turned back after Oheo Gulch. The guidebook warnings, no rental car insurance, and the unnerving one-lane road from Hana to the Haleakala National Park was enough to deter us. Looks beautiful though!

    • February 24, 2014 / 7:42 PM

      I agree, that’s how I felt the first time we did the Road to Hana. While it was a little nerve wracking in a few areas, it was SO worth it! You should definitely try it next time… Especially if it’s as green as it was when we went. Aloha! 🙂

  2. March 25, 2014 / 2:58 AM

    We loved road to Hana, it was such an amazing day out 🙂 we did all the way around the island 🙂 glad you did it too, it’s something you just have to do in Maui 🙂

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