Maui’s designation as heaven on Earth is doubly reinforced on the Road to Hana, a 64-mile drive that brims with sweeping views of the Pacific and thundering waterfalls along the roadside. Mahalo to Natalie Brown for the beautiful photos!
Of those cascades, Pua’a Ka’a tops many visitors’ lists. Located at Mile Marker 22.5—roughly 40 (albeit serpentine) miles from Kahului—this ultra-green park features a pair of falls that, like the island itself, are nothing short of splendid.
What to Love
Easy access to waterfalls with all the amenities you’d want for a stop along the Road to Hana! Not only do they have parking, but they also have bathrooms and covered picnic tables with a view.
What to Know
A short hike takes trekkers to the park’s falls as well as pools that are ideal for a quick dip. Those keen on venturing farther can cross the stream at the park’s picnic tables to a trail that ascends along a narrow viaduct to the upper falls. Do note, however, that this trail is often discouraged, and for good reason: traversing it can be treacherous, particularly after it’s rained. Rain also brings mud to the park (and can lead to easy slippage), while the rocks in the pools are often slick. In other words? As with all of your adventures around the island (and beyond), be sure to exercise caution.
When to Go
Open daily from 6am-6pm.
What You’ll Find Nearby
Approximately six miles prior, you’ll pass the unofficial halfway to Hana at Ke’anae, a verdant peninsula best known for its historical church, taro farms, old Hawaii sensibility, and epic banana bread. Ten miles past Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside Park, you’ll reach one of the greatest gems along the Road to Hana: Wai‘anapanapa State Park, a 122-acre wonder filled with mineral-water cave pools, a bird sanctuary, a stunning, black sand beach, a natural sea arch, and a native hala forest.
ALSO NEAR PUAA KAA