The Hana Highway was first built with volcanic cinders in 1926 by prison trustees who were housed at the town of Keanae. In 1934 their camp became the home of the Civilian Conservation Corp, the federal work program that provided jobs for the islanders during the Great Depression. Today, their camp is the site of the Keanae YMCA.
In 1962 the state totally resurfaced the highway with asphalt all the way to Hana. but over the ensuing years, constant rain and continual use filled this newly-paved road with a collection of rain-filled pot holes. All the bouncing and jolting passengers endured along the drive led to the creation of Maui's popular "I Survived the Hana Highway" souvenir t-shirts.
In the mid 1990's, the state began seriously repairing and upgrading the road. Today, the Hana Road is one of the best maintained roads on the island. And though the road is named the Hana Highway, you'll discover that this winding 54-mile long, mostly one-lane scenic road is anything but a "highway."
There is a seemingly unlimited number of things you can discover and do along the drive. A few of the early stops are the Waikamo'i Ridge Trail, Kaumahina State Wayside Park, Ke'anae Arboretum, Pua'a Ka'a Wayside Park and Waianapanapa State Park.
Then comes Hana town, with its relaxed Hawaiian feeling of time slowed down. There are a few small shops to check out, and you can have lunch at the many small vendors around town. Further down the road is Hamoa Bay, Wailua Falls and Haleakala National Park at Kipahulu, and excellent place for hiking, picnicing, and cooling off in freshwater pools. Except the pools are currently closed due to rock hazards. Past here is the final resting place of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh at Palapala Ho'omau Congregational Church.
Many consider the drive of the Hana Road the world's most beautiful drive. This is where you'll see all the waterfalls, pools, rain and bamboo forests, exotic plants and flowers, and our black sand beach.