Maui is a tropical paradise for tourists seeking a relaxing getaway from the daily bustling. Hawaii’s famous island is equipped with some most luxe hotels in Hawaii, paired perfectly with incredible natural sights and rugged coastlines. Whether visitors are traveling solo or with family, Maui offers something for everyone, especially when it comes to scenic landmarks. While the Road to Hana is a favorite activity for tourists visiting Maui, the island also has another highway connected to some of Hawaii’s most beautiful landmarks.
The Kahekili Highway is said to be the “backdoor” to Maui’s incredible lush greenery and coastal views. However, there’s one catch: it’s a risky drive. Therefore, it's vital to understand why it's a risky drive before revving up the engine and heading toward this Maui highway.
9 Car Rental Companies Don’t Encourage It
There are many thrilling activities that Maui has to offer. However, ask car rental companies if the Kahekili Highway is a road worth driving through, and they’ll likely say no to tourists. This highway is riddled with narrow, winding roads with numerous blind spots and the possibility of falling debris. Some car rental companies may not even offer support should any mishaps occur along the highway. The Kahekili Highway provides incredible views of Maui, but travelers must be wary of the risk and challenges associated with driving this highway first and plan accordingly.
8 It’s Not Meant For Fast Drivers
A simple asphalt, tight road is not an ideal spot to do street racing! Driving the Kahekili Highway requires a confident driver capable of driving cautiously and per the speed limit, with the ability to drive slowly during the right time. The speed limit along the highway is 15 miles per hour, so drivers are encouraged to drive accordingly to ensure a safe (and scenic) road trip!
7 There Are Several Blind Spots
Blind spots are a pain for drivers, but it’s even more significant pain when the blind spots are frequent on a very narrow highway like the Kahekili Highway. Like tackling the Road to Hana, drivers are encouraged to honk their horns as they approach a blind or sharp turn. This is by no means rude, but rather a signal to let oncoming traffic that you’re approaching the spot!
6 Falling Rocks And Debris Are NOT Unheard Of
On one side of the Kahekili Highway are stunning views of Maui’s rugged coastline. Meanwhile, the other side is glued to tall, rocky cliffs. It’s not unheard of for rocks and other debris to fall from the cliff and onto the road. Landslides and fallen trees are also said to have happened along the Kahekili Highway. So before journeying to Maui’s infamous highway, be wary of the risks!
5 There Are Narrow Two-Lane Roads
Maui’s notorious highway is not a monstrous road; in fact, it’s pretty tiny. So small that driving the highway with a van or an SUV would prove incredibly challenging! Some stretches of the Kahekili Highway were designed for two-way traffic, but travelers will undoubtedly come across the dreadful one-way lane on some ends. The two-way lanes may be a little too narrow for some drivers’ comfort, so it’s ideal for driving cautiously and at the speed limit. Drivers who come across another driver on the highway from the oncoming lane may have to give way to the vehicle, sometimes by reversing the car.
4 The Road Is Winding
In some ways, winding roads are beautiful and make for a peaceful drive while road tripping. However, on the Kahekili Highway, the narrow roads closely hug the edges of their respective cliffs, resulting in topsy roads on some stretches. Drive safe and slow, especially along these winding bits of road, specifically on specific stretches of Highway 340 (which is around 13 km).
3 It’s Best Suited For Day Driving
With the winding and narrow roads, it’s incredibly challenging for tourists to drive the Kahekili Highway at night, especially with a large vehicle like a van or SUV. Drivers who understand that risks of driving on Kahekili Highway should plan on tackling it during the daytime, starting their drive well in the early morning. It’s also best to venture along the highway on a sunny day than a rainy one. The sights will be more beautiful with some Maui sun, but the roads will also be a little safer for driving.
2 Drive Safe, And You Will See The Best Sights In Maui
Safe and cautious drivers brave (and prepared) enough to traverse along the Kahekili Highway can see incredible landscapes that bless Maui, minus the bustling crowds experienced while visiting the best stops at the Road to Hana. Enjoy a peaceful beach day at Kapalua Bay Beach or watch the incredible rush of waves down at the Nakalele Blowhole.
1 Enjoy Hiking Trails Along The Kahekili Highway
The Kahekili Highway is not all doom and gloom. Safe drivers will be rewarded with the most beautiful sights on Maui; they’ll also have a chance to enjoy some scenic hiking trails. Tourists can take a leisurely hike (no bikes) on the Ohai Trail Loop to see scenic coastal views. Alternatively, tourists who prefer mountainous landscapes can embark on the Waihee Ridge Trail to soak insights around the West Maui Natural Area Reserve.