The three-mile section we’ll hike today is what remains of the King’s Highway coastal trail known as Kīpapa O Kihapi‘ilani (the pavement of Kihapi‘ilani). To get there, we cross the black-sand beach to the trailhead, then silently plot each delicate step through the jagged terrain. The way is loosely marked by a worn path in the lava, with occasional smooth hand-set stepping stones peeking out from under the rough landscape. These inconspicuous artifacts are what’s left of the original path. Considering the antiquity of the stones, it’s surprising that they’re still here, but Hawaiians were expert stone masons and this trail is a testament to their skills.
I pull my eyes from the ground to savor the sights above. The reward: dense vegetation of hala and beach naupaka to one side, heavy surf slapping the cliffs to the other.
Like Hāna itself, the trail is remote, wild and utterly seductive. Pausing to sip water, I wonder, “Is there a place in Hāna that isn’t beautiful?” If so, I haven’t found it yet.
IF YOU GO:
- Need to rent the essentials? Check out www.hanacampgear.com.
- Hāna’s weather can be unpredictable. Pack a waterproof jacket and sunscreen.
- If you’re prone to motion sickness, you may want to bring Dramamine for the winding drive.
- Bring cash. Most roadside vendors aren’t set up for credit-card transactions.
- If you’re camping, finding an outlet to charge your camera will be a challenge. Avoid the hassle and pack an extra camera battery. Also note that cellphone reception is spotty along the Road to Hāna and some areas outside of Hāna town.
- The one day not to travel to Hāna is September 14, the day of the annual Hāna Relay road race. The already narrow streets will be crawling with runners and support vehicles.
Garden of Eden Botanical Gardens & Arboretum. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Admission is $15 per person, $10 for kamaʻāina (Hawai‘i residents). Download a map at www.mauigardenofeden.com.
Hāna Farms. Besides banana bread, the farm hosts pizza and movie nights, Fridays and Saturdays, from 4 to 8 p.m. Pizzas are cooked in a clay oven and topped with fresh local ingredients from the farm. 2910 Hāna Highway, (808) 248-7553, www.hanafarmsonline.com
Kīpahulu Campground. First-come, first-served drive-up camping. No reservations are needed, but the campground is in Haleakalā National Park, with a $10 entrance fee per vehicle. The campground is equipped with barbecue grills, picnic tables and pit toilets. You’ll need to bring your own food and water. Details at www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/kipahulu.htm
ONO Organic Farms. Ninety-minute tasting and walking tours are available by reservation Monday through Friday at 1:30 p.m., and by special appointment. Cost is $35 per adult. Children under 10 are free. If you miss the tour, be sure to check out ONO’s roadside market from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. It’s next to the only gas station in town, across the street from Hasegawa General Store. (808) 248-7779; www.onofarms.com.