As the local Hawaiians say, the Road to Hana is a journey, not a destination. On your journey, you’ll pass jungle vines, towering waterfalls, perfectly turquoise water, otherworldly bamboo forests and even a massive volcano. Inevitably, you’ll want to take Road to Hana photos.
I’ve compiled a list of the 17 best photography spots for the journey, so you know exactly which spots are worth photographing and which you can enjoy off-grid.
Here’s exactly where to take photos on the Road to Hana (as well as some bonus Road to Hana photo tips at the end)!
1. Ho’okipa Lookout
Ho’okipa Beach is one of the first incredible sights to see on the Road to Hana.
Even though this lookout is particularly known for watching sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing, the active teal waters (I’m talking 30-foot waves) and mountainous background also make an epic photography location.
In fact, I have to credit Ho’okipa Lookout for the top liked Road to Hana photos on my Instagram.
2. Ho’okipa Beach
Adjacent to Ho’okipa Lookout is the iconic Ho’okipa Beach.
Besides the massive and somewhat terrifying 30-foot waves, this beach is notorious for its napping sea turtles.
Legally, you can’t get close to the turtles. But, if you want to see turtles on your Maui vacation, this is a location to do so.
3. Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees, AKA The Painted Trees
Believe it or not, these trees aren’t painted by anyone other than God.
The bark of these famous rainbow eucalyptus trees peels off, revealing striking colors from the inside out.
4. Nahiku Landing
Next, Nahiku Landing, which solitics a 15-minute detour off the Road to Hana, proves worthy of an iconic photography spot by its crashing teal waves, legendary cliff views and palm tree haven.
While the temptation to spend this detour only taking pictures is plentiful, remember to take in the landscape here, too.
If you look closely, you’ll even see several distant cliffside waterfalls pouring into the Pacific.
5. Haleakala Crater (Road To Hana Photos)
Take your Road to Hana road trip from below sea level to above the clouds at Haleakala Crater.
Haleakala is Maui’s dormant volcano. The crater’s red dusty summits, silver extraterrestrial wildlife and airplane elevation shuttle you to a Mars-like, otherworldly place to take photos on the Road to Hana
Now, this Road to Hana stop does require a national park pass. But, with the pass, you’ll also be able to enter the Pipiwai Trail, Waimoku Falls and the Pools of ‘Ohe’o, which we’ll discuss next. Just be sure to purchase the 3-day park pass if you plan to visit these locations on separate days.
6. Bamboo Forest On The Pipiwai Trail
Next on the list of where to take photos on the Road to Hana is the bamboo forest on the Pipiwai Trail.
This bamboo forest will quite literally make you forget that you are still inside the United States.
Technically, bamboo is not native to Maui, but the trees’ fast growth quickly built a lush Hawaiian forest when it was brought to the island. Now, we get to enjoy it!
Before you go, though, plan for the weather. If you plan on hiking Pipiwai when it is raining, be prepared to get really wet and really muddy. I go over how to prep more here.
7. Waimoku Falls (Road To Hana Photos)
Waimoku Falls is an epic 400-foot waterfall hidden in the middle of the dense Hawaiian rainforest. It is a definite must-see spot in Maui.
However, there is quite a hike to the falls. The hike (on the Pipiwai Trail) is about 2.5-3 hours round trip if you plan to stop and take photos. Moreover, the trail is primarily made of uneven stairs, mud, rocks, tree roots and rotting fallen mangos.
Although you will get wet and muddy, guaranteed, I highly suggest visiting Pipiwai and Waimoku Falls after or during a heavy rain so that the waterfall is flowing full.
8. Pools Of ‘Ohe’o (Seven Sacred Pools)
Next, the Pools of ‘Ohe’o, more commonly known as the Seven Sacred Pools, are also located in Haleakala National Park, just like Pipiwai and Waimoku Falls.
Luckily, the Seven Sacred Pools only require a 10 minute walk from the parking lot that is mostly downhill.
If the waters are calm, you will probably get a chance to swim in the pools, so be sure to bring a swimsuit and towel.
9. Hana Highway
As you drive through the rough scenic terrain to all the iconic Road to Hana must-see spots, don’t forget to take in all of the beautiful roadside views as well.
Pull over, hop out of your car, eat a snack, embrace the salty breeze and take a few photos on Road to Hana’s Hana Highway.
10. Makapipi Falls
Similarly, one of the incredible Hana Highway pull-outs is Makapipi Falls.
As you can see, the massive Makapipi Falls runs right under the road. So, unless you’re intentionally looking for the waterfall, you will most likely drive right past it. Don’t!
Furthermore, if you have a drone, this is a great location for some aerial waterfall shots.
11. Twin Falls (Road To Hana Photos)
Although Maui is home to many, many waterfall pools, Twin Falls is probably the most Instagrammed waterfall-fed pool of them all.
Naturally, I had to add these falls to this list of where to take photos on the Road to Hana.
12. Kaihalulu Beach, AKA Red Sand Beach
By now, you’ve probably heard of Maui’s white sand and black sand beaches, but have you heard of the red sand beach?
Maui’s red sand beach, Kaihalulu Beach, boasts striking rust-colored sand that seeps into the stark blue ocean. These contrasting hues yield perfect Road to Hana photos — from up above or down below.
If you opt to go down below, note the hike is considered dangerous by locals. If you’re a seasoned hiker and feel equipped for the climb, be extra careful. Tourists have died trying to capture the “perfect” Road to Hana photo here.
13. Black Sand Beach At Wai’anapanapa State Park (Road To Hana Photos)
Black sand beaches are becoming increasingly popular on social media.
Why? Because of their insane uniqueness and beauty.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a drone. Wai’anapanapa State Park’s black sand beach will make for a perfect photo opportunity regardless of the camera angle.
14. Small Black Sand Beach At Wai’anapanapa State Park
While you’re visiting the iconic black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park, walk across the beach to the side opposite of the entrance staircase. There, you’ll see a small hiking trail tucked behind big black boulders. Take the two-minute hike on the trail, and you will be rewarded will a miniature black sand beach — most likely all to yourself.
I will caution you to bring shoes of some sort, though. This beach is made up of pebbles rather than soft sand.
15. Paihi Falls
Next, Paihi Falls is situated deep in the jungle of Maui.
If you plan to complete the entire Road to Hana, you’ll eventually pass this tall, thin 50-foot waterfall.
You can walk right on the pool’s bridge to take your photos, but watch for cars. This bridge is very skinny and nonexclusive to pedestrian traffic.
16. Palapala Ho’omau Congregational Church, AKA Charles Lindbergh’s Grave
As the final resting place of the legendary Charles Lindbergh (the first man to pilot a solo transatlantic flight), Palapala Ho’omau is a hidden gem among the more well-known stops on the Road to Hana.
In the words of Charles Lindbergh himself, the land surrounding this church is “heaven on earth.”
When you look inland from the front of the church, you’ll see blue sky, Maui mountains, lush tropical foliage and, if you’re lucky, friendly horses.
17. Saint Joseph Church (Road To Hana Photos)
Last but not least, Saint Joseph Church.
Tucked behind a metal fence off the Road to Hana, just down the road from Charles Lindbergh’s grave, the grounds of Saint Joseph Church are free to visit.
This quaint church offers a huge green with both mountain and ocean views. You even may be able to spot a rainbow hanging over the steeple. Can you spot the fading rainbow in this Road to Hana picture?
Road To Hana Photo Tips
Bonus: Here are some Road to Hana photo tips from me, a professional travel photographer!
Road to Hana photo tips:
- Learn basic travel photography techniques.
- Understand your camera’s manual functions, even if you’re just using your iPhone.
- Buy camera gear if you want. Here’s all of the best budget camera gear for travel photography.
- Learn how to pose in travel photos (this one actually makes a big difference).
- Pack the perfect, foolproof Road to Hana outfit that is practical but still photogenic.
Looking for more Maui Instagram spots? Click here!
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