The Back Side of Haleakala

If you like the road less traveled, continuing on past Hana around Haleakala is an adventure worth taking.

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Most visitors will travel toward Hana in a clockwise direction, and when they reach Hana, they’ll turn around and head back the way they came. Usually this is either because the free maps in the “Driving Magazine” that came with the rental car say “driving here voids rental contract” or because they were mistakenly told there was nothing worth seeing and that the road was difficult to navigate in a regular car.

For those seeking adventure, this open-vista driving tour is a fitting finale to a Road to Hana adventure. The trip will proceed through several climate zones as the scenery transforms from the lush jungle of Kipahulu, through ranchland, dry grasslands, lavascapes, and ultimately back into lush green views of cloud-forest. Most will pass through the back side after a full day of activity, so the less frequent stops will probably be welcomed by most. But if you’re like my wife (and the Energizer Bunny) there are plenty of options for more stops along this route to torture your mortal companion(s). If your timing is right, you’re also likely to witness a spectacular sunset over the impossibly blue waters of the Pacific Ocean.

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