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Can you drive the full loop?

Union, Oregon
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4,106 posts
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Can you drive the full loop?

Is it possible to drive to Hana and on around back to Pukalani? How is the road?

Nanaimo, Canada
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1. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

The major car rental companies do NOT want their cars on the back route.

If you get into trouble, you may not get cell phone coverage there either.

The route is bumpy in parts, one lane, and on the edge of a cliff.

Read the trip report, with Mukmuk in the title for more information.

Destination Expert
for Oahu
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45,148 posts
19 reviews
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2. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

CAN you or SHOULD you?

Can you? Yes.

Should you? No. The road's in awful shape. Your car rental company prohibits it ... and it isn't a short cut, actually. You still will end up in Kahului.

Destination Expert
for Maui
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22,573 posts
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3. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

Well of course you "can" as long as you are fully prepared to bear the consequences of a rental car break-down on the back side.

When and if you can get cell phone service the local tow-trucks LOVE to charge you mega bucks and you have not even dealt with the cost of the rental car damage.

It's really not that wonderful of an experience to risk all that on vacation.

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10,712 posts
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4. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

I would never do it because I like my money to be spent on good food and fun activities and my luck is such that I could end up needing expensive help!

LOL....I blew the engine in my SUV this summer in a no cell zone on the way to Seward, 100 miles from a tow truck. Thank God I could coast to the emergency phone and get help. I haven't heard mention of emergency phones along that stretch of road that connect to the police dispatch. I would just not bother but it's your money and luck....Deb

Destination Expert
for Ka'anapali, Haleakala National Park, Maui
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56,714 posts
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5. Re: Can you drive the full loop?


There aren't any emergency call boxes on the back side, you are correct Deb.

A tow will run around 5-600 from the back side and take about 2-3 hours to get there once someone gets a call.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
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6. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

No, you can't.

(see how much simpler that is)

Destination Expert
for Maui
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4,766 posts
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7. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

A man of few words. Nicely said Scott.

Edmonds, Washington
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2,365 posts
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8. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

it so bad that over-sized vans that seat up to 20(?) drive it daily. It's THAT scary.

You will very likely be fine if you drive around.

I wish those that warn of no cell phone coverage would be honest and note that cell phone coverage has nothing to do with imaginary lines on a map.

Cell coverage does not magically appear or disappear once you cross a line on a map.

It is very likely not a deal breaker if you drive it or not. It's just a 2 lane road.

If it's your first trip, I''d go back the way I came and see the stuff I missed.

Edited: 02 December 2012, 08:46
Albuquerque, New...
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1,428 posts
7 reviews
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9. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

We first took the drive many years ago, in a counter-clockwise direction; NOT a good idea (wife's side of the car had excellent view of several very scary drop-offs).

Next, time, tried it clockwise; beautiful day/pretty cool!

Repeated the following year. At approximately 2:20-2:25 of the linked video, I dropped a wheel in a rain (make that flood) filled pothole. "Fortunately" a 300 lb local guy was coming from the opposite direction and had a tow chain. He pulled us out of the hole (there was no way around us) and backed up 50 yards to a passing point. After he unhooked the tow chain, I slipped him a twenty and sped off before he had a chance to feed me a knuckle sandwich. Haven't taken the drive since...he's waiting for me.


Schaumburg, Illinois
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81 posts
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10. Re: Can you drive the full loop?

As for the road condition, when we drove it last month there was about 1.5 miles of dicey roadway - one lane, hugging a rock cliff along the sea, sharp blind turns. If you meet anyone, someone has to back up until you get to a slightly wider area (not the entire 1.5 miles) so that two vehicles can pass. There is also about 3 miles of gravel road, and several miles that, although paved, are very rough pavement. If it has been rainy, some parts of the road may not be navigable.

There are a few nice things to see back there, but nothing you can't see in other parts of Maui, so you have to decide if that is worth the risk of the several hundred dollars towing charge plus any damages you might do to your rental car. Also, not every driver you encounter is being as careful as they should (we witnessed that), so that's another uncontrollable risk you are taking.