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“UM...What just happened? ;) Scary but worth it!”
Review of Kahekili Highway

Kahekili Highway
Reviewed 6 May 2013

My Mom wanted to see Lahaina, where she stayed the last time in Maui and I found this awesome route on my iphone where were could drive along the coast to get there. The road kept getting smaller and smaller and more and more rugged. Next thing we knew there were cliffs with no guard rails and warnings for single lane roads. Is was MUCH more scary AND scenic than Hana in my opinion. It would have been much better if we were driving clockwise where we were always hugging the mountain but that was not the case and it was quite intimidating. At one point there was a blind curve on a single road and I literally screamed when a car slowly peaked around. Luckily, they backed up but can you imagine backing up on a mountain with no guard rail. ? Anyhow, if you are adventurous and want something off the beaten path this is for you ( just please go clockwise.) :)

5  Thank Jenwalsh7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 17 February 2013

I found myself taking this route with no idea how rugged and perilous the route was - as many have mentioned, the standard issue tourist maps make it appear that this is just an ordinary state road, and a faster route from west Maui to Kahului. It may be a shorter distance, but at 5-10 mph, it is far longer trip. That said, it has incredible views. I was fortunate to be driving in sunny clear weather, and I encountered only two other cars the entire trip, so I did not have to worry about passing on the very narrow road. Downsides: 1) the driver will have little opportunity to enjoy the views, because there are few places to pull over, and driving requires all your skill and concentration; 2) takes two full hours from West Maui to Kuhuli.

4  Thank Michael O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2013

First, the bad. I followed the Kahekili "highway" with my fiance thinking there would be some nice views and a shorter route from Lahaina to Kahelui. Nothing was posted to warn me that I'd be voiding my rental car agreement and that the sedate looking 4 lane road would, within 1000ft, become the sketchiest stetch of road I've ever travelled. I got more views than I bargained for. The "highway" becomes so narrow and hugs the cliff at 500ft up without guard rails, it would be better called a donkey trail. The road is paved..sort of. Crumbling in many places, sloped, without any traffic signs or markers, save for one peculiar skull and crossbones hammered in on one of the switchbacks, this is a nightmare. My normally cool fiance begged me to turn back as we approached oncoming traffic. Sorry, not enough room for a three point turn. It's narrower than most suburban driveways. Once you're on it, your more or less committed. We backed up along the cliff's edge several times to find a spot large enough that my car would be an inch from the rock wall, while the other car, both our mirrors folded, just squeaked by. Within inches of a deadly plummet each time. Unlike a roller-coaster or zip-lines, this is not fun. The danger here is very real. Google this roadway and you'll find many reports of cars plummeting off and the local controversy over solutions, if any. If you're an adrenaline junkie, and have made amends with your loved ones, by all means, have fun. But many tourists have fallen from this roadway and it's not worth putting your loved ones in that risk. Why even bother making them wear a seat belt, if that's how you roll?
The good: Aside from the treacherous road and hair-raising time spent on it, you will reach many turn offs. Several are park areas with spectacular views of the rough north coast waters, among them, the famous "blow hole" where waves enter a sea cave and blast spray up from a small hole. Amazing to see this part of Maui. The isolated village of Kahakuloa is something out of a fairy tale. Age old Hawaiian fishing houses, an old church, all at the bottom of a deep hidden cove where turquoise waves crash on a black sand beach. Stunning. A legendary banana bread cart and a curio-shop art studio along the way as well.
Bottom line? One trip on this road cured me of my fear of heights, gave me all the photo ops I needed on this trip, and left me feeling the hype about the Big Island's saddle road, or Maui's Road to Hana were overblown. You'll need to decide for yourself if the photo ops are worth the risk. Next time I'm on Kahekili, I'll be walking. If you go, be darned sure you are a very confident driver, confident in your rental car's ability, feel fresh and alert, have not had as much as a beer, have steel nerved passengers, and that you'll likely be backing up at least once down the same cliff edge you drove. Enjoy!

14  Thank HappyDocNY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2013

We were discouraged reading others reviews (my husband is afraid of heights) but started this drive to decide for ourselves if it was drivable. If you are interested at all, DO IT! Recommend starting in Lahaina so you usually are on the inside track. Good snorkeling just north ok Kaanapali, farther up blow hole you can hike to (high tide best), and lots of beautiful views. It's one lane in places but there are occasional pull outs to squeeze into if others approach from the opposite direction. We had a 2 door Jeep Wrangler and never felt we wouldn't make it. Road smoother then road past Hana. Jeep not necessary...any car would be fine for this trip!

5  Thank bgirl6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2013

OK want to bore and then scare yourself and your passengers over the course of 4 hours do this drive, if not pass.
As a driver if you are , a timid, and or inattentive driver , and or aggressive driver do not drive this. If you become frustrated when your behind traffic you absolutely cannot pass without risking death and or have an easily frightened passenger... pass. Simple as that. Go get some shave ice and head to the beach.
Although there are many nice views, many do drive this and wonder why they bothered. Its longer then one thinks when lookig at the map ( aka Hana highway as well) and the views and attractions are simply just not worth the time.
Its worth doing once if you a Maui lover and spend extended time in Maui, or if you love to drive . But if you have only a week... pass.
If you do this drive a few important points. First start your drive from the Lahaina, Kaanapali side of west Maui, why? this means your vehicle will be on the inside/cliff face side of what can be a narrow single lane road. The driver will be on the outside and better able to judge the road. And the passenger.... will be less frightened.
Start from the Wailuku side and at the worst pinch points of the drive the passenger will feel like they are on the edge of the abyss ( and sometimes they are!!) All the above are worse if you insist on renting the ubiquitous Sport Ute or any larger vehicle.
Also the driver should pay attentions ONLY to the road. People have gone over the edge here and many have DIED...yes as in dead. Its no joke.
Three do not speed and follow the rules and the signs you see posted on the highway and you will be relatively safe.
The only real attraction IMHO is Kahakuloa village its associated hill and a nice art gallery on the ridge above the village. One must absolutely stop at the gallery and the village food stand. The gallery is very nice the food stand Ok. And...there the only things to do on this road.
Some people go to the olivine pools but there overrated , again just my opinion.

Summary , There much more to do in Maui then drive in a car for 4-5 hours scare yourself. In contrast the Hana highway, another extremely overrated tourist trap drive that people rush and thus miss the whole point ( ive done both many times but stop to smell the roses as it were when I do it ) is marginally better then this drive. The upside is this drive is much shorter, downside all the negatives above, and has less visual rewards.

5  Thank mauimongerJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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