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“The worst trip of my life”
Review of Kahekili Highway

Kahekili Highway
Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
67 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“The worst trip of my life”
Reviewed September 29, 2013

I should have read all the way through my Maui guide book, then I would not have chosen to drive all the way through the Kahekili Highway. This drive made my heart beating wildly and put me right at the verge of a panic attack. It is no highway!! More like a narrow path up and down the hills with millions of curves and ...oh did I mention...most spots only allow one car. So what do you do if another car approaches you. You hope to find a spot wide enough so it can pass. If not you have to back the car downhill at the worst, around some bends until you find a spot. i had to do that with a huge jeep and it took me forever. Scared that I would run the car either into the rocks on the one side or down the cliff on the other side. I managed, but not without leaving a dent and some scratches at the ar bumper.

This road is not worth it. You cant concentrate on the beauty of the natu, as you are too scared if you make it out of there. If you don't feel comfortable driving backwards downhill, don't do it!

Visited September 2013
5 Thank ManjaK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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127 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
125 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Beautiful coastal views! Drive north from Lahaina, turn around at Olivine Pools!”
Reviewed September 22, 2013

My wife and I rented a Vespa in Lahaina before setting foot on this adventure. We went all the way up as far as Papanalahoa Point before turning back. Truly beautiful! If we had continued on for a few more miles we would have reached the Olivine Pools and then run into the narrow hazardous road everyone is talking about.

TIP: You can see much of the scenic views by driving north from Lahaina, just be sure to turn around at the Olivine Pools before the road narrows and becomes hazardous. Only keep going if you are truly feeling adventurous!

Lots of great photo opportunities on this highway. I highly recommend it!

Visited September 2013
3 Thank JandJ2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
33 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“UM...What just happened? ;) Scary but worth it!”
Reviewed May 6, 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.) :)

Visited May 2013
5 Thank Jenwalsh7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockford, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Beautiful, but takes your full concentration”
Reviewed February 17, 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.

Visited February 2013
4 Thank Michael O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Views to die for”
Reviewed February 16, 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!

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

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