When you think of Maui, beaches and palm trees probably come to mind. But tucked beneath the island’s surface lies a hidden gem: the Hana lava tube caves. These stunning formations are a fun stop on the Road to Hana that we highly recommend you explore.
You may have only heard of the main “Hana Lava Tube.” However, there are actually three lava tube caves of varying sizes that you can see on your journey. Those are…
- Hana Lava Tube – The largest lava tube cave in Maui.
- Roadside Lava Tube Cave – Secret lava tube on the Road to Hana.
- Black Sand Beach Lava Tube – Found at Waianapanapa State Park.
In this post, we’ll take you on an adventure through the Hana lava tube caves, complete with mile markers to help you find your way and plenty of photos. Let’s dig in!
Guided Road to Hana Tours
See the Road to Hana (and lava tubes!) without focusing on the road. Guided tours are the perfect way to experience the Road to Hana with the help of a knowledgeable guide.
Learn More – Best Guided Road to Hana Tours
Hana Lava Tube
The “Hana Lava Tube” (also known as Ka’eleku Cave) is the main lava tube cave on the Road to Hana, and it’s the largest. They offer self-guided tours that take approximately 40 minutes to traverse the 1/3 mile section of the cave that is open to the public (the rest is off-limits).
Your entrance fee includes a high-powered flashlight for the exploration, and you’ll need it. It’s pitch black in the lava tube! One fun thing to do at the end of the lava tube is to turn off your flashlight. It’s so dark away from the entrance that you literally can’t see anything!
This lava tube was created nearly a thousand years ago when molten lava flowed from underground and formed a subterranean tunnel as it drained toward the ocean. Inside, visitors can discover unique features, including lava formations, insects, and historical remnants.
In addition to the captivating lava tube, the property also boasts a Red Ti Botanical Garden Maze, offering an entertaining activity for both adults and children. Visitors can unwind at the site’s picnic tables and enjoy the scenic surroundings before continuing on the Road to Hana.
Roadside Lava Tube Cave
Next up on our list is a roadside lava tube cave that you can access quite literally from the side of the road when driving the Road to Hana. It’s conveniently located, making it an ideal stop for those short on time or looking for a quick adventure, as this lava tube isn’t very long.
There aren’t any signs for this lava tube cave, so keep your eyes peeled as you approach mile marker 23. There’s a small turnout across from the entrance (pictured above) where you can park. Once parked, you’ll see a small hole in the wall across the road that you can enter.
In the cave, it’s a short hike to the exit that takes you to a small waterfall and stream flowing underneath a bridge to the right of the entrance. Given the short length of this lava tube, it’s not necessary to bring a flashlight, but it gets dark briefly, so a cellphone flashlight is handy.
While this is a relatively small lava tube compared to the Hana Lava Tube, we still found it to be an exciting stop on the Road to Hana. If you have time, we recommend checking it out.
- Directions – Roadside Lava Tube on Google Maps
Black Sand Beach Lava Tube
Last but not least on our list is a lava tube cave that you’ll find on the world-famous black sand beach located at Waianapanapa State Park. This is another short lava tube compared to the Hana Lava Tube, but it’s definitely worth seeing, considering where it’s located.
If you’re unfamiliar with Waianapanapa State Park, it’s a must-see stop on the Road to Hana, boasting lush greenery, a true black sand beach, hiking trails, sea arches, camping, and more. Due to its popularity, reservations are required (link below), so be sure to plan ahead.
To access the lava tube, head down to the black sand beach, the entrance is located on the right side when facing the ocean. Inside the cave, it’s a short walk to the end that meets the ocean with waves crashing into the opening. To exit the cave, head back the way you came.
Waianapanapa State Park is a gem on the Road to Hana and a stop we highly recommend if you have the time. The black sand beach is truly a beach created from volcanic activity (unlike other beaches that look black) and a sight you don’t want to miss.
- Learn More – Waianapanapa State Park Reservations
- Directions – Waianapanapa State Park on Google Maps
More About Hana’s Lava Tube Caves
Can You Take a Guided Lava Tube Tour?
There aren’t any companies that offer guided lava tube tours (though you can do self-guided). However, there are a number of great companies that offer guided tours of the Road to Hana. If you’re looking for a tour that includes lava tubes, it’s best to pick a private tour where you set the itinerary, as not all tours will visit a lava tube.
How Old Are Hana’s Lava Tubes?
The lava tubes in Hana are estimated to be hundreds of years old. These natural formations were created during past volcanic eruptions when molten lava flowed through the area. While it’s challenging to determine the precise age of each lava tube, as their formation can span a lengthy period, they are generally considered to be a few centuries old at the very least.
Are Hana’s Lava Tubes Safe?
Yes, the lava tubes in Hana are generally considered safe (and free of bats!). However, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution when out in nature. Watch for unstable areas, mind low ceilings, wear appropriate footwear, and stay on marked paths. Always respect the environment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while preserving these geological wonders.
Meet the Authors
Aloha! We’re Justin and Katie, the owners of Maui Hideaway. We’ve been visiting Hawaii together with our family for 20 years and would love to share the experience of the islands with you. Whether you’re looking for a place to stay or just some vacation advice, we’re here to help!
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