Hawaii Highways road photos -- Kahekili Highway

(Maui part 3 of 4 -- other Maui parts:
Hana Highway
· Piilani Highway · Other Maui)

Below are 14 photos of the scenic but notoriously narrow and twisty county-maintained section of the Kahekili Highway (county route 340) along Maui's northwest coast, between the changeover from state to county maintenance at mile 6.9, and where the highway ends at mile 16.3 to become the Honoapiilani Highway (state route 30).  (Most of the rest of the Kahekili Highway, southeast to Wailuku, is an unexceptional state highway, state route 340.) Unless otherwise noted, these photos were taken on my November 2001 visit to Maui.

It wasn't until sometime in the 1990s that this road was completely paved, and open to travel for rental cars (though some companies may still place it off-limits, so visitors should check their rental contracts). Even now, it remains a little-used "back door" into west Maui (for good reason, as shown below). Occasionally, it is pressed into service as an alternate access route to and from west Maui, whenever a serious accident blocks the other road into west Maui, the two-lane Honoapiilani Highway along the southwest coast (which happens several times a year) -- much to the distress of the residents of Kahakuloa village, who depend on the Kahekili Highway as their only access to the rest of Maui, and have a hard time getting in or out when the highway is tied up with diverted Honoapiilani Highway traffic. Some have suggested widening the Kahekili Highway to provide a better alternate route to and from west Maui. I'm not wild about that idea -- while I haven't studied the alternatives in depth, it seems to me it would probably be better to make the Honoapiilani Highway a four-lane divided highway so it is less vulnerable to accident closures (or at least build emergency bypasses on old cane haul roads, to detour traffic around accidents), than to spend a lot of money improving the Kahekili Highway.

NOTE: In case you want more detail, clicking most of the photos below will call up  enlarged, higher-quality (less .jpg compression) versions. Those alternate versions have larger file sizes, so please be patient while they download.

Warnings: As illustrated below, the county-maintained portion of the Kahekili Highway is narrow, twisty, and very slow (speed limits usually 15 mph or slower), with many one-lane stretches, and often with minimal reflectorization and guardrails. Driving at night, or in poor visibility, is not recommended for drivers unfamiliar with the road. Some rental car companies may prohibit driving their vehicles on this road. Also, the last ten miles of the Honoapiilani Highway (state route 30), west from the Kahekili Highway toward Kaanapali, are narrow and winding (though not quite as slow as county route 340).

Even in broad daylight, don't even think of using this route as a "shortcut" between the resorts in west Maui and the airport in Kahului. State route 30 via Maui's southwest coast will almost always be much faster and more comfortable, even if the mileage is substantially longer. Drive this route only if you have time to spare, for the scenery or to visit a destination along the highway such as Kahakuloa village.

Map of western Maui, with county route 340 highlighted:

Here is where state route 340 ends and county route 340 begins, at mile 6.9 near the turnoff for Maluhia Camp. The photo above left faces westbound, where the state highway ends (note the route 340 marker in the background, beyond the "end state highway" sign -- county routes in Hawaii don't always have route markers, but where they exist they usually are similar to state route markers). The photo above right faces in the opposite direction, as state maintenance resumes going eastbound.
Yikes! This photo, facing eastbound, best illustrates how scary this road can be -- narrow one lane road, no guardrails, little reflectorization, and a long way down into the gulch should you wander over the edge. (Some improvements have recently been made to the eastern end of the road, where a few new homes have sprung up, but while the reflectorization there is better, the road is still very narrow.)

Another view of a similar stretch, at mile 7.5 westbound: barely room for one car, no protection from going down the embankment, only two little reflectors and no pavement markings to guide you at night.  The pebbles in the middle of the road, falling off the cliffside to the left, are another common Kahekili Highway feature (the rocks on the road are bigger toward the west end of the highway).



Eastbound at mile 7.3, this car rounds one of the highway's many 5-mph one-lane blind curves.
Two bottlenecks on the road east of Kahakuloa village: at mile 11.6, with traffic heading westbound (above left), and mile 11.8, with traffic heading eastbound through the rock cut (above right).

Kahakuloa Head (Pu'u Koae) juts more than 600 feet out of the ocean, east of Kahakuloa village, and can be seen from several viewpoints on the highway west of the village. (October 1999)

Kahakuloa village, from a highway viewpoint above and to the west.
The highway's entrance to the village from the west, at mile 14.6.
Within the village, at mile 14.4 eastbound, is this very faded old route 34 shield, probably from the 1960s.
Another narrow stretch of the highway, at mile 15.4 approaching its western end.
The Kahekili Highway and the Honoapiilani Highway (state route 30) meet here at route 340 mile 16.5/route 30 mile 42.3 near Keawalua, at the knocked-over "begin state highway" sign westbound (above left) and its counterpart "end state highway" sign eastbound (above right).

Go to the previous or next parts of the Hawaii Highways road photos collection:

Link to go back to Piilani Highway (Maui part 2)
to Piillani Highway (Maui part 2)
Link to continue to Other Maui (Maui part 4)
to Other Maui (Maui part 4)
or directly to other parts:

Overview · Introduction · Interstate H-3 · Interstate H-1 · Other Freeways
Other Oahu South · Other Oahu West · Other Oahu East · Kuhio Highway
Other Kauai · Hana Highway · Lanai/Molokai · Kalawao County
Saddle Road · Observatories Roads · Lava Closures · Red Road
Waipio Valley · Other Big Island

or to other sections of the Hawaii Highways site:

Link to Hawaii Highways main page Link to Hawaii Highways, Maui route list

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© 1999-2003, 2006 Oscar Voss.