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January 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM
The road to the isolated, undeveloped east tip of the Hawaiian island of Molokai is one of the most gorgeous roads I’ve ever driven. And, for a paved road, its last eight miles are the narrowest and most twisting I’ve driven.
The road hangs off steep cliffs above the ocean, squeezes around dozens of blind hairpin curves and is just one lane wide, with wider spots every so often for passing. It makes Maui’s twisting road to Hana seem like a freeway, although that route is far longer.
The Molokai road is very fun to drive in a challenging way (although not for anyone who gets car sick). Thankfully, there’s little traffic; on my afternoon drive I met only one other car.
Even if the road conditions didn’t make you drive really slowly, the views would. Waves churn over dark rocks. Maui rises majestically across a sparkling channel. And the road ends in the idyllic Halawa valley, a half-mile wide valley with almost sheer sides and a waterfall tumbling down hundreds of feet. A tiny wood-frame church and a few simple houses are tucked among the lush greenery near a crescent of sandy beach.
Wade across a shallow stream to the beach. Sit, wade (it’s often too rough for much swimming), soak up the beauty. Then enjoy the lovely and winding drive home.
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