Though many other guidebooks acknowledge Pua’u Ka’a State Wayside as simply a good place to stop and use the restroom, this little park makes for a great halfway stopping point on the 64-mile Road to Hana.
This 5-acre swath of jungle does, admittedly, have some of the best public restroom facilities you’ll find along the road, and there are several picnic tables and a nice paved trail to several small waterfalls. Though you might be tempted to take the small dirt trail up to the larger upper falls, we’d have to side with the other guidebooks here and discourage it. After rainfall, the trail can be very muddy, and crossing a skinny viaduct up the trail can quickly turn treacherous. That’s not to mention there are many viaducts in the area, making wayfinding relatively difficult. The energy needed to access these upper falls is not worth the effort since larger, grander falls are easily accessible along the Road to Hana.
If you decide to stick around and have a picnic at Pua’u Ka’a State Wayside, keep an eye out for the invasive mongoose. Seriously. These creatures are an unexpected presence to a picnic, and they are known for taking advantage of food left unattended. These critters were first introduced to the island to help get rid of the stowaway rats that made their way to Maui aboard sailor's ships. In a true par for the course, they effectively eradicated just about every ground-dwelling bird and rat and couldn’t be bothered with the tree-dwelling rats. Figures.