On a hill overlooking Hana, across from the Travaasa Hana resort, stands one of the rural town’s most visible landmarks, a large cross made of lava rock that was erected in the early 1960s in memory of Paul Irving Fagan, Sr.
Fagan was an important figure in the community who established cattle ranching in Hana with his 14,000-acre Hana Ranch and first put the tiny town on the map as a tourist destination when he opened the original Kauiki Inn, Hana’s first hotel, in 1946. Today, that hotel survives as Travaasa Hana, located across Hana Highway from the cross.
If you were curious, no, Fagan isn't actually buried here. A California native, the man himself is actually buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in San Mateo County, California.
The 20-minute uphill hike to the cross is on a paved path through pasture land owned by a land trust. Panoramic views of Maui’s eastern coastline from the top are breathtaking any time of day, but for a truly amazing, meditative experience, go early enough to watch the sun rise over Hana.
How to get there
Start about half an hour before sunrise (varies by time of year). You’ll want to bring walking/hiking shoes, water and a flashlight—and don’t forget your camera. Since the path goes through active pasture lands, there may be livestock droppings on the path, as well as cattle grates. Do watch where you step!
Park at the parking lot right across from the Travaasa Hana resort in Hana town. The walking path begins at a small wooden gate to the left of the parking lot. Please note that this is privately owned land, so proceed at your own risk and be respectful of the livestock. After a brisk walk up the winding path that climbs to a little over 500 feet in elevation, you'll reach the cross.
Don’t forget to set up your phone to capture the sunrise!
Settle in and prepare for the spectacle.
If there are clouds, you might get some amazing rays like this. Either way, it’s a beautiful experience.
From here, you can see the Hana coastline in the first light of dawn.
Don’t forget to take some photos with the cross before you leave.
Heading down just after the sun has risen is a treat. Take in the gorgeously lush landscape, the fresh-smelling air and sweet birdsongs as you walk back.
At this elevation, there are great ocean and countryside views.
From the path, you can see most of the town and Hana Bay.
Chances are, you'll encounter some curious cows on the way down, too. Hello, friends!
Here's the trailhead for Fagan’s Cross. Just look for the little gazebo across the street from Travaasa Hana with the paved path behind it, and you’ll know you're in the right place.
The best landmark to navigate you to the trailhead is Travaasa Hana, at 5031 Hana Highway, Hana, Maui.