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Fly Maui: Helicopter Rides Above Hawaii’s Valley Isle
Take a helicopter flight over Maui’s astounding natural wonders. Witness impressive volcanic mountains, sublime waterfalls, towering cliffs, and much more. Seated in a spacious EC 130 EcoStar helicopter, you’ll gaze through the wraparound glass cockpit, or extra-wide cabin windows, exploring the rainforest of the east or the remote and rugged landscapes of the west. The lunar-like craters and picturesque coastlines will leave you breathless.
Understanding Maui’s Geography
Also known as the “Valley Isle,” Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s made up of two shield volcanoes joined together by a valley. These two distinct regions are known as Western Maui Mountain and, to the east, Haleakala. Thanks to a combination of topography, climate, and the iron-rich lava flows that formed the regions, Maui’s current landscape is among the most distinct and diverse on the planet.
Fly East: Haleakala
On the eastern end of the island lies Haleakala. Known as House of the Sun, this volcano comprises more than 75% of the island of Maui. It is the younger and larger of the two volcanoes with a peak that rises more than 10,000 feet above sea level. Travelers fly above its mighty summit to witness indescribable sunrises and sunsets. According to legend, demigod Maui captured the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing it down to lengthen the days.
Haleakala National Park
Covering an area of more than 30,000 acres, Haleakala National Park is heralded as a rare and sacred landscape. From the summit of Haleakala to the black volcanic sands of the Kipahulu District, this rich tapestry of biodiversity is home to endangered species, sub-tropical rainforests, and the largest dormant volcano on the island.
Resting deep within Haleakala’s 10,000-foot summit lies a whole other world. Spanning about seven miles long and 2,600 feet deep, the expansive crater features huge cinder rocks and massive sculpted ridges resembling a lunar landscape. This sacred summit was once described by Mark Twain as the most sublime spectacle he’d ever witnessed. Barren yet uncompromisingly beautiful, it’s all the more enthralling when seen from high above the clouds.
Hana Village and Rainforest
Resting along the eastern shore of Maui is Hana Village. This remote town is considered one of the last unchanged Hawaiian frontiers. The roads leading to this paradise feature flourishing rainforests, dramatic seascapes, and cascading waterfalls. While beautiful beyond belief, the route is also one of the most dangerous in the country. It features hundreds of narrow turns and dozens of single-lane bridges (how much of the landscape can travelers really appreciate when they’re constantly focusing on their own safety?).
From a helicopter, you can appreciate the scenery without the stress! Picturesque, pristine, and wild, this isn’t your typical resort town. Hana’s year-round hot and wet climate gives way to vibrant rainforests overflowing with tropical flora and biodiversity. Sprawling bamboo, exotic wildlife, tall cascading waterfalls, and the island’s rich verdant hues create a plant lover’s paradise. The isolated village is a rare part of Hawaii that’s retained its true character and cultural traditions.
Fly West: West Maui Mountains
A flight through the West unveils a dramatically different side of the Maui landscape. Miles of untouched coastline and sacred lands open up to you in astonishing abundance. You’ll see pristine coastlines that curve world-famous cliffs and flowing waterfalls. The West Maui Mountains are older than Haleakala; therefore, they're more worn, weathered, and lush. Most of the remote areas of the west are visible and accessible only by helicopter.
Iao Valley State Park
Descend upon Iao Valley State Park and witness one of Maui’s most beautiful tropical forests. Here, tall emerald peaks and lush valley greenery make up this peaceful 4,000-acre park. One of its most recognizable landmarks is the 1,200-foot Lao Needle, an iconic rock outcropping formed by surrounding erosional forces. Rich in cultural and spiritual heritage, this valley is also the site of the historic battle of Kepaniwai where the forces of Kamehameha I conquered the Maui army in 1790, ultimately changing the course of Hawaiian history.
West of the Mountains: Molokai
Known as the “Friendly Isle,” Molokai is Hawaii’s fifth largest island. Although situated only 15 miles off the coast of Maui, its remote and tranquil atmosphere makes it seem worlds away. Compared to the rest of the island, Molokai’s tourist sector is less developed and thus retains much of its cultural heritage and Hawaiian traditions. Rather than skyscraper hotels and resorts, Molokai’s sights include beautiful vistas of green canyons, breathtaking waterfalls, unique water formations, and some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world.
From high above the clouds, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of Molokai’s coastlines. They span about 100 miles and comprise the state’s longest stretch of coral reefs. Here, soaring jagged cliffs give way to vast, secluded beaches and ancient fish ponds. The glistening boundaries where the ocean meets the mountains is a humbling sight to behold.
Thanks to the presence of its massive cliffs and consistent rainfall, Molokai is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Among them is Kahiwa Falls, located on the remote northern shore. The stunning six-tiered marvel stretches 2,000 feet from the Pacific to the clouds—the highest drop stands at a sweeping 600 feet!
On the northern coast lies an incredible rock formation best viewed from high above the sea. Though officially known as Moku Ho’oniki, Elephant Rock is an aptly named islet that resembles the trunk, tail, and body of an elephant.
Fly over the great reef system of the south shore and discover the historic Hawaiian fishponds, an ancient engineering innovation dating back to the early 13th century. Witness the multitude of shimmering crystal ponds lining the southern coast. Made from lava boulders, corals, and stone, this agricultural tradition was once a sustainable source of fish supply for royalty.
Maui Helicopter Flights from East to West!
Given Maui’s wide spectrum of striking land and seascapes, you might want to experience the island’s notable features in their entirety. Luckily, there are tours that take you all the way from east to west with flight times ranging from 60 to 70 minutes.
When to Book Your Maui Helicopter Flight
Maui’s rainy season takes place between November and March. June and July bring sun and warm air. Of course, when it comes it this diverse island, geography, more so than the seasons, determines weather patterns. The volcanic topography creates a rather wet east side of the island. The West Maui Mountains, by contrast, contribute to dyer, warmer air year-round.
And regardless of the time of the year you travel, consider reserving your Maui helicopter ride at least a month or two in advance. These aerial tours sell out quickly. If you want to secure an adventure for you and your fam, now’s the time to book!
Your Maui Helicopter Flight: The Only Way to See it All!
While Maui is a without question a dream destination (it’s often named the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian Islands), the extent of its sprawling scenery often eludes travelers. Beyond the renowned sun, sand, and surf lies a range of spellbinding vistas rich in history and rooted in myth—lands that remain sacred and revered to this day. The grandeur of the scenery is what makes a Maui helicopter ride so worth it. These tours allow visitors to absorb it all from the heavens. High above the island’s glowing volcanoes, adventurers witness the true wealth of Maui’s sights and experiences.