45 minute Hana/Crater Helicopter Flight

Aug 18, 2020 | Activity Information

Without question, the single most popular air tour we have on Maui is what is referred to as the Hana/Crater tour. This tour offers perhaps the very best ‘bang for your buck’ as you will be seeing some incredible rain forests and waterfalls as well as the magnificent Crater of Haleakala. If there were ever two points of interest that were the most important to see, these would be the two. The price difference between this 45 minute flight and the next level up at 60 minutes can be quite a healthy jump depending upon the carrier. This is not to suggest that the shorter flights are better than the others, they’re not. They are just omitting certain sections of the island and keeping the price down. If money is not an option, go for the longer flights. If you want to save some money and still see much of what the island has to offer, this is probably the right flight for you.

In almost all cases you will be leaving the Kahului Heliport and tackling the giant mountain of Haleakala first. Rising 10,000′ above sea level you will be traveling up through the ‘storied’ upcountry region of Maui. This is where you will find many agricultural areas of the island and see farms and pastures that will remind you of the European countryside. You will pass over the upcountry winery and a number of botanical gardens that you might want to come back to and visit.

Eventually you will rise above to the huge spectacle that is Haleakala Crater. At first glimpse you might think of it as a gigantic hole in the top of the mountain, but it is much more spectacular than that. This crater drops from 10,000′ above sea level, about 3000′ down to the floor of what is essentially a moonscape. The entire caldera is enormous as the circumference extends 21 miles in a giant circle. The spectacle is so colossal that it will take your breath away.

Soon you will descend through the Kaupo Gap on the crater’s south side down through the enormous valley on this side of the island. The small area of Kaupo is just a speck on the rural road that circumvents the island and as you descend through the various valleys to be found here you will be skirting razor sharp cliffs with almost straight up and down walls. If you are lucky you may also see some of the astounding mountain goat families along the cliffs as they jump surefooted from precipice to precipice with nary a caution to the dangerous implications of a slip and fall. On the top of the ridges you may see herds of wild boar as they go about the business of devouring the rural Maui area.

You will be passing over Kipahulu Valley which is one of the most remote places on the island. This jungle is so dense that it is almost impossible to walk through and it is so remote that it has species of flora and fauna that exist here and no where else on the planet, not even in the valleys on either side.

Moving forward you will get closer to the coast as you approach the small town and beautiful countryside of Hana. This rural community is a bastion of beauty and for the entire distance back to the heliport you will be traveling above the spectacular Hana Highway which is chiseled along the cliffs of an often 1000′ high escarpment. The cars below will look like little toys as you realize they are only riding along the periphery of the island while you are witnessing all of the incredible rain forest area behind them. You are seeing vast square miles of forests, waterfalls, streams, ponds and huge valleys and ridges that are not in any way visible to the people in their cars on the highway below.

Another ten minutes will find you at the windsurfing beach of Hookipa and with great luck, perhaps the mighty surf break of Jaws which provides, in many years, the largest waves on the planet. Unfortunately it only breaks perhaps 3 or 4 times a year.

Back at the heliport 45 minutes later your mind will be filled with all the glorious sites you have just seen, though it will take days for your brain to truly sort through all the wonderful things you just saw.