East Maui is dominated by the 10,000' volcano, Haleakala, the "House of the Sun." It is the younger of the two volcanoes that make up Maui and is considered dormant rather than extinct because it last erupted about 1790. The upper elevations are classic volcanic landscape, with the awesome moonscape of Haleakala Crater on the summit. While the southern slopes are arid, the eastern and northern sides are wet tropical rainforests. This is where you'll find the deep, remote valleys carpeted in lush vegetation and hundreds of spectacular waterfalls. On the eastern tip of Maui is Hana town, a popular destination for those who dare to drive the Hana Highway, which winds its way along the north shore. The north shore is a spectacular coastline with impenetrable rainforests, rugged sea cliffs, isolated beaches and even more waterfalls.
The West Maui Mountains are the older of the two volcanoes that make up Maui. What you see today are the heavily eroded remnants of what was a much larger volcano at one time. Millions of years of water erosion have carved the mountain down into a series of deep valleys and knife-edged ridges that circle around the entire west side. It is these deep valleys of the West Mauis that give Maui the nickname, The Valley Isle. The cloud shrouded summit receives nearly 500 inches of rain annually, resulting in hundreds of waterfalls that plummet down the vertical ridges and into rushing streams at the bottom of the deep valleys. Accessible only by helicopter, the remote uninhabited interior is one of the most stunning landscapes anywhere on Earth.
Molokai lies only 9 miles across the Pailolo channel from Maui but is a very different island and culture. With a small population of about 7000 and a quiet relaxed pace, it is one of the best kept secrets in Hawaii. For helicopter touring, the focus is on the remote northeastern coast. Vertical sea cliffs - considered to be the tallest in the world - rise thousands of feet above isolated beaches, with inaccessible valleys penetrating deep into the old volcanic mountain. When it has been raining heavily, hundreds of waterfalls cascade down the sea cliffs and valley walls. And all this coastline is completely isolated - no roads, no trails, totally inaccessible except by helicopter. Most people who live on Molokai have never seen this remote landscape.