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Oahu Helicopter Tour, Part 2

This is the second set of photos from a doors off helicopter tour on Oahu.

A helicopter tour is the only legal way to see Sacred Falls.

You fly up to the North Shore where on some days, the waves are enormous.

Photos from a helicopter tour over Oahu, Hawaii.

And they you fly over the farmlands in Central Oahu.

You can see the photos from the first part of the tour in this post: Doors Off Helicopter Tour Over Oahu.

In this post you’ll see photos of the northeast section of Oahu (a favorite part of the island for many hikers), a bit of the North Shore and Central Oahu. I really enjoyed all the views of the Koolaus as well. It was fun spotting and making a mental checklist of all the summits I’ve hiked up to as we flew past them. I think a doors off helicopter tour would make a nice gift for any hiker on Oahu.

At the end of part 1, we were flying over Kaneohe. Here’s the view of the Koolau Mountains that serve as a prehistoric looking backdrop for this windward town.

The H3 cuts through the mountains here. If you’ve ever hiked the Haiku Stairs, you’ll recognize the little spec at the top of the mountain. That’s the old radio tower and dish.

Kaneohe feels like a regular suburb as you drive through it. Until you look at the mountains that is. That’s when you’re reminded you’re in Hawaii surrounded by some very wild scenery.

Looking out to the ocean you can see the Kaneohe Sandbar.

The windward ridges of the Koolaus are steep and jagged here.

Waimalu (left) and Waiau. I walked this ridge once (see: Waiau Ridge to Waimalu Middle Ridge).

One crazy ridge.

Chinaman’s Hat.

These peaks surround Kaaawa Valley and Kahana Valley. Some of the nicest hiking available on Oahu lies in this area.

You fly right up to Pu’u Ohulehule.

This, I believe is the southeast ridge of Pu’u Ohulehule. You can read about this hike on Island Trails: Ohulehule Southeast April 16, 2011.

Being on a helicopter affords you some close up views of the Ohulehule summit.

Kualoa Ridge that towers over Kualoa Ranch.

Kaaawa Valley. Where all the TV and movies scenes are shot.

And then the helicopter take you here. This crazy valley near Hauula.

This gulch is home to Sacred Falls. The gulch is notoriously narrow.

Sacred Falls is actually the lowest drop of this waterfall. It’s the 90 foot waterfall you would see if you hiked into this gulch. (Note: it’s currently illegal to hike into this gulch. There’s a guard that patrols the area and you can get ticketed.) But there are several taller falls above Sacred Falls. The tallest drop being 500 feet.

From the air you can see how twisted the stream bed is.

The stream flows out towards Hauula.

And now the helicopter takes you off toward Laie.

When you can see this much white wash on the North Shore, that means the waves are huge. 20 to 30 foot faces.

You don’t stay up on the North Shore too long. Right around Sunset Beach, the helicopter starts making its way down through central Oahu.

As you head south, you can see a nice view of the waves hitting Turtle Bay.

You pass over the wind farms in Kahuku.

You can see how huge each wind turbine is if you compare it to the crane parked next to it.

I believe these are pastures for cattle.

And I believe these are cows or horses.

Kamehameha Hwy runs straight through the middle of Oahu here. You can see Diamond Head way off in the distance to the left. The Koolau Mountains are on the left. The Waianae Range is on the right.

Dole Plantation.

The famous maze at the plantation.

Whitmore Village and Wahiawa.

Lake Wilson.

I didn’t even know Lake Wilson existed until this helicopter tour.


More farmland.

The orange dots are pumpkins.

And now it’s time to fly over Pearl Harbor.

That big white ball is a floating rader ship.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial.

Ports at Pearl Harbor.

You make your return to the hanger by flying over Honolulu International Airport.

This view reminds me of Robotech.

I’ve never seen the airport from this angle.

The helicopter hangers look like LEGO sets.

Now the helicopter turns around to head back to the hanger.

You fly over the road just a few feet off the ground.

When you land Jim comes out to greet you.

You exit the helicopter with your face all tingly from the wind.

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This story was last modified on February 22, 2016. (Originally published in November 2012.)

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