Movie buffs and nature lovers will both get a thrill during a helicopter tour to Olokele Canyon on Kaua`i. The pristine canyon, which is often decorated with rainbows and always by contrasting bright red dirt and vibrant green foliage, has been kept off limits by the owner for decades until recently. The canyon is adjacent to the larger Waimea Canyon and has had its 15-minutes of fame after serving as a filming location for many scenes of Jurassic Park.
High above the canyon — Photo courtesy of Safari Helicopters
Owned by Keith Robinson, who also owns the forbidden island of Ni'ihau with his brother Bruce, the valley was only opened to helicopter tours in 2007. Robinson often guides the tour himself, which includes landing on a pad overlooking the canyon (much of which is home to endangered native flora) with Safari helicopters. From there, the eco-tour gives guests the opportunity to look at critically endangered plants such as the palm Pritchardia aylmer-robinsonii (named after Keith’s uncle) and the native Hawaiian cotton, Gossypium tomentosum, among others.
Although the groups don’t descend into the canyon, what they do see leaves everyone more than satisfied, and with insight into a rarely seen part of Kaua'i.