We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Improve this listing
Sponsored by:
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: Island of Hawaii, HI
Website
Visit Mauna Kea Observatories like an insider
Small Group
$207*
and up
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 34 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 28
    Excellent
  • 4
    Very good
  • 2
    Average
  • 0
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Unbelievable Experience

We arrived at 1 pm on Saturday to listen to the Park Rangers about the mountain then take the caravan with them up to the summit. We were prepared with a 4-wheel drive that the... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 3, 2015
jzk131
,
pass1421
Add Photo Write a Review

34 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Palm Springs, CA
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2015 NEW

We came up with a couple of Seniors, but left them at the Ranger station for the lecture while we went to the summit for sunset. I would put this visual experience with visiting the Grand Canyon. Both have to be experienced to really understand the epic scale of the view from the summit of Mauna Kea.

Was this review helpful? Yes
pass1421
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
21 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2015 NEW

We arrived at 1 pm on Saturday to listen to the Park Rangers about the mountain then take the caravan with them up to the summit. We were prepared with a 4-wheel drive that the car rental would allow you to take off road (Harpers) and an oxygen canister we purchased at Sports Auority. We also brought a picnic dinner... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Ferndale, California, United States
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
22 attraction reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2015

We went up during the day, so didn't get to go in any of the observatories. It was a long trek up the mountain but the view was awesome! Mauna Loa was visible at times, as was Maui. The signs state 4WD only, but I can see it was for liability. The road is a bit "washboardy," but I've certainly... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Austin, Texas
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
10 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2015

This is a must for the Big Island! Just know if you have kids 16 and under there are no tour companies that will take them. So plan accordingly and get a nanny/babysitter (Big Island Babysitters/Jackie is the owner). We met our tour guide at the center and we took us in a van with 6 others. (It's super risky... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Calgary, Alberta
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
4 attraction reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2014

Unique and amazing experience. We drove ourselves. You gotta get a true 4 wheel drive with locking differential. It's no joke. Ours was a Ford Ranger pickup, and while it fit the bill, it was not sufficient (back end too light maybe). On the dirt road after the visitor center, the back wheels kept slipping. It was a little scary... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Alaska
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2014

Pay the big bucks and rent the Jeep 4x4 and really use it! Best thing I've done in years on the islands is the FREE TOUR with a Park Ranger to the Observatory on top of Mauna Kea. It's nearly a full day and evening event. Pack your beach cooler and head up the Saddle Road in time to get... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 7
Apex, North Carolina
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
57 attraction reviews
58 helpful votes 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2014

We did this with a tour operator. Do not drive this yourself. It can be dangerous, the road is very steep and you can get dizzy when you get to 14,000 feet of elevation. Also, you will not have a telescope. The tour operators have them in their vans. We did sunset at the observatories and it is absolutely the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Hawaii
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

Awesome drive ,beautiful views. be sure to stop at ranger station and gift shop to get used to altitude.

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
15 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2014

This was hands down the highlight of my stay at Kona. We took our own car up (easy drive no matter what all the scary signs say). If you've ever driven the ski fields in NZ this is a walk in the park. One road up and one road down. Given the lack of oxygen in the air you do... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 10
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014

Family fun driving through the cloud and fog and narrow, rough roads at times. Will we make it! Vegetation changes and land becomes barren. Then suddenly you break through the cloud and are at the top of the mountain where the sky is clear and blue and you're surrounded by the huge observatories. Fresh, clean, cool air and amazing view.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3

Travelers who viewed Mauna Kea Observatories also viewed

Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 

Been to Mauna Kea Observatories? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of Mauna Kea Observatories and other visitors
2 questions
Ask a question
Questions? Get answers from Mauna Kea Observatories staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?