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Mauna Kea

Island of Hawaii, HI
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Certificate of Excellence 2013
Type: Volcanos, Observatories/ Planetariums, Ski/ Snowboard Areas, Mountains
Activities: Skiing, Watching sunrise/sunset, Hiking
Traveler Description: Mauna Kea 28 miles (45.1 km) W of Hilo on Hawaii 200, then N on the access road to the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy (808) 961-2180... more »
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114 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Dacula, Georgia
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
28 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2014 NEW

The peak is snow-capped, and makes an interesting site in a place like Hawaii. A VERY steep road takes you from the Saddle Road (200) to the visitor center. From there, not only do you need 4WD, but warm clothes, and be prepared to handle the high altitude.

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Buffalo, NY
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
19 attraction reviews
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2014

The rating we are giving in this review reflects our experience going up Mauna Kea, not the actual Stargazing program itself. If you are lucky enough to have a clear night up top, I’m sure it is as spectacular as the other reviews say it is. The Stargazing program at the Visitor’s Center runs from 6 to 10PM. My husband... More

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Eldridge, Iowa
Top Contributor
99 reviews 99 reviews
43 attraction reviews
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2014 via mobile

This is an awesome experience if you can do it. I think you could drive it in a regular car, but I believe it is best to have a 4WD. There is a five mile stretch of road that is gravel and washboards. Take warm clothes along. It is cold up there. Take a camera and be prepared for one... More

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Seaville, New Jersey
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2014

The 2 days that we were on Saddle Road traveling from Kona to Hilo we had hoped to travel to the summit of Mauna Kea, but it was closed due to weather conditions. One day it was too windy at the top, and the other day they were expecting 9" of snow. We drove to the Visitor's Center in our... More

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Sydney Australia
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
19 attraction reviews
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 10, 2014

Takes nearly two hours from hilo. But you can four wheel drive it yourself. Be careful though. When you get up there sit in your car and watch the sun go down. It's beautiful. Highlight of hawaii so far!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
3 attraction reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

We are back in Puako after our second failed attempt this week at stargazing. The cloud coverage was thick and horrible and didn't allow for any stargazing whatsoever. Nobody's fault obviously but disappointing nonetheless. Apparently the winter months mean more clouds and less chance at seeing any stars which would have been good to know before the 2 hour return... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Bloomfield Township, Michigan
11 reviews 11 reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014 via mobile

We wasted time and money. Drive to the visitor center in your own car and save the $168 per person. The tour groups are a rip off. They will tell you that a light dinner is served. Our light dinner included vegetable lasagna in a tin container, and a brownie!!! No drinks were provided. You will be eating in the... More

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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

On the Mauna Kea You feel on top of the world or maybe... on another world! You need just a 4x4 car and a heavy jacket (even in summertime) is a very windy place. Sunset is so romantic (i add some pics), but you have to come down from the mountain quickly as the sun fell, there are no streetlights... More

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South Jordan, Utah
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

We went for a night of stargazing and arrived quicker than we thought. We did have long pants and multiple layers but it was still cold, the kids couldn't take it outside for very long. We meant to bring our beach towels to use as blankets, but forgot them. The visitors center does offer hot water, and sells packages of... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Honolulu, Hawaii
Top Contributor
150 reviews 150 reviews
129 attraction reviews
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013

We did not go to the summit due to the fact that we had a rental car AND we had a 4 year old child. They do not cover rentals to go past the visitor's center and the visitor's center doesn't recommend anyone under the age of 16 to go past the visitor's center. Having said that, people can get... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3

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