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Mauna Kea Observatory

Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, 9,200 foot level of Mauna Kea, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
808-961-2180
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Ranked #1 of 39 Attractions in Hilo
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Type: Observatories/ Planetariums
51 visitor photos
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278 reviews from our community

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3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2014 NEW

I highly recommend doing the guided tour to the top of Mauna Kea's observatory! The trip I did involved hiring a 4WD and meeting at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center, where we spent about an hour acclimatising to the higher altitude. If you do this tour, you need to come in a 4WD, as they will NOT take you... More

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Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2014

My wife and I drove up to the top of Mauna Kea in February 2013. We were told we needed a 4WD vehicle to drive to the top. Staff at the visitors center said the road conditions are rough and narrow. The road conditions were fine (even better than the roads we drive on at home). We only had a... More

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Kentucky
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
17 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2014

We only had one evening available to go here, and I am glad we had a four wheel drive vehicle because it was cloudy at the visitor center and there were no telescopes. We made the climb to the top, which I found quite rough and scary, but the view at sunset was great. The drive back down in the... More

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Doha, Qatar
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2014

It's a must see on Big Island. You really do feel closer to heavens up there. It's just a pity one cannot view the stars from the top of the mountain. Dress warmly.

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Seattle, WA
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
16 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2014

My husband is an amateur skygazer, and so this was a must-see stop. This is a beautiful place to go no matter what level of interest you have in astronomy. You are up SO high in the mountain that you have a crystal clear view of the stars at night. The volunteers have set up several telescopes so you can... More

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Syracuse , NY
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2014

At least my 4th trip up to the summit , so am used to the drive up but then again , there's nothing run-of-the-mill about this Big Island adventure . Sunset is pretty much the focus here but any time is fine . 4wd is not really necessary (done it 3 out of 4 times with 2wd) but paying attention... More

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Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
5 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

We were discouraged from driving to the top because car didn't have 4wd. However, we saw so many cars going to top so we tried it. Well worth it! The road is gravel except for the last few switchbacks at the top. The view was stunning at sunset. Being above clouds and watching the sunset was amazing. Bring a jacket... More

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san antonio
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
36 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

We didn't go all the way to the top, but went to the visitor's center at 9200 ft. Even there, you could see more stars than just about anywhere! It was definitely worth the trip. There are several telescopes set up, with knowledgeable volunteers pointing them at all sorts of interesting features in the night sky.

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Shelton, Washington
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

Loaded the jeep's tank with gas at the Costco in Kailua-Kona and headed up to the Mauna Kea Observatory arriving just before sunset. The sunset is surreal because the air is so thin at 13,796 ft (approximately 4,205 meters). We couldn't get into the research observatories, but several amateur astronomers had their telescopes set up around the parking lot. Since... More

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Walla Walla, Washington
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

We had a 2-wheel drive Ford SUV and made it to the observatory ok but we had to roll down the windows and turn the heat on full blast to keep the poor thing from overheating. We made it just in time for sunset, AMAZING!

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