My husband's bucket list included driving to the top of Mauna Kea and so it's the first thing we did after arriving on The Big Island. They advise you to use a 4 wheel drive vehicle and they are right. We drove a 4 cylinder car with front wheel drive and it took everything that car had to make the trip. We stopped at the 9,000 ft. mark to hang out at the station before heading to the top - they tell you to stay there for at least 30 minutes to acclimate your body. Regardless, I still felt light headed at the top. The observatory at the top offers a full presentation so you understand the significance of the mountain and how it is utilized. I'm not a fan of heights, so I was relieved when we started back down!