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.

“Fantastic Day!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI
Website
Improve this listing
Book ahead on Viator
Small Group
$207*
and up
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure...
Ranked #1 of 35 Attractions in Kailua-Kona
Type: Mountains, Outdoors
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: At 13,796 feet, this peak offers an incredible view of lava, desert, the valley and Mauna Loa.
Centennial, Colorado, United States
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Fantastic Day!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

My husband and I picked the Mauna Kea Summit tour to complement our week of scuba diving, volcano viewing, coffee tasting and sight seeing. We picked Mauna Kea after comparing on-line reviews and we were extremely pleased with the entire tour starting with the drive to the top of the mountain where we were provided an informative and interesting history and geology of the island. We were provided a delicious dinner at the visitors center and then proceeded to the top of the mountain to get a history of the observatories and watch the most amazing sunset - overlooking clouds and a mountain peak. Next we were lead to a private viewing of the stars with amazing telescopes and interesting descriptions by the guides. The guides (Mische and Chris) were very knowledgeable about the stars too! It was amazing to see all the stars unaided by the telescopes at this high altitude. But the telescopes provided us a view of the universe you just don't see. The tour was a highlight of our trip and an event we will not forget.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,461 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    1,172
    230
    42
    10
    7
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Salem, Ohio
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
59 helpful votes 59 helpful votes
“Wow what a view!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

We didn't want to leave the Big Island without visiting the Summit. We took a tour up, better than driving yourself ( if you do make sure you have 4 wheel drive) I would reccomend going with a tour. It was so beautiful! We got some outstanding pictures once we made it to the very top (13,000 feet). The sunset was so breathtaking from the view so high! Dress very very warm! Its about 30 degrees up there and feels even colder. Put lots of layers on. The air is very thin so make sure you take your time walking around up there. You may get out of breath quite easily. Star gazing was also incredible. They have a small gift shop at the visitors center . Some really neat things to look at there. You might want to bring a flash light if you go at night. Enjoy! You should go!!!

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Amazing!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

The summit is spectacular and worth any challenges you may face getting there. Tour groups are incredibly expensive and I suggest doing it on your own. Rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle and get to the top yourself. I've seen plenty of 2-wheel drive cars make it up, but I wouldn't do it. Make sure you leave plenty early to make it to the top at least 30 minutes before sunset so you see the sunset in its entirety and you'll want to allow 30 minutes at the visitor's center to acclimate. We use the time at the visitor's center to suit up into our snow stuff as it can be very cold and windy both at the visitor's center and at the summit. Do not skip this simple step since altitude sickness will probably ruin your adventure. The road after the center is very rough, but you'll forget it all when you see the view from the top!

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ojai, California
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Unbelievable Stars and Sunsets”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2012

You don't need to book a tour. Drive up to the visitor center park on the shoulder (back in to make it easy to get out in the dark). Hike to the top of the hill across from the visitor center for great sunset views (it takes a little longer than you'd think at the altitude). Wait for the visitor center to bring out the telescopes to get the chance to see planets, the moon, nebulas, and a free sky tour. We always pack a dinner to eat in the car after sunset while we wait for the stars to come out (there are also astronomy movies inside). Bring your own hot chocolate as there are free cups and hot water or buy packets up there. If you have 4x4 head up to the lake. A longer hike but incredibly silent sunsets! It is a sacred place of Ancient Hawaiians please respect it.

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
day, calif.
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“worth the trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

The smoking brakes on rental cars at the visitor center tell the truth. don't do it if you are not used to backcountry driving. But if you take it slow, most cars can do the road if there's clear weather. Don't go up if the weather is even looking like it might get bad.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Mauna Kea Summit also viewed

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
 
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii
 

Been to Mauna Kea Summit? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Mauna Kea Summit, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.