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“Unique opportunity” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI
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Visit Mauna Kea Summit like an insider
Small Group
$207*
and up
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure...
Ranked #1 of 112 things to do in Kailua-Kona
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: At 13,796 feet, this peak offers an incredible view of lava, desert, the valley and Mauna Loa.
Pleasanton, California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Unique opportunity”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

If you can go from 7:00 to 9:00 pm they have a free program. You will find a beautiful sunset and a good education. They have volunteers with $20,000 telescopes you can look through for free. The visitor information station is at 9,300 feet. Do nit go to the summit of 12,000 feet with children. My 8 year old had a bad head ache when we tried to hike the extra 200 feet to see the sunset.

Visited July 2014
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Alpharetta, GA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Worth the Drive”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

Our family of four (kids 14 & 12) swung in to Mauna Kea on the way back from Hawaii Volcano National Park to Kona - it was definitely worth the trip! Once you turn off Saddle Rd and make the drive to the Mauna Kea Visitor Center, the weather begins to change (it was around 5:45pm). It's like driving to Heaven, where you're driving above the cloud line! Made it in time for the Star Gazing program they have each evening. Watched the sun through their telescope, then hiked up one of the peaks to watch the sun set. We did not make it all the way to the observatories due to our kids age (altitude of 14,000+ ft., which they don't recommend for kids) but it was perfectly fine at the Visitor Center (>9,300+ ft.). We plan to go back again to stay for the stars at night (it was a bit cloudy that night and our kids were tired from hiking at the Volcanoes that day).

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Worth the trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

This is an easy drive on a full sized car. It was not as bad as I imagined. The views are breathtaking. We made it to the visitor center and after an hour or so the kids complained of queasy stomach and headaches because of the altitude, So we headed back down around 7 P.M, just before sunset. On the way down we went through thick clouds and it was surreal. We got some beautiful snaps of ghostly views as well as orange tinged clouds..
Note: 4WD is not required, we saw several small rental cars head to the summit. Tours are on the order of $200/person and I think it is not worth it. The guys at the visitor center are very knowledgeable and helpful. We asked lots of questions and they happily answered it all in detail.

Visited July 2014
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Ride of a lifetime”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

Amazing views from the top above the clouds. Drive up and down was a thrill! Just make sure your low gears are working before you head up for the ride back down. Let's just say we made it down ok!

Visited September 2013
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Armonk, New York
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Great experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

We had a great time going to the summit of Mauna Kea. Past the visitors center you have about 4 miles of a gravel road. Even though we had an all wheel drive, I was not concerned about not making it, I was concerned about getting a flat. The road has a lot of rocks and is very bumpy. I was so happy after the 4 miles that the last 2 miles were paved. I'm not sure I would try it if I did not have an all wheel drive. On the top it's an outer worldly experience. Being at almost 14,000 feet and seeing the giant telescopes, above the clouds and a landscape of volcanic craters really made us feel like you were on another planet. You definitely can feel the lower oxygen level here and the sunset was amazing. We stopped at the visitors center on the way down to view Saturn through the telescopes. So happy we were there

Visited July 2014
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