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.

“Cloudy Views, but Refreshing, Cool Winds” 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 34 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.
Concord, California
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Cloudy Views, but Refreshing, Cool Winds”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

I plan to return to Hawaii in hope of being there on a day when Mauna Kea is not enveloped in clouds.
It is hard to believe that this peak is so high, since it is low and sloping, not dramatically pointy like, say, Mount Rainer.
The area around the peak is surreal. Don't know that I recommend the complete drive to the top unless you are an observatory fan. Check out the times for site tours on their website.

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,427 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    1,141
    228
    41
    10
    7
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pleasanton, California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
15 helpful votes 15 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alpharetta, GA
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
20 helpful votes 20 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 16 cities Reviews in 16 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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
Kailua-Kona, 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.