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“Not a fan at all” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI
8084640840
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Small Group
$207*
and up
Best Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group...
Ranked #1 of 107 things to do in Kailua-Kona
Certificate of Excellence
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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.
Virginia Beach, VA
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Not a fan at all”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014

Way too many people crammed into a very small building and outdoor "patio". It was shoulder to shoulder. The facility just isn't suited for THAT many people. I eventually used the men's restroom b/c the line for the women's was way too long and I would have missed the bus. We never saw the sunset for the clouds which was ok b/c we would see the stars back at the base right? wrong. It was so cloudy we didn't even stop to look through the telescopes we only stopped to wait in another bathroom line. The following night was cancelled due to the clouds which in my opinion is a much better option than going and wasting an entire evening. They should have cancelled our trip too. Basically we paid almost 200 bucks a person for a van ride with strangers up a lava mountain.

Visited July 2014
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Westport, Connecticut
Level Contributor
37 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Window on the universe”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Dress warm and do it. Go at night for the stargazing at the visitors center. When you have a look through the telescopes go to the far end of the silversword garden to get away from the people and the lights and take it all in. Its amazing!

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, AB
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Like a dream come true!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2014

Stargazing on Mauna Kea has been a childhood dream of mine for a long time. I am an avid astronomy nerd so this was a huge deal for me. It was everything I had hoped. We planned our trip up 3 hours before the moon rise that day. The view of the cosmos was amazing. What I didn't expect was how many people were up there!

I loved how they setup huge telescopes for people to look at certain objects. Saturn was the hot chick that night and she was a show off. They also pointed their telescopes at the ring nebula, some start clusters, some galaxies and some of the oldest stars in our galaxy as well. I took the time to get some great photos of the milky way and the super massive blackhole that is at the center of our galaxy.

Visited July 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangor, Maine
Level Contributor
128 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“AWESOME”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

The drive up is amazing. It requires 4x4 as the trip DOWN is steep and the low gear has to be LOW gear. We drove up with a Jeep and had no issues....I took it slow as instructed, both up and down. There are no guardrails to speak of...a few here and there...the road starts tar, then immediately turns to dirt and starts to climb. Do not worry if there are low clouds, you drive above them....no worries. The accent takes a little while and if you go slowly as instructed, you accumulate to the altitude as you go. Same with down. GO SLOWLY.
The only thing I wish was some type of visitor center at the top. where are you allowed to go, where are you not? How about a tour of one of the telescopes? THAT would be AWESOME. How about offering Observatory BUS rides up...so everyone can go? Charge $10 for the ride up...and a professional drive. Anyway, the trip up was worth it. Remember it's the trip up more than what is up there...as once you arrive there are a LOT of HUGE buildings...a site on it's own. But that is IT....nothing to enter...nothing to see except the view....and even with the clouds below us, the view was spectacular. The ride down MUST be taken slowly....low gear in 4x4 low. 15-20 mph. Why hurry? You could end up sick due to altitude change and it is a dirt, gravel road that makes hairpin turns with no guardrails. NO ONE UNDER 16 IS ALLOWED to the summit!!! So those who brought young children didn't stop at the visitor center. Altitude sickness is real.

Visited July 2014
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Concord, California
Level Contributor
146 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 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
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