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Maunakea Visitor Information Station

Mauna Kea Access Road, 6 miles uphill from the intersection of Route 200, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
+1 808-961-2180
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour
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  • Excellent64%
  • Very good25%
  • Average9%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“star gazing” (147 reviews)
“night sky” (100 reviews)
“mauna kea” (183 reviews)
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Hours Today: 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Mauna Kea Access Road, 6 miles uphill from the intersection of Route 200, Hilo, Island of Hawaii, HI 96720
+1 808-961-2180
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1 - 10 of 1,268 reviews

Reviewed yesterday

A very worthwhile experience if you get a clear day. Rent your own 4WD and drive up yourself. It is not a bad drive and the road is extremely well maintained.

Thank HawaiiPhil2014
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

We did not choose to go to the top. We read the reviews and decided to drive to the center. It is important to note that it does not open until noon. Clean restroom, ok view in the daytime.

Thank tedact
Reviewed 1 week ago

We went up to the Visitor Center recently to take part in one of the free Stargazing nights (Tues/Wed/Fri/Sat at 6PM). We thought we came prepared with coats and layers, but it was MUCH colder than we had ever expected, so a word of advice...More

Thank kristenb731
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

It's only been a couple of years since we were there last, but the number of visitors has exploded beyond the capacity of this nice, but rather small visitor center. This is the way point to help acclimate to the altitude on your way to...More

Thank DragonLady13
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Stop here to acclimate to the altitude and watch a 37-minute video about the history, science, and cultural/ religious aspects of the mountain. The video is in 4 parts so you can jump in at any time. Be sure to check concerning the weather conditions...More

1  Thank Robert C
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I dropped my son off here for his hike to the top of Mauna Kea. On my return the visitor center was open so I watched the video (about 35 minutes) that explains why Mauna Kea is a great place for viewing the night sky...More

Thank Sue G
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This is worth the drive up. Get there early, parking filled up by 6. It was very crowded and the folks leading the stargazing did an excellent job working with the crowd and making sure everyone got a chance to look through the telescopes. I...More

1  Thank ROSPOW
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This will be a fascinating place for people interested in astronomy and amazing landscapes. Notice they call it an Information ‘Station’. This is not a science centre or visitor’s centre. It has a book/gift store, informative looping videos, telescopes for public use and it acts...More

1  Thank Jim L
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Imagine how tough it must be to have a government visitor center at the edge of the world, and face constant budget cuts. Still, they do a nice job in providing an interesting film, friendly staff, and a telescope to observe the sun!

2  Thank RGRCNwFl
Reviewed December 13, 2017

I had read reviews that we should arrive early, so we got there at 4:30. That was probably a bit too early, but it took a while to adjust to the higher altitude, so I was glad that we did. Some of our group went...More

4  Thank vamotherof4
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Questions & Answers
d h
I’m planning on going to Hawaii in December 2017. Is going to the Visitor Information Station (VIS) worth it, without visiting the summit? Does it matter for the VIS if you’re there during the day only, or if is it better if you’re there at dark? (I’m not bringing my own telescope). Is it regular practice to ignore the rental contract and just drive to the summit if you know how to drive mountain roads (weather permitting)? Basically, I don’t want to take the time to drive up the mountain road and only look at a kiosk. If the VIS is just a kiosk, with no view, I’d rather go the summit. If I can’t do that, I’d just skip it altogether, I have mountain views at home :) As background, I’m from Colorado and drive in the mountains frequently. I have no qualms about driving 2WD vehicles on gravel, steep, narrow roads - in good conditions. I really understand that wet, snowy or icy conditions (and night) changes things dramatically, as does roads with crazy steep inclines, large boulders, and bad weather, will make any trip high-clearance 4WD vehicle worthy.
December 7, 2017|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from WonderingWhimsy | Reviewed this property |
The Visitor Information Station and watching the sunset was the best thing I did on the Big Island.
Cee G
October 26, 2017|
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Response from Beth C | Reviewed this property |
I agree with Brad W. However, I wouldn't count on anyone bringing their personal telescope and would bring your own.
August 30, 2017|
AnswerShow all 15 answers
Response from wgregbraun | Reviewed this property |
If you are going to the visitor center any decent rental car will make it there...you need a four well drive to onward to the summit Bring warm clothes and arrive a half hour before sunset so you can enjoy that...there is... More