Mauna Kea State Recreation Area

Mauna Kea State Recreation Area

Mauna Kea State Recreation Area
4.5

Top ways to experience Mauna Kea State Recreation Area and nearby attractions

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles134 reviews
Excellent
82
Very good
32
Average
15
Poor
1
Terrible
4

Rookster13
Lake Wylie, SC26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
Drove up to the Visitor Center. Nice little shop with snacks and various souvenirs. Clean restrooms and if after hours they did have port a potty's. We did not have a 4 wheel drive to go beyond the visitors center so we hiked a few hundred feet up the hill. It is cold, so remember to bring warm clothing if you plan to get out and walk around/hike.
Written June 25, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hawaii96815
Honolulu, HI94 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2013 • Couples
The road up to the peak is a challenging drive both going up & back down. The road is paved most of the way up. Stop at the Onizuka Astronomy Center at the 9000 foot level. The center is named after Ellison Onizuka, Hawaii's first astronaut. He perished in the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster. There is a kind of space museum & gift shop there with many interesting exhibits & presentations.. After dark you can see amateur astronomers gazing into the heavens with their telescopes. Most are happy to let you take a look at whatever objects are visible that evening. Continuing on up to the 14,000 foot summit, the road eventually turns to dirt & your car will be struggling to breathe. You will feel the loss of horsepower as the air gets thinner. Some maps will tell you that 4 wheel drive is required or highly recommended. This is simply unnecessary. The maps say this to pacify the insurance companies. The fact is that the return trip downhill is hard on any vehicle's brakes, whether 2 or 4 wheel drive. Go slow back down & use your lower gears. Avoid pumping the brakes, rather, apply steady, even pressure on the brake pedal. At the top of Mauna Kea you will be above the clouds. Sunsets are stunning up there & the star gazing is amazing. Look for the Southern Cross dancing on the southern horizon during March/April. Take warm clothing, especially during winter months. There is often snow on the ground at that time. If you encounter "snowfall" on the way up, you may seriously want to consider turning around unless you do have 4 wheel drive. Note, the observatories at the summit are NOT open the public. Also, some people are subject to altitude sickness. If anyone in your group complains they feel sick, you must take them back down the hill right away, at least back down to the Onizuka Center. From the summit, you can pick up far away AM radio signals on your car radio at night. I spent the night up there one time. I left my motor running so the car's heater would work. If you do this, I recommend that you point your car directly into the wind so that the exhaust fumes are blown away behind you. You will receive many radio broadcasts from California, & from as far away as Boise, ID, Denver, CO, Des Moines, IA & New Orleans, LA, among others. This only works at night, & on the AM dial. On the FM dial, you will receive stations throughout the state of Hawaii 24 hours a day. One note about the Saddle Road... Be alert for thick fog, which you may encounter at any time. The road is accident prone. Slow down, drive with aloha & have fun...
Written May 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

shilowalters
Dayton, OR16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2017 • Couples
We were stopped from going to the summit due to the alloted amount of vehicles already there. We parked and walked the all up hill trail to the top of a butte and watched the sunset. Stay a bit longer until the stars are made their appearance, it was just as amazing!
Written March 21, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mariano Y
Chicago, IL149 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Couples
AA, the sharp pointed kind of old lava flow.... and pahoyhoy, the ropy, smooth, walkable portions of old lava flow. Plus, seeing steam come off the point where lava flows into the sea. Fantastic.
Written March 9, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chris K
Saint Paul, MN996 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2017 • Friends
Many of the reviews and photos are of the Mauna Kea Summit. This recreation area is actually at about 6600 feet right on Saddle Back Road. It is a nice stop for a bathroom or for a kids break. The photos that show a playground a representative of this stop.
Written February 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ijoanne1979
Hilo, HI30 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
For many years this park has been poorly maintained. The old caretaker did not do a good job maintaining the bathroom facilities or cabins.
Recently the county has taken over the park and the improvements they are doing have been wonderful. Re-surfacing the parking lot, cleaning the bathrooms, not to mention opening up a second bathroom that has always existed but was never open to the public. The landscaping at the entrance to the park makes it look much more inviting now (it's not a $$$ upgrade, but compared to before it's huge difference)!!!
I just hope it will stay that way...good job so far!!!
Written September 1, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

zodreb
New York City, NY186 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
I'm sorry I never stopped here more often as it is a halfway point between the west and east sides of the island. The bathroom is nice and the parking is plentiful. There are playgrounds for kids. Since it is up on the mountain it is refreshingly cool there as opposed to the punishing heat of the rest of Hawaii. That drive on the highway really is way too long with no good way to detour off it and this is a good break to take. A great place to rest and look at the mountain. I passed it about 4 times before realizing I could stop there.
Written October 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

IrefuseTosignup
Honokaa, HI8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2016 • Family
Good stop for restrooms and a kid break at the play area. High altitude so it is nice and cool here. Take a break!
Written December 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

765matildak
Waikoloa, HI46 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Couples
Nice place to stop and use the restroom facilities have lunch on the picnic tables and gather some brochures for info on the area. Camping cabins are available as long as you have gotten permits ahead of time. Elevation is about 6000 feet so it gets chilly. Dress warm.
Written December 7, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aaron K
Keller, TX5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2016 • Couples
Unreal attraction that is worth the wait for the sun to go down behind the clouds! Then stay for a little star gazing! Bring a jacket because it is cold up here, even though it's 80 at the beach! Must have 4 wheel drive, and steady nerves, as the climb in the jeep can be a little nerve racking!
Written November 25, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Mauna Kea State Recreation Area - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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