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Rental Cars forbidden to drive to Mauna Kea?

Los Angeles
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64 posts
8 reviews
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Rental Cars forbidden to drive to Mauna Kea?

I'm just finalizing my 4-wheel drive car rental and was informed to not even think of driving up to Mauna Kea (part of my reason for having this kind of car) because it's crossing "military land" and the rental car companies have agreed to keep this road clear of "tourists" traveling independent of a tour group. I was told if I defied this understanding, it could impact my rental contract. I was told that the only way to go up to even the lower elevation Visitor Information Station was with a tour. Well I've got kids and I know these tours are expensive. Is this a bunch of hogwash? I'm a very independent traveler, and I'm having a hard time buying this story. Please give me your thoughts.

Toronto, Ontario
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224 posts
23 reviews
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11. Re: Rental Cars forbidden to drive to Mauna Kea?

Hey Gormand.

Dan sounds right on the money with his info.

We just returned from Hawaii - and had rented a 4X4 Trailblazer from them. At the rental counter when we were picking up the car I asked the girl if we could drive on Saddle Road - she said, "ahhh... yeah" - but was sort of looking over her shoulder as she said it - she implied that this was okay, but not really publicized. As for the trip up to the summit of Mauna Kea - we did not ask - but we did the drive. We likely would not have been covered - as it is unpaved for about 3 miles on the way to the top (Hawaii Dan - correct me if I am wrong on that).

We had our Blazed in 4-Low - which conveniently did not work (yikes) - so we drove up and down in the lowest gear. At times on the way up we were crawling - and you could feel the wheels almost about to spin through the gravel (all the more reason why you need a 4-wheel drive to go up). But it was excellent - and definitely worth it - the views are incredible.

If you do this - make sure you do the hike up the 100 yard trail - to the top of the hill - I think it is near the Canada Telescope - then you can look towards the sunset - and the 2 Keck Telescopes are in front of you. And on top of that little hike there is a little prayer rock pile built (??? sorry - I am not sure exactly what it was).

Do not pay for the tour - it would be a waste of money.

Denny

Toronto, Ontario
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224 posts
23 reviews
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12. Re: Rental Cars forbidden to drive to Mauna Kea?

Sorry - I should read before I send my reply.

We rented from Alamo.

Denny

Palm Springs...
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11,440 posts
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13. Re: Rental Cars forbidden to drive to Mauna Kea?

aloha.....

To which I might add.......looking at the sunset is OK......looking to the east at the Umbria on the earth and its refractions is a wow.

The summit is not for everyone.....it has serious health risks.

and only Harper lets you drive it and be in-contract.

if you want to drive off road anywhere harper is the only firm that lets you take your 4x4 off road

also in Wiapio valley...I heard all rentals 4x4 or not are banned.

If you try to do the road in a 2 wheel drive it is a $ 1000.00 fine I was told........dont know for sure on this.

HD