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“Free and the best experience you will have.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaii, HI
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour
Ranked #1 of 122 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.
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Free and the best experience you will have.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

It's free! 4wd is good thinking yet some people dare not to use one. Recommend bringing a small bag of chips and place it on your dashboard so you can see it expand with the pressure changes. Also, the recommended half hour wait at the visitor center was a good idea because you will feel a big change respiratory wise at the top. Have fun!

4 Thank Jdeboe3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,734 reviews from our community

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Level Contributor
43 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Bring Your woolies if you plan to stay awhile!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

The Visitor Center is at 9200 feet and your flip flops and shorts won't cut it! There are decent bathrooms, interpretive info and snacks etc.

Visited December 2012
1 Thank JWCFX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Menlo Park, California
Level Contributor
144 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Hawaii at 13,796' is a hard to beat trip on the Big Island”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

The trip from Kona to the summit is a 2hour drive (4x4 or AWD needed from 9000'+), and well worth the trip. If you can time it to go with the caravan leaving from the visitor center that takes you inside the Kek observatory, the guides are very informative. Views of Maui in the distance are great, and otherwise you feel as though you on Mars, and definitely no place you've been before.

Mountain weather is always changing, but in Dec it was 50*F up top (though 34*F in the observatory during the 30 minute tour). Wear pants and shoes (the only time you'll wear them on the island is here), some bring water to drink, sunscreen, and you'll be prepared for the adventure

It's hard to believe they don't charge for the service; so much so that a nice donation in the visitor center feels like you are still getting more than your moneys worth. The next trip to the Big Island will include star gazing from the summit!

FYI kids under 16 aren't allowed on the tour

Visited December 2012
5 Thank Hunter L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Centennial, Colorado, United States
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Fantastic Day!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2012

My husband and I picked the Mauna Kea Summit tour to complement our week of scuba diving, volcano viewing, coffee tasting and sight seeing. We picked Mauna Kea after comparing on-line reviews and we were extremely pleased with the entire tour starting with the drive to the top of the mountain where we were provided an informative and interesting history and geology of the island. We were provided a delicious dinner at the visitors center and then proceeded to the top of the mountain to get a history of the observatories and watch the most amazing sunset - overlooking clouds and a mountain peak. Next we were lead to a private viewing of the stars with amazing telescopes and interesting descriptions by the guides. The guides (Mische and Chris) were very knowledgeable about the stars too! It was amazing to see all the stars unaided by the telescopes at this high altitude. But the telescopes provided us a view of the universe you just don't see. The tour was a highlight of our trip and an event we will not forget.

Visited December 2012
3 Thank Rita M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, Ohio
Level Contributor
215 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Wow what a view!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012

We didn't want to leave the Big Island without visiting the Summit. We took a tour up, better than driving yourself ( if you do make sure you have 4 wheel drive) I would reccomend going with a tour. It was so beautiful! We got some outstanding pictures once we made it to the very top (13,000 feet). The sunset was so breathtaking from the view so high! Dress very very warm! Its about 30 degrees up there and feels even colder. Put lots of layers on. The air is very thin so make sure you take your time walking around up there. You may get out of breath quite easily. Star gazing was also incredible. They have a small gift shop at the visitors center . Some really neat things to look at there. You might want to bring a flash light if you go at night. Enjoy! You should go!!!

Visited December 2012
1 Thank Christa H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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