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“Best thing to do on the Big Island” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour
Ranked #2 of 128 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.
Franklin, TN
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Best thing to do on the Big Island”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2013

The drive to the top takes time, patience and a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, but you need to do it. Seeing the observatories, the sunset and the stars at 14,000 feet is something I won't forget. Stop at the visitor center on the way down for an educational presentation on the constellations. And bring warm clothes for the summit.

Visited July 2013
3 Thank JeffL1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Laval, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2013

Make sure to arrive for sunset and stay to the stars!!! it was wonderful...bring a warm coat and long pants, it is much chillier than on the beach

Visited August 2013
Thank Lilou777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Paula, CA
Level Contributor
63 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Worth the drive at sunset”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2013

Be sure to get there about a 1/2 hr before sunset. We got there about 15 min late, but still enjoyed the beautiful colors of the sunset. The visitor center had telescopes set up and we enjoyed looking through them, we saw Saturn with it's rings which was amazing. One of the speakers at the visitors center gave a cool talk about the stars in the sky that night using a great lazer pointer that allowed you to know exactly what stars he was referring to--so interesting! It was a bit chilly, but not bad for a July evening.

Visited July 2013
Thank LoveChickens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“View from the top”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2013 via mobile

We stayed on the Kona side and made a day of it taking the north route around and through Waimea and hit Akaka Falls State Park. Stopped for lunch in Hilo at Pineapples (very good) and then took Saddle Road up. We went through heavy rain and fog on the climb an then came through the clouds to beautiful blue skies and great terrain with views of Mauna Loa to our left and Mauna Kea to our right. We made a right onto Mauna Kea Access Road and started to climb to the visitor center any car can do this part. When we arrived to the Visitor Center at about 9,000 feet the temp was 68 degrees after starting out in Hilo at 86. Stil very pleasant. The visitor center has rest rooms, sandwiches, drinks, astronaut freeze dried foodand warm weather gear if you need it. We were not doing the star gazing and found out the temps at the summit were 53 degrees so after acclimating for about 30 minutes, we climbed into our jeep and started the climb. The road is gravel above the visitor center and is very rough climbing. Expect a slow climb traversing 5 miles of road to go the last 5000 feet in elevation. The road does return to a paved smooth ride as you approach the summit and the views while driving up were just stunning says my wife. I was not taking my eyes off the road. We were told we couldn't go to the top unless you booked 2 weeks out bu later found out if you had a 4 wheel drive vehicle, you can do it yourself. We are glad we did. How often do you get a chance to drive to the top of a Volcano and travel through a storm to come out above the clouds like airplanes do except you are in a car. I do want to caution that if you have any heart issues or are pregnant they recommend not going to the summit due to the thin air. Both my wife and I both were slightly affected with a little shortness of breath and light headed was but it was so worth the experience. We are both 53 and these chances don't come along so often. Go for it folks. Put it on the list and go to the Mauna Kea Summit. Total round round trip from Kona going north and then back via Saddle Road to 190 to 11 with stops at Akaka Falls, lunch in Hilo and Mauna Loa was approximately 8 1/2 hours. Spend a day of it and get back before sunset and crack open a bottle of wine to celebrate the day and watch the sun go down. Just a great day exploring on vacation. You can lay on a beach anywhere. Until next time

Visited August 2013
7 Thank Fsquilla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
82 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

This was a great experience. It is a little bit of a long drive, with part of the road gravel and bumpy, but well worth it. We arrived early enough to picnic, than watched the sunset. Unbelievable pictures.

Visited July 2013
Thank Dave H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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