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Ways to Experience Mauna Kea Summit
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All reviews wheel drive visitor center mauna kea low gear warm clothing milky way altitude sickness ranger station watch the sunset sea level tallest mountain the big island high altitude rental car gravel road sun goes down star gaze
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Reviewed October 12, 2013

We pre-booked our trip up Mauna Kea as recommended by our holiday company. Hawaii forest and trail were the local company that operated the tour. We drove to their offices (about 30 mins from the Sheraton kona hotel). Our guide "Nate" was friendly and very informative throughout the day, he seemed educated in all aspects of vulcanology, astronomy and history. The drive to the summit was very bumpy, as most of the ascent is on a rocky road. Once up at 14,000 ft, the view was stunning. We watched the sun set below us, as the moon rose from the clouds below. We then drove back down the mountain to the visitor centre where we viewed the stars. This trip was enjoyed by everyone, not just those with an existing interest in star gazing. Overall, great tour, got amazing photos and saw planets and stars clearer (and bigger!!) than ever before.

Thank DanKimSouthampton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2013 via mobile

We wanted to do this trip and planned on booking the organised one but thought we would book when we arrived. We were very disapointed when we were told it got booked up weeks in advance and there was no space for us. We decided to hire a car and do it ourselves and it was a great experinece. We hired the car from Harpers which wasnt too far away, just slightly annoying getting there as we had to get the free shuttle part of the way and then a $20 taxi ride the rest of the way.And then the same to take the car back as they arent able to drop back at hotels. This company do however drop off at the airport so maybe try and tie the 2 in together when you are leaving?
Driving up the mountain was beautiful, it really is an amazing experience. We stopped at the visitors centre for about an hour and then drive to the top and parked up. Shortly after we parked more people bagan to join us and we watched the sun set from our car. It was beautiful to see the sun setting, above the clouds!
It is very cold up there so def take lots of layers and keep warm.
After sun set you can go back to the visitors centre for star gazing. We didnt do this as have never drove in the US before and they do not have street lights here as they do not want to polute the air due to star gazing.
Its deffinatly worth a visit for some amazing view's!

2  Thank Amytip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2013

This was something unique and interesting to do while on the Island. But depending on where you are staying, allow the day to get there and back... and definitely stay for the sunset.

1  Thank spartacat24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 11, 2013

Such an amazing, peaceful place. You are on top of the world when you are on top of Mauna Kea Summit. When I told friends I was going to the Big Island for vacation they told me to take pack winter clothes also, I couldn't figure out why until I got to the top of the Summit. I was there the end of September and it was 46 degrees at sunset. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. You need to stop at the Ranger station on your way up which is 9,000 feet so you can adjust to the altitude and then again on the way back down so you can look at the stars. It is truly an amazing site. It's better if you travel in a 4x4 vehicle, just a long very bumpy drive/ride, but worth every bump of it!

2  Thank Nancy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2013

We made it to the too in our minivan but I have to say it was quite harrowing. The van slid and seemed to almost stop at times. The rangers are extremely unfriendly. The views were amazing and it is very very cold. Dress appropriately.

Thank TaraTim9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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