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“Do it yourself- dont bother with the tours”
Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
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Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure...
Ranked #7 of 138 things to do in Kailua-Kona
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: At 13,796 feet, this peak offers an incredible view of lava, desert, the valley and Mauna Loa.
Reviewed November 11, 2013

Myself and my partner drove up to Mauna Kea summit on a weekday afternoon. Had read a lot of discussion about organized tours, lethally dangerous roads etc..... My take on it as below:

Road: Is steep for sure, but HAS been graded and although its not 'made road' its a long way from a mountain track. Unless your only driving experience has been giant freeways then this ISNT a challenging drive. We had a Nissan SUV, was 4x4 but really didn't need to be- a Camaro convertible joined us at the summit. Its less about the car and just about driving sensibly and to the conditions- if you ride the brakes for 8 miles then you will cook them.... Low range on the automatic box is helpful.

Views and the Summit: Absolutely breathtaking- like a 360 degree version of outside the airline window. We went up in late afternoon, got sunset and stargazing on the way down. Was cloud at about 8k but cleared as we climbed. Yes, its cold....windchill brings it way down and you WILL need a coat and long trousers. Japanese tour groups going up looked like they were heading for Everest....its not that bad, think cold windy European winter......

Visitor Centre: Limited and a bit busy (especially after dark)- staff friendly but would not go out of my way to ONLY go there. Big telescopes set up after darkness, stars crystal clear even without them.

Definitely an experience Id recommend overall, be sensible, don't pay 200 bucks for an 8 hour tour, head up yourself and enjoy the experience.

4  Thank ShipGB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,378 - 2,382 of 3,850 reviews

Reviewed November 11, 2013

Almost paid $800 for four of us to be on a bus to the top. Not as bad as some people portray, but you need to be a good driver. Awesome view and sunset, but the rangers chase you down by 7:00, just as the stars are coming out. You have to hope for clear skies at the station below, which we didnt get. Really don't understand why they do that.

1  Thank CarolinaTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2013

We went up to see the sunset and then stayed for the evening star show. The Visitor's Center had a great video and then telescopes set up for viewing of the night sky by volunteers. A good experience, but bring your down jackets, gloves, and socks!!!

1  Thank NanSimpson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2013

Frequented the Island of Hawaii and always wished to ride to the summit or observatories. Finally, did it and it was an awesome experience, especially on a motorcycle. The summit offers a breathtaking view of the topography below, assuming the clouds below don't mask the expansive view. Travelers to the Island should make sure to add this attraction to there list of things to do.

You should dress for the trip up the summit at the 9,000 feet Visitor Center and read all the information at the Center before ascending to the summit. Note that after the Visitor Center, the first four miles of the road to the summit is unpaved mild "washboard" thoroughfare but manageable if you take it slow.

1  Thank DaPheonix
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 6, 2013

The sunset from the summit was beautiful, but freezing - even with the parka and gloves supplied by Moana Kea Summit Adventures. They did a nice job with the tour, but unless you're interested in astronomy you might want to skip the tour and just drive to the visitors center on your own to watch the sunset.

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

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