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“Window on the universe”
Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
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Ranked #2 of 138 things to do in Kailua-Kona
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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 July 19, 2014

Dress warm and do it. Go at night for the stargazing at the visitors center. When you have a look through the telescopes go to the far end of the silversword garden to get away from the people and the lights and take it all in. Its amazing!

2  Thank Michael B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 19, 2014

Stargazing on Mauna Kea has been a childhood dream of mine for a long time. I am an avid astronomy nerd so this was a huge deal for me. It was everything I had hoped. We planned our trip up 3 hours before the moon rise that day. The view of the cosmos was amazing. What I didn't expect was how many people were up there!

I loved how they setup huge telescopes for people to look at certain objects. Saturn was the hot chick that night and she was a show off. They also pointed their telescopes at the ring nebula, some start clusters, some galaxies and some of the oldest stars in our galaxy as well. I took the time to get some great photos of the milky way and the super massive blackhole that is at the center of our galaxy.

2  Thank Neeper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2014

The drive up is amazing. It requires 4x4 as the trip DOWN is steep and the low gear has to be LOW gear. We drove up with a Jeep and had no issues....I took it slow as instructed, both up and down. There are no guardrails to speak of...a few here and there...the road starts tar, then immediately turns to dirt and starts to climb. Do not worry if there are low clouds, you drive above them....no worries. The accent takes a little while and if you go slowly as instructed, you accumulate to the altitude as you go. Same with down. GO SLOWLY.
The only thing I wish was some type of visitor center at the top. where are you allowed to go, where are you not? How about a tour of one of the telescopes? THAT would be AWESOME. How about offering Observatory BUS rides up...so everyone can go? Charge $10 for the ride up...and a professional drive. Anyway, the trip up was worth it. Remember it's the trip up more than what is up there...as once you arrive there are a LOT of HUGE buildings...a site on it's own. But that is IT....nothing to enter...nothing to see except the view....and even with the clouds below us, the view was spectacular. The ride down MUST be taken slowly....low gear in 4x4 low. 15-20 mph. Why hurry? You could end up sick due to altitude change and it is a dirt, gravel road that makes hairpin turns with no guardrails. NO ONE UNDER 16 IS ALLOWED to the summit!!! So those who brought young children didn't stop at the visitor center. Altitude sickness is real.

1  Thank Mainah65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2014

I plan to return to Hawaii in hope of being there on a day when Mauna Kea is not enveloped in clouds.
It is hard to believe that this peak is so high, since it is low and sloping, not dramatically pointy like, say, Mount Rainer.
The area around the peak is surreal. Don't know that I recommend the complete drive to the top unless you are an observatory fan. Check out the times for site tours on their website.

Thank N_skier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2014

If you can go from 7:00 to 9:00 pm they have a free program. You will find a beautiful sunset and a good education. They have volunteers with $20,000 telescopes you can look through for free. The visitor information station is at 9,300 feet. Do nit go to the summit of 12,000 feet with children. My 8 year old had a bad head ache when we tried to hike the extra 200 feet to see the sunset.

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

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