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“It's a ride for the adventurous!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Mauna Kea Summit

Mauna Kea Summit
Book In Advance
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US$199.00*
and up
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Kona and Waikoloa - Small Group Tour
Ranked #2 of 129 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.
Hudson, Ohio
Level Contributor
38 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“It's a ride for the adventurous!”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

Took a Hawaiian Adventures Tour bus. They fed us dinner at about 7000 feet, at an old sheep ranching station. A great way to get acquainted with our guide and with each other, and the food was pretty good too.

The next part of the ride up to the Visitor's Center at 9000 feet is a little windy but on good paved road, and already many decent photo ops. Above the Visitor's Center, the next six miles of road is a real washboard - DO NOT TAKE A NORMAL CAR on this road! Four-wheel drive is a must. If you attempt it with a 2-wheel drive, you'll just have to turn around after a few minutes!

The final two miles is again paved, and gets you up to the peak at almost 14000 feet. It is cold and windy (we had a few spots of residual snow), but the views are exceptional! Our tour was given good warm coats, but you might even want to wear gloves, especially if you are normally from the south.

Sunset at the peak - marvelous! We also had good views over to Mauna Loa's peak, and some serious rain/thunderstorms over the Kona coast. After dark, the starts came out, and we drove back down to about 11,000 feet for some stargazing through our guide's 11" reflecting telescope. He was EXTREMELY knowledgeable, not only about real astronomy, but about the constellations and how to spot them throughout the seasons. We were given wonderful telescopic views of Jupiter and several of its moons, Mars, Saturn & Rings plus a moon (Titan), nearby binary star systems, star clusters, and a far away galaxy! It was just amazing...

Make sure your tour operator gives you the telescopic stargazing as part of the experience - it greatly enhances the value of the trip, as far as I am concerned.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank Richard V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Canberra, Australia
Level Contributor
153 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Unforgettable experience”
Reviewed 5 June 2014

Booked this with reasonably high expectations based on reviews but it still exceeded them. Hawaii Forest and Trail provided the tour and Nate a friendly and knowledgeable guide. The rough road to the top is an experience in its own right - just makes reaching the summit even more exciting. The view is just breathtaking - a cliche yes but true. Watching thunderheads, being above the clouds, the sun setting and being moved by the power of our world.

Star gazing on the way down was terrific if somewhat cold. Seeing Saturn a stand out for me.

A tiring tour but worth it! Do it!

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Loud1Canberra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Florida
Level Contributor
30 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Almost a great view”
Reviewed 3 June 2014

If the weather had cooperated, it would have been a great visit and view. However, it was still a neat trip up the mountain and good views until your "head" was in the clouds. Recommend taking this trip and stopping at the ranger station/visitor center on the way up.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank buswrb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kailua Kona, Hi
Level Contributor
97 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Who Knew”
Reviewed 3 June 2014

What a great place to visit. Took a tour from Hawaii Forest & Trail. Watched the sunset and then we had a star gazing party. Awesome. Saw snow on Hawaii. Who knew?

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank jeffm4000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
34 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“An Island in the Clouds”
Reviewed 2 June 2014

It is an amazing place! The view over the clouds is breathtaking. So is the high altitude. At over thirteen thousand feet above sea level the air is very thin and your heart rate will increase. So take it easy. The observatories a all impressive and out of place in the barren landscape. It is also cold up there even when the sun is shining. Flip flops and shorts would not be comfortable. Shoes, long pants and a medium jacket or something with a hood are in order. The wind can be very strong at the top of Hawaii. Bring your camera because it is beautiful! Be careful on the road and watch for ghost cows.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Richard P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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