Mauna Kea
MountainsObservatories & PlanetariumsVolcanoes
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 9:30 PM

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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles324 reviews
Excellent
233
Very good
64
Average
14
Poor
6
Terrible
7

zip50
Lincoln, MA75 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
Amazing sunset from the summit. We drove up with a Jeep 4x4 and felt it it was easy for anyone who is comfortable with 4-wheel drive. We started with a short hike for the views at the visitor center which helped with acclimation. Drove up and did another short (1 mile) hike over to the small lake and it was super beautiful - so worth it (also another chance to acclimatize). Then on to the summit. Give yourself time to find the best spot to view the sunset. Some spots have lots of dishes in the foreground and others don't. Bring every warm item you have as it gets cold.
Written 13 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

smhr
Pickering, Canada277 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
Unique experience but this is the same place as the Mauna Kea observatory, Mauna key attraction etc. It is either the #1 or 2 ranked item in the list of attractions listed above in tripadvisor. You may want to read the reviews about the place there
Written 15 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

County-Hunter
Tacoma, WA3,211 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
We visited Mauna Kea on the spur of the moment. We were on the Saddle Road on our way to Hilo when we pulled over to check where we were and saw the sign. Intrigued, we decided to drive up to the visitor center. The views from 9,200' were quite impressive. The ranger was very helpful. They take safely seriously as they were checking each vehicle who were going to the summit if it wasn't AWD or 4WD, you weren't going. You also weren't going if you were under the age of 13 or if you weren't carrying water or even if you car was dirty. Our car was so we don't think he would have met us go. However, we did enjoy the visitor center and that was worth the drive.
Written 22 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

alekuee
Philadelphia, PA19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2022 • Friends
Like the volcano, I think your experience is all going to be based on timing. It was a clear night and we were able to see constellations very clearly. However, the moon was way too bright to allow us to see any difference in the Milky Way, compared to where we we could see it from our lodging in Pahoa.

The drive up was super easy (and much easier than Haleakala) but we did not drive all the way to the top of the summit. Luckily, we had no issues acclimating.

Flying out of Kona, it was cool to be able to see Mauna Kea from the plane and be able to see where we were the night before.
Written 10 September 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MoonMike
146 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Couples
Beautiful place to just see the sky! We went during the moonlight so we didn’t get to see much stars with our eyes. However, my Nikon D850 captured it! Next time we go, we’ll plan for late night during no moon (New moon) for much better visibility.
Written 19 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Madelinejane
Indianapolis, IN101 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
We went all the way to the summit (renting a 4-wheel drive at extra cost to get there) and then were disappointed with the summit itself. The day we went all you could see from the summit was the tops of the clouds below you and the observatories. Then the sunset, which was supposed to be so spectacular, was very tame. The summit is a pretty long drive over mostly dirt roads with very desolate scrubland or desert around you, so not picturesque. There is nothing to do at the top but wait for the sunset.

We enjoyed the stargazing at the Visitor Center much more. Because of light pollution It had been 50 years since we’d seen the Milky Way! But because of going to the summit for sunset, we had a long wait for the stars to come out—at least an hour after sunset itself. So if I did it again, I would not go to the summit. I would have rented a regular car, waited until sunset to set out from Hilo, and just gone to the Visitor Center for the stargazing.

It is COLD at this elevation and gets even colder after dark. We wore down jackets, long johns, ski caps, and mittens and we STILL froze. I would bring every blanket you can beg or borrow from your hotel. Also make sure you have a reliable flashlight, because the whole reason you are here is because it is DARK! My old reliable punked out on me at the worst time despite brand new batteries (some loose connection), so we had to share one.

Altitude sickness is a real thing. We already felt a little headachy at the Visitor Center at 9000 feet and did not feel like walking around much at the 13,000 foot summit.

By the way, there isn’t much to see at the Visitor Center either, so don’t think there is a great educational exhibit there. I got so sick of hearing about native Hawaiian mythology on our whole trip and got more there too. How about some science?
Written 5 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

orswitz
Portland, OR26 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 • Family
If you have decent 4 wheel drive, go up before sunset.

Bring warm clothes, water and camera.

You will be rewarded!

Loved being above the clouds!

The observatories are cool to look at!
Written 1 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kytraveler
Shelbyville, KY209 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
We drove up to the visitor center in order to watch the moonrise and star gaze. We arrived just a few minutes before the visitor center closed and the staff were incredibly patient with us as we picked up a few souvenirs. Watching the moonrise was a tremendous experience. Star gazing was a tad bit disappointing due to nearly full moon plus cloud cover moving in but still a worthwhile trip. It was 86 degrees in Kona when we left and 43 degrees at the visitor center. Dress accordingly. Also, there's no need for your headlights to be on bright when entering the parking lot.
Written 30 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

S D B
Brooklyn, NY153 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021
This is a must see when on the big island to go at least to the viitor center like we did which is just under 10000 feet high and then go acroos the street and hike up the mild hike to the small mountain and watch sunset and see the world from above the clouds. there are picnic tables near the visitor center. the roads to the visitor center are well paved and 2 way. It felt like the moon or mars up there.
Written 6 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AnnaWest24
Boston, MA259 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
OXIGEN AT 68% ON TOP!

We did Volcano NP in the AM and arrived to Mauna Kea at around 4:30 PM. I brought the finger oxygen meter with me. I am a fit and healthy 49-year old. As soon as we arrived to the top, within 5 mins, my reading was: hear beat 105 and oxygen level 68%!!! I could not believe my eyes. After some research on the way down to sea level, I learned that the oxygen saturation between 13,000 and 15,000 feet is around 60% to 70% so my reading makes perfect sense. We did stop at the visitor center and we had a 4-wheel drive Chevy Tahoe. The ride up on dirt road IS TOUGH. My husband did it. I think if I was driving, I would turn back…. It is steep one lane with two way traffic. We did almost slide backwards on gravel a few times at lower speeds. So, you need some momentum and higher speed to get to the top and with curves and grade, it makes it a challenging ride. Beautiful scenery on top. I started to feel pressure on my head at visitor center already. The hubby said on top that he feels like he is buzzed and lightheaded. My teenage kids had headaches too. Just be careful! I personally wouldn’t stay until sunset on Mauna Kea…. Unless you leave right away to get down. I wouldn’t want to drive this road in the darkness. Our engine overheated on way up. Many people open the hood to let their engines cool off on top. The attached oxygen meter photo is the second photo I took after recuperating in the car for 2 mins.
Written 6 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Mauna Kea - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Mauna Kea

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