Hawaii Forest & Trail - Mauna Kea Summit Hawaii Observatory Tour
*Due to the popularity of this tour, please call 866 482 9775 to check availability if booking within the next month.
There’s a reason this tour is so popular. Watching a sunset and the stars from the summit of 13,796-foot Mauna Kea is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
You must be 16 or older to go to the summit.
Your adventure begins right after you get on the van. Enjoy the beautiful views along Saddle Road as you head towards the Mauna Kea access road. Marvel at the changing landscapes, from desolate lava flows and rolling pasturelands to sub-alpine dryforests and striking features such as cinder cones.
At Humuula, you’ll be served a hot picnic-style dinner. We’ll then continue up the mountain. Once at the summit, you’ll enjoy absolutely breathtaking views – see the entire Big Island including neighboring Mauna Loa and Hualalai and Mauna Kea’s world-class array of telescopes. From up here you can even see Mt. Haleakala on Maui. It might be hard to believe that you’re standing on the world’s tallest mountain, rising over 32,000 feet (9,754 m) from the ocean floor to its summit.
After sunset, there will be another stop at the Visitor Information Station, located at 9,000 feet (2,743 m) above sea level. Here we set up our own telescope to do some stargazing. Wrapped in your warm Arctic parka (which is provided), you’ll be served hot beverages and cookies. Your tour guide will share with you stories of the observable universe and offer you a personal and educational look at the night sky.
- Visit the summit of Mauna Kea – elevation 13,796 feet (4,205 m)
- Enjoy amazing sunset views from the summit
- Peak through a telescope
- Excellent stargazing location
- Expert tour guide will share interesting facts about the Big Island, Mauna Kea and the night sky
- Picnic-style dinner: Choose either the Barbecue Chicken (served hot) with lemon-mint quinoa and a dinner roll, or a Vegetarian Tofu Wrap (served cold) with peanut dipping sauce, lemon-mint quinoa and a dinner roll
- Assorted teas
- Hot chocolate and brownies served for dessert
- Warm hooded parkas and gloves are provided
Mauna Kea Observatories
Amazing Sunset Views
Mauna Kea Stargazing
Mauna Kea Summit Tour
Big Island Summit Adventure
Snow-Capped Mauna Kea
Map - click to enlarge
- Where and When:
- Pick-up times range from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm and drop-off times are between 9:00 pm and 11:00 pm, depending on the season. Pick-up is free at Four Seasons and north of Four Seasons. Departs from Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters (View Map) and Queens Marketplace in front of Charlies Thai Restaurant (View Map)
- Guests must be 16 and older to go the summit part of this tour. Please call us at 866-482-9775 if you still wish to include a guest younger than 16 on the tour.
They can go but any guest younger than 16 and an adult chaperon must stay behind and wait for the tour to get back from the summit which can take about 2 hours or a little longer.
- Mauna Kea summit tours are not recommended for those with respiratory, circulatory or heart conditions, pregnant women and those who have conditions not conducive to high altitude or physical activity. Children under 16 are not permitted on this tour due to altitude. The tour is also not recommended for people who have been scuba diving in the past 24 hours. Participants will be required to sign a waiver of liability.
- Special Notes:
- Participants should be able to hike on rocky or uneven terrain. Be prepared to encounter muddy, wet or cool conditions. The average mean temperature at the summit is freezing.
- Operation Days:
- Approx. 7-8 hours roundtrip
- Hawaii Forest and Trail
- Big Island
- Max. of 14 guests per tour
- Hooded parkas and warm gloves are provided. We utilize an 11” Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope for stargazing.