The often snow-capped Mauna Kea stands as the tallest mountain in Hawaii and is considered the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the sea floor to summit. Traverse its cinder peaks for spectacular views and unparalleled stargazing opportunities. Stare deep into the expansive universe as you sip on delicious warming beverages and take in the crisp, sacred, and unforgettable surroundings of this spectacularly cold Hawaiian wonderland.
Tips for Visiting Mauna Kea
Hours of Operation: The Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station is open daily from 9:00am - 10:00pm, including holidays.
- The best time for stargazing on Mauna Kea is on a clear and moonless night.
- Things to do at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station include watching videos, shopping at the First Light Bookstore, stopping by the silversword garden, picnicking, hiking to the top of Pu'u Kalepeamoa, and viewing the Sun through a solar telescope.
- The average temperature at the summit of Mauna Kea is 30°F (-1°C) and high wind conditions are common.
- The busiest time to visit Mauna Kea is between 30 minutes before sunset to 1.5 hours after sunset. Parking and space at the visitor station during this time will be limited.
- The access road to the summit, above the visitor center, is steep graded-gravel and will require a 4WD vehicle with low range.
- Due to high altitudes and low oxygen levels, pregnant women, children under 16 years of age, those with a history of respiratory or heart problems, high blood pressure, obese persons (40+ BMI), and those who have been scuba diving within 24 hours should not travel beyond the visitor center.
Tours visiting Mauna Kea depart from Kona, Waikoloa and Kohala areas. No Hilo area departures are currently available.