Mauna Kea

Vacation Travel Guide
Mauna Kea featuring landscape views

Make the journey up this gigantic dormant volcano for an impressive view.

The tallest peak in the state of Hawaii is the million-year-old volcano, Mauna Kea, one of the five volcanic hot spots that combine to form Hawaii’s Big Island. While the top of Mauna Kea is 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) above sea level, the volcano would be more than double the height of Mount Everest when measured from its base at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Mauna Kea is iconic, with its snowy peak visible across the island and its summit offers some of the best views in Hawaii.

Make the three-hour drive to Mauna Kea’s summit in the company of experts by booking a spot on one of the many four-wheel drive tours of the volcano. Not only are these tours a safe and comfortable way to experience Mauna Kea, they also provide a wealth of information about the history and environment of the volcano.

Stop halfway up the volcano to acclimatize to the altitude, and tour the Visitor Information Station, which is open every day of the year. See the largest telescopes in the world and learn why Mauna Kea is such an important location for astrologers.

From the Visitor Information Station the journey to the summit is along a steep gravel road. Traveling across the hardened lava that covers the summit region, at heights where little vegetation can survive, is a surreal experience. Pull on your gloves before you get out of the car, as temperatures at the summit are icy. Arrive in time to see one of the most sought after sunsets in North America, with views across the island and the Pacific Ocean.

The Mauna Kea access road is located approximately 28 miles (45 kilometers) from Hilo and the summit is a further 15 miles (24 kilometers) along the road. While it’s possible to drive yourself, many rental car agreements restrict you from doing so. The safest way to see the peak is by joining a tour from Hilo or Waikoloa. There is no public transportation that services Mauna Kea, but parking is available at the Visitor Information Station and summit.

Top Hotels Close to Mauna Kea

Vintage Farmhouse and Botanical Garden
Vintage Farmhouse and Botanical Garden
Honokaa, HI
This family-friendly Honokaa farm stay is located in the mountains, within 2 mi (3 km) of Kalopa State Recreation Area and Hamakua Heritage Corridor. Hawaiian ...
5/5Exceptional! (15 reviews)
Vintage Farmhouse
"This property is absolutely awesome, the attention to detail is outstanding! Everything one would really want is included in this rental. The location is easy access to all kind of wonderful destinations. The property itself is a botanical garden, with lovely fruit and Hawaiian flowers all over. ..."

Reviewed on Sep 9, 2021

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Vintage Farmhouse and Botanical Garden
Five bedroom log cabin near Waipi'o Valley
Five bedroom log cabin near Waipi'o Valley
Honokaa, HI
This family-friendly Honokaa vacation home is located in the mountains, 2.6 mi (4.1 km) from Hamakua Heritage Corridor, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Kalōpā and ...
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Five bedroom log cabin near Waipi'o Valley
Your Big Island Getaway on the Hamakua Coast
Your Big Island Getaway on the Hamakua Coast
Paauilo, HI
Situated in Paauilo, this vacation home is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Hamakua Heritage Corridor and 3 mi (4.8 km) from Hawaiian Vanilla Company. Kalopa State Recreation ...
5/5Exceptional! (2 reviews)
Perfect!!!
"We rented this home for our grandmas 90th birthday/family reunion and couldn't have asked for a better home and location. We have a business and family in Honoka'a, so the location was perfect for our needs. Close enough to make a run into town, yet just far enough off the highway to experience the ..."

Reviewed on Aug 10, 2018

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Your Big Island Getaway on the Hamakua Coast
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Mauna Kea

Vintage Farmhouse and Botanical Garden
Vintage Farmhouse and Botanical Garden
Honokaa, HI
Vintage Farmhouse and Botanical Garden
Five bedroom log cabin near Waipi'o Valley
Five bedroom log cabin near Waipi'o Valley
Honokaa, HI
Five bedroom log cabin near Waipi'o Valley
Your Big Island Getaway on the Hamakua Coast
Your Big Island Getaway on the Hamakua Coast
Paauilo, HI
Your Big Island Getaway on the Hamakua Coast
Remodelled Hideaway Ocean Views Walk To Dining 3 Bedroom Home
Remodelled Hideaway Ocean Views Walk To Dining 3 Bedroom Home
3.5 out of 5
45-512 Huapala St., Honokaa, HI
Remodelled Hideaway Ocean Views Walk To Dining 3 Bedroom Home
"The land of Sunshine" - fantastic ocean views, peaceful, romantic getaway
"The land of Sunshine" - fantastic ocean views, peaceful, romantic getaway
Honokaa, HI
"The land of Sunshine" - fantastic ocean views, peaceful, romantic getaway
Private Home on 2.5 Acres w/Ocean Views, Hot Tub, & 600 sq ft Lanai. Hale Luana
Private Home on 2.5 Acres w/Ocean Views, Hot Tub, & 600 sq ft Lanai. Hale Luana
Honokaa, HI
Private Home on 2.5 Acres w/Ocean Views, Hot Tub, & 600 sq ft Lanai. Hale Luana
Kamuela 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom Home
Kamuela 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom Home
Kamuela, HI
Kamuela 2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom Home
Hamakua Coast Home- Ocean Views, Private, Clean, Friendly
Hamakua Coast Home- Ocean Views, Private, Clean, Friendly
Honokaa, HI
Hamakua Coast Home- Ocean Views, Private, Clean, Friendly
Charming Country Home Pa Hau'oli Home
Charming Country Home Pa Hau'oli Home
Kamuela, HI
Charming Country Home Pa Hau'oli Home
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.