Schedule: Afternoon trips depart daily from Hawaii Forest and Trail Headquarters, Waikoloa Kings’ Shops, and the Junction of Highways 190 and 200. 7 - 8 hours round trip.
Rated: Easy to Moderate; ages 16 and over.
Included in the Tour: Picnic style dinner, assorted teas, hot chocolate, and dessert. Dinner selections are either Barbecue Chicken (served hot) with Homemade Cornbread and Coleslaw; or a Vegetarian Spinach Wrap (served cold) with Glazed Carrots and Tabouleh.
Gear Provided: Hooded parkas and warm gloves.
Prices: Adult: $192.00, plus tax.
Group Size: Tour limited to a maximum of 14 guests.
Restrictions: Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain. We sometimes encounter cool, wet or muddy conditions. Because of high altitude this tour is not advised for those with respiratory, circulatory or heart conditions, pregnancy or poor health. Scuba divers should be aware of altitude dangers. No children under 16. Other tour restrictions may apply.
What to Bring & Wear: Closed toe shoes, long pants and a sweatshirt or sweater.
The drive to the summit of Mauna Kea is one you’ll never forget. It’s hard to believe you’re in Hawaii as you climb to 13,796 feet above sea level. Once at the summit we are afforded spectacular views of the horizon, Haleakala on Maui, Mauna Loa and Hualalai, and Mauna Kea’s world-class array of telescopes. Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest mountain, rising over 32,000 feet from the ocean floor to its summit, which is considered by many Hawaiians to be the most sacred place in all the islands. In your hooded parka you’ll stand in awe at both nature’s sublime creation and man’s astonishing technological achievements.
Starting out from our headquarters in Kona, we travel up the coast over desolate lava flows for about a half hour before proceeding up the rolling pasturelands on the flanks of Mauna Kea. Turning onto the Saddle Road that traverses the island between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, you’ll see a dramatic and diverse landscape of ranchland, sub-alpine dryforest and rainforest (with striking features such as cinder cones, lava flows, lava tubes and kipuka). We arrive at our private dinner location at Humuula approximately 2 hours before sunset for a hot, picnic dinner served family style. After dinner and with a winter-style parka in hand, we’ll make the 45 minute drive to the summit. As your make your way up, you’ll be fascinated by your Interpretive Guide’s interpretation of Hawaii’s remarkable natural, cultural, and geologic history.
After sunset we descend to the Visitor’s Information Station at 9,000 foot elevation. Here we set up our own telescope and have a star gazing party. Wrapped warm in Arctic parkas, enjoying hot beverages and cookies, you will marvel at the brilliance of the Hawaiian night sky. Your Interpretive Guide will share with you stories of the observable universe, and offer you a personal and educational look at the heavens.
Pickups: Hawaii Forest & Trail Headquarters, Waikoloa Kings’ Shops, 190/200 Junction
Destination: Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure
Route: HFT HQ North on 19 to Waikoloa Rd (runs between 19 and 190 at Waikoloa), 190 to 190/200 junction, 200 East to Summit Road turn-off, Summit road to Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure
Reservations & Information
Toll Free: 800 464-1993
Local call: 808 331-8505