Kea Summit and Stars Tour
Current Rate: Adults: $192; minimum age for this tour is 16.
the professionals of Hawaii Forest and Trail on an intriguing and provocative journey through space and time.
On your way to the 13,796' summit of Mauna Kea you will learn about the remarkable
evolution and changes the Hawaiian islands have experienced. On the
way up the mountain the tour stops at a historic ranch outpost features a hot, picnic
style dinner. After dinner the tour continues to the summit of the
world’s tallest volcano for a sensational sunset view. Stand in
awe amidst the largest collection of telescopes on earth witnessing
some of the most dramatic scenery you’ll ever experience.
drive to the summit of Mauna Kea is one you'll never forget. Once at the summit
you are afforded spectacular
views of the horizon, Haleakala on Maui, Mauna Kea's world-class
array of telescopes and the famous Mauna Kea sunset. At the summit,
you'll experience the spirtiual energy of what many Hawaiians
believe to be the most sacred place in all the islands. At the
summit you'll stand on top of the world's tallest mountain which
rises from the ocean floor to over 31,000 feet high. In your hooded
parka you'll stand in awe at both natures sublime creation and man's
astonishing technological achievements.
sunset the tour descends back down to the 9000’ elevation next to the
Visitor's Information Station. Your Interpretive Naturalist Guide will
set up a telescope and reveal the wonders and world-class clarity of our Hawaiian night
skies sky. Wrapped warm in Arctic parkas, with hot beverages
and chocolate macadamia nut cookies, you will marvel at the
brilliance of the Hawaiian sky. Enjoy your guide's entertaining
"talk story" of the infinite world of the observable
universe which offers you a personal and educational look at the heavens.
tour is approximately 8 hours in length and includes dinner,
transportation to the summit, hooded parkas and warm gloves, and hot
beverages while you watch the stars.
Because of high altitude this tour does not allow those with respiratory, heart, or circulatory conditions, people in generally poor health, or pregnant women. Scuba divers should be aware of altitude changes and avoid doing this tour shortly after diving. Minimum age for this tour is 16.
Dinner Choices: BBQ Chicken with warm cornbread and cole slaw, or Veggie Wrap with glazed carrots and tabouleh, or Gluten-free which is a plain grilled chicken breast, rice, and glazed carrots.
Parka Sizes - (small, medium,
large, x-large, xx-large) All parkas are men's sizes so ladies
may wish to select one size smaller than normal
HFT / V
The Mauna Kea tour is not
available for cruise ship passengers. We recommend doing either the
Bike Tour on Maui
Sunrise Van Tour on Maui.
When you stand
at the summit of Mauna Kea and look across at the summit of
Mauna Loa, it is easy to forget that you are in Hawaii. The
extreme climate and barren landscape provides a startling
difference from the rain forests of Hilo or the heat of Kona
and Waikoloa. About three months out of the year there is a
very good chance you will see snow ... yes ... SNOW ...
at the top of this mountain! When we did this tour it was the first week of May, and a late-season storm had just dusted the summit with 4" of fresh snow. It makes the tour even more beautiful and surreal!
The summit of Mauna Kea requires a 4 wheel drive vehicle; it is not possible to drive in your rental car. If you've rented a Jeep Wrangler you would be OK, however your rental car contract will probably forbid you from driving on this road. Besides, without the tour you won't get the telescopic look at the night sky and you won't get the benefit of the guide's informative narration. You probably won't be bringing a parka with you to Hawaii either; they are provided on this tour.
important tip is to remember the implications of high
altitudes. The air is MUCH thinner here ... this is not a good
place for people who are in poor health or are pregnant. Scuba
divers should be extra cautious and allow plenty of time
before and after a dive when scheduling this tour.
consideration ... BOOK THIS ONE EARLY because availability
is very limited for this tour. The number of people
allowed at the summit of Mauna Kea per day is strictly
After leaving the summit, an extended stop is made at the visitor's center at the 9,000 foot level where your guide will set up a computer-aided telescope and give you a tour of the night sky. If you come at a full-moon the sky will be so bright it will be difficult to see stars, but you'll get some unbelievable looks at the moon's surface.
This tour is oriented
toward people who are staying in the Kona and Waikoloa areas (where
most of the resorts are located on the Big Island). Please note that
if you are staying in Hilo or some out-of-the-way vacation rental
somewhere else on the Big Island you will have a rather long drive
to meet up with the tour. Rental car companies don't allow their
rental cars to be driven over the Saddle Road that runs between
Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. Hawaii Forest and Trail will meet you at
the junction of Highway 200 and Highway 190, which is the point
where the Saddle Road intersects with the highway that runs from
Waimea to Kona. Some people do choose to ignore the rental car
company's rule and drive the Saddle Road ... in that case they can
meet you at the intersection of the Saddle Road and the road that
heads up Mauna Kea.