Mauna Kea Summit Tour

Overview & Activity Comparison


Rising 13,796 feet above sea level, the dormant Mauna Kea volcano is the highest of the five volcanoes on the island (and in Hawaii overall) and the tallest mountain in the world if measured in its entirety from the ocean floor. It provides a special vantage point to watch a stunning sunrise or sunset above the clouds, and its clear thin air, little precipitation, and lack of light pollution create a prime stargazing location that is home to some of the best telescopes in the world. Its otherworldly landscape has led NASA astronauts to train here. On clear days, you can see nearby Maui and expansive views of the vast Big Island.
Guidebook Reviews

Big Island Revealed Guidebook:

Sunsets when clouds cooperate are an unrivaled splendor of unequaled expansiveness

Possibly the best place in the world to observe stars

Lonely Planet Guidebook:

Top 20 Activities in State of Hawaii

Sunsets are phenomenal

The stargazing is a unique and profoundly memorable experience

Activity Comparison

The below table outlines the key differences between our Mauna Kea Summit tours. All tours are operated by Hawaii Forest & Trail, a highly regarded company running small group tours for over 25 years on the Big Island. Both serve a hot meal under a tent at a scenic private rustic ranch at the base of Mauna Kea. The minimum age is 16, although a private tour for larger groups can go to 9,000 feet for stargazing without the age minimum. Larger groups may also be interested in a day tour, available only for private groups. Please visit the individual pages for all the details and to book.
Activity 1
Sunset & Stargazing
Activity 2
Sunrise & Stars
Time of Day Afternoon & Night Night & Early Morning
Availability Usually sells out 1-2+ weeks in advance Usually sells out 2-3+ days in advance
Pick-up Locations Kona, Waikoloa, near Mauna Kea (for Hilo) Kona, Waikoloa, near Mauna Kea (for Hilo)
Summit Experience Sunset viewing (more crowded) Sunrise viewing (less crowded)
Stargazing 45-60 min with expert guide & laser pointer 20-30 min with expert guide & laser pointer
Use Telescope
Portable telescope just for tour
Yes No
Meals Hot dinner at country ranch Hot breakfast at country ranch
Price $220.80/person $196.80/person
More Details More Details