Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure in Kona, HI

Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, Big Island, HI 96740
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$225.00 $198.95
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Overview

Offered by Hawaii Forest & Trail, Maunakea Tour: Maunakea Summit & Stars Adventure offers an exciting experience for guests ages 16 and older to enjoy. The adventure includes a drive to the Mauna Kea summit to find picturesque views ideal for taking photos, a provided picnic-style dinner, a hooded parka and warm gloves, an interpretive guide of Hawaii’s spectacular cultural and geological history.

Good To Know

  • Tour duration: 7-8 hrs round trip.
  • Recommended for ages 16 and over.
  • Parkas provided.
  • View a sea of night stars at a 9,000-foot summit.
  • Interpretive guide provides unique insight into the culture and geologic history of Hawaii.
  • Enjoy a private picnic dinner at Historic Humuula Sheep Station, located at 7,000 feet elevation.

Description

from Big Island Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure
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' elevation 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.

Starting 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. 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 you make your way up, you'll be fascinated by your Interpretive Guide's knowledge of Hawaii's remarkable natural, cultural, and geologic history.

After sunset, we descend to the Visitor's Information Station at 9000' elevation. Here we set up our telescope and have a stargazing party. Wrapped warmly in Arctic parkas, enjoying hot beverages and chocolate macadamia nut cookies, you will marvel at the brilliance of the Hawaiian night sky. Your Interpretive Guide will share with you stories of the world of the observable universe and offer you a personal and educational look at the heavens.

Please note: The tour time can change/fluctuate according to the time of the sunset.

This tour is great for: Couples, sight-seers, and adventurers.

Schedule: Afternoon trips depart daily from Hawaii Forest and Trail Headquarters, Waikoloa Kings' Shops, and select resorts. Tour Duration is 7 - 8 hours round trip.

Rated: Easy to Moderate; ages 16 and over.

Included in the Tour: Hooded winter parka, hot picnic dinner at a private location, private star show with a telescope, hot cocoa, coffee, tea, and cookies.
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Menu:
Teriyaki Chicken (gluten-free) - Served with brown rice, carrot, zucchini, bok choy, yellow squash with a garlic & white wine sauce, and a caramelized pineapple garnish.
Kalbi Beef Short Ribs (gluten-free) - Served with brown rice, carrot, zucchini, bok choy, yellow squash with garlic & white wine sauce, and a caramelized pineapple garnish.
Vegetarian Thai Curry (gluten & dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan) - Served with brown rice, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, portobello mushroom, sugar snap peas, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, bok choy.

Group Size: Tour limited to a maximum of 12 guests.

Restrictions:
Physical: Persons with respiratory or heart conditions, pregnant women, or those in poor health should not access the summit. Scuba divers, please note that summit altitude is over 13,000 feet (4000 meters).
Age:Children under 16 are not allowed on summit tours.

What to bring and wear: Closed-toe shoes and long pants.

Temporary road closure:
Due to a temporary road closure, a modified itinerary referred to as Maunakea Sunset & Stargazing is being provided to all guests. All guests must call Hawaii Forest & Trail at (808) 331-8505 4 days in advance of the tour to confirm the modified itinerary.
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Big Island Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure is located at Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, Big Island, HI 96740
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Frequently Asked Questions about Big Island Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure

Are guests allowed to go into the observatories?
Some observatories are open to the public daily until 4 PM. As our tour arrives after this time, the observatories are closed to visitors.

How cold is it at the summit of Mauna Kea?
Average mean temperature is freezing.

Is the vehicle ride bumpy and windy?
The access road to the summit of Mauna Kea is four-wheel drive only, so it can be bumpy. Our custom off-road motor coaches will get you to the top and back in safety and comfort.

What kind of telescope is used for star gazing?
We utilize an 11” Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

What is the guide to guest ratio?
Our maximum guide to guest ratio is 1:14.

How many guests do take up per night?
Our permit allows for a maximum of 2 vehicles per night and our vans carry a maximum of 14 passengers.

Do we go up to Mauna Kea summit every night?
We go every night, weather permitting.

Are children allowed on this tour?
Children under 16 are not permitted on this tour due to altitude.

Is there much walking/hiking on this tour?
There is minimal walking on this tour, the maximum being about 150 yards.

I would like to see a specific astronomical event from the summit. How can I arrange this?
Check out www.space.com/nightsky for upcoming astronomical events, and whether they will be observable in the Hawaiian sky.

Will there be snow on our trip?
Snow is seasonal at Mauna Kea, with the heaviest snowfall occurring during the winter months.

What if it’s cloudy on Mauna Kea?
The summit of Mauna Kea is normally above the clouds. If the weather (clouds, snow, ice or high winds) cause us to cancel the tour, there is no charge, of course.