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W. M. Keck Observatory

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NOTICE: Our Public Lobby is Waimea is currently closed.

Our visitor’s gallery at our telescope facility on maunakea is temporarily closed.  please check back for updates. ~mahalo.

The mission of W. M. Keck Observatory is to advance the frontiers of astronomy and share our discoveries with the world. We feel that one of the best ways to give back to our local community is to help schools and other youth groups learn how Hawaii is opening the Universe to the world. A committed team of our employees specializes in leading group activities for kids to teach them about the world-class science, technology and engineering that happens here every day in Waimea. We invite teachers and adult leaders of similar organizations to contact us and arrange a visit. We offer several options which are suitable for different groups. All activities are free of charge; however, due to demand we may not be able to grant every request.

W. M. Keck Observatory Headquarters

Our headquarters in the town of Waimea is currently CLOSED to the public as we undergo lobby renovations.  Mahalo for understanding.

Visiting the Summit of Maunakea

The summit of Maunakea provides dramatic scenery and an unforgettable visitor experience. Visitors with 4-wheel drive vehicles are permitted to drive to the 14,000-foot summit of Maunakea, weather permitting. At the summit, visit Keck Observatory’s visitor’s gallery with exhibits describing our research and operations. The gallery also contains two public restrooms and a viewing area with partial views of the Keck I telescope and dome (look for the blue door). Gallery hours are 9:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., Daily. If you have questions about the weather and road conditions, please call (808) 935-6268. Safety reminder: The summit of Maunakea at nearly 14,000-feet altitude, presents unique challenges to visitors. Visits to the summit require a 30 minute acclimatization stop at the 9,200-foot Onizuka Visitor’s Center, warm clothing for the summit, sunscreen for protection from excessive UV radiation, and water. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required beyond the 9,200 foot level as the air is too thin to adequately cool a vehicle’s brakes upon descent. The Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center , located at the 9,200-foot basecamp, and provides information about cultural, environmental, and geological features of Maunakea as well as information about the world-class astronomy it provides. After dark, there are free stargazing programs. Temperatures on the summit can fall to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or -4 degrees Celsius, within a matter of hours: it is highly recommended that all visitors to the summit take warm clothing and sturdy footgear sufficient to withstand the elements should the vehicle break down. High winds on the summit can often result in blowing snow, sleet, fog and sometimes, flying rocks. Winds can reach 150 mph. The summit of Maunakea is one of the most remote locations in the Islands. Medical and auto help is a minimum of two hours away. Most car rental companies void the rental contract if their cars are driven on Saddle Road and to the summit. It is a safety requirement of the road-maintenance organization for the summit that all vehicles driving up and down the mountain beyond the Hale Pohaku basecamp be four-wheel-drive vehicles. Caution is advised. Driving Directions To Keck Observatory HQ (via Google) To the Keck I and Keck II telescopes on Maunakea (via UH-IfA)

Useful Links

For Visiting W.M. Keck Observatory:

  • UH IFA Visitation Page
  • Summit Telescopes
  • Weather Center Current Conditions
  • Maunakea Management

List of other helpful astronomical education resources:

  • Akamai Workforce Initiative Program
  • WMKO Public Lectures
  • West Hawaii Astronomy Club (WHAC)
  • `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaii
  • Bishop Museum Planetarium
  • Polynesian Voyaging Society
  • Star charts
  • Heavens Above
  • Astronomy Society of the Pacific (ASP)
  • Sky & Telescope magazine
  • Astronomy magazine

Join Keck Nation Newsletter

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  • Mauna Kea Summit Adventures (4)

Mauna Kea Stargazing Tour & Summit Sunset Adventure

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Awesome - everything

A full package, 4.5 - 8.5 hour(s) incl. transportation, available daily, pick-up available, not accessible, what to expect.

  • Sunset at the summit: The most dramatic spectacle in Hawaii!
  • Guided stargazing with lasers and Celestron telescope at the Visitor Information Station
  • Duration: 7.5-8.5 hours
  • Pick-up Available from Kona Crossroads Shopping Center, The Queens Market Place, Saddle Road Junction (between Hwy 190 and 200) or Maunakea Recreation area
  • Dinner Package: Dinner includes a hearty portion of 3-cheese vegetable lasagna. Gourmet hot cocoa, coffee, and teas accompanied with biscotti while stargazing

Mauna Kea Sunset & Stargazing Tour with Dinner

Price per Adult/Child :

Mauna Kea Sunset & Stargazing Tour (Dinner not included)

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Pick-up from Kailua-Kona & Waikoloa

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Before sunset, stop at the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. Here you can see 3D models of the summit observatories, watch videos about Mauna Kea and the astronomical research going on at the summit, and look through a solar telescope.

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Upon arrival at the summit your guides will provide a short presentation on the Mauna Kea observatories. Then you'll have approximately 20 minutes before and after the sunset to take in the panoramic views and walk around the giant telescopes.

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After sunset, head back down to VIS for a stunning stargazing experience! Warm up with a hot beverage and watch as the guides use lasers to point out constellations and planets, then look through a Celestron telescope for a closer view.

Transportation add-ons

Pick-up/check-in time & location.

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Drop-off/Check-out Time & Location

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15:15-16:45

  • Island Lava Java Waikoloa

2

  • Oceanside parking lot by Denny's (look for Mauna Kea Summit Adventures parking signs)

3

  • Lower Dirt Parking Lot

4

  • Starbucks Coffee Shop

Location, direction and description

  • Pick-up times will vary from day to day depending on the location of the pick-up of and sunset times. Please be at your pick-up location 10 minutes prior to your scheduled pick-up time. Parking Information: Kona Crossroads Shopping Center: As you enter the parking lot, you will see the Domino’s Pizza and AutoZone store fronts to the right-hand (mountainside) of the shopping center, and a Denny’s restaurant on the left-hand (oceanside) of the shopping center. Please park your vehicle on the left-hand (oceanside) of this shopping center, and look for parking signs with the Mauna Kea Summit Adventures company logo on them. Queens Marketplace: Please park on the back (south) side of the mall. The pick-up is directly in front of the Starbucks Coffee store. Island Lava Java Waikoloa: The pick-up is directly in front of the Island Lava Java Waikoloa at the Waikoloa Highlands Center. Please do not leave valuables in your car.
  • Guests meeting the tour at the Maunakea Visitor Information Station must be sure to park in the designated Lower Dirt Parking Lot located approximately 100 yards below the visitors center. Once you park, look for a bronze-colored 14-passenger 4WD vans that say Mauna Kea Summit Adventures on the side. The van will be park in the paved parking lot above your designated parking area. Mauna_Kea_Visitors_Center.pdf

21:00-22:30

22:00-23:30, 21:30-23:00.

  • Return times will vary depending on the time of sunset and the drop-off location.

Important activity information

Restrictions.

  • Guests who are pregnant are not permitted to participate in this activity.
  • People 13 years old and above can participate in this activity.
  • Participants may not scuba dive within 24 hours of this activity due to the risk of decompression sickness.
  • Guests with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 40 or over should not make this trip.
  • Participants with any history of a respiratory problems (this includes pneumonia in the last 6 months, any lung conditions or surgeries) are not permitted to take this tour. Contact your physician if you have questions about traveling to this altitude.
  • Participants with any history of heart problems (this includes ANY heart surgery, stent, pacemaker, heart valve irregularities etc.) are not permitted to take this tour. Contact your physician if you have questions about traveling to this altitude.
  • Wheelchair Accessibility: Tour vehicle is not equipped with a lift. Must be able to get into the van with assistance, storage available for collapsible wheelchairs. Please indicate during booking for most convenient arrangements.
  • This activity is not wheelchair accessible.

Other requirements

  • Please call the activity provider the day before to reconfirm your booking. Your voucher has the necessary contact information listed.

Booking requirements (# of participants, vehicles, hours, etc.)

  • You can book a maximum of 8.

Required items to bring & attire

  • Closed toe shoes
  • The average temperature on top of Mauna Kea is 30°F and wind is common. Please wear long pants and closed toed shoes and bring any layering garments you may have.
  • Warm gloves

Additional notes

  • The activity schedule is subject to change or cancellation due to weather or traffic conditions.
  • The menu is subject to change without notice.
  • Road closures due to high winds near the summit may happen in the winter. If a road closure is discovered en route a shorter version of the tour will continue and guests will receive a partial refund. If a road closure is discovered before departure, guests will be contacted and given the option to cancel at no charge or receive a partial refund and still participate on an shorter tour. If you cannot be reached, your booking will be canceled and you will be given a full refund.
  • Beverages and snacks are available for purchase at Mauna Kea Visitor Center, and you are also welcome to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages if you wish.

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Overall rating

We had the best time Tour guide was so knowledgeable and friendly We learned so much about Hawaii and the big Island and astronomy On the way we learned so much Tour guide was exceptional - always told us what wa ... s coming - very organised - everything was like clockwork Everything was high quality and expert in every way I can think of nothing to improve

The guide was great and shared loads of interesting facts and stories about history, nature, culture, language, habits and astronomy. His knowledge and captivating way of presenting things were amazing. I also highly ap ... preciate his deep respect towards the Hawaiian culture. The trip was organized very professionally. The warm parkas were also highly appreciated. I highly recommend this service.

Amazing evening at Mauna Kea!

My husband and I had an amazing time with Fernando! He was an incredibly knowledgeable guide and made the trip very fun. If you have the opportunity to do the evening stargazing and sunset do so and request Fernando!

Activity Provider Mauna Kea Summit Adventures (Paradise Safaris)

Activity provider, payment / cancellation policy.

  • Credit card payment

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  • Any cancellations made after 15:00, 2 business days prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 100% of the total amount. (Parties of 4 or less) Any cancellations made after 15:00, 3 business days prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 100% of the total amount. (Parties of 5 or more) Any cancellations made after 15:00, 1 week prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 100% of the total amount. (Parties of 8-10) Any cancellations made after 15:00, 2 weeks prior to the activity will be subject to a charge of 100% of the total amount. (Parties of 11 or more)

Payment Methods

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Cancellation Policy

What will we see on this tour.

While driving up Saddle Road you'll have panoramic views of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Along the road you'll see black lava rock formed by Mauna Loa's eruptions in the last two hundred years. From the Mauna Kea Access Road you'll see many volcanic cones that once spewed lava. You will also get to watch the sunset over these volcanic slopes. At the summit you will see thirteen telescopes that make up the Mauna Kea Observatories (the observatories are closed to the public but you might get to see the domes open after sunset). At the Onizuka Visitor Information Station you will get to look through a solar telescope, watch a video about Mauna Kea and the observatory, and after sunset this is where the stargazing magic happens. The guide will operate a computerized Celestron telescope through which you can see stars, planets, distant galaxies, and the moon.

Will we get to look through the big telescopes on Mauna Kea?

No, the observatories have very limited public access. However, you might get to see the domes open after sunset.

Will there be any health risks linked to going up Mauna Kea?

Mauna Kea has 40% less oxygen than sea level and 40% less air pressure. This drop of vital oxygen can cause serious problems for persons with heart or lung issues, children, and women who are pregnant. Visitors in good health are also susceptible to altitude sickness and should use caution and abide by all rules and regulations of the tour. Next to having a good time, safety is the number one priority.

What type of vehicle will be used?

Built for comfort, the 14 passenger 4v4 Van Terra micro-coaches are equipped with air conditioning, stereo sound, PA, phone, first aid and oxygen, parkas, and a telescope. Each van can hold up to 14 people.

Will we be guaranteed to see stars?

Mauna Kea enjoys an average of 325 clear nights per year. Most of the inclement nights are easily predictable. The weather is monitored on a daily basis and if poor scenic conditions are likely, the trip will be cancelled and a full refund given (or reschedule if available). Like any high mountain there can be unpredictable and fast changing weather at any time.

What kind of equipment will be used?

Your guides will provide you with new Celestron CPC 1100 telescopes that are equipped with Starbright XL coatings for 10% more light throughput than ordinary instruments. These scopes are computer automated and have spectacular optics. Because they are bigger and have better optics they gather about 100% more light than telescopes used on other tours.

What jackets sizes are available?

The jackets sizes are as follows: Small ~145 lbs and under / ~63.5 kg Medium 140~175 lbs / ~77 kg Large 170~210 lbs / ~90.5 kg XL 200~260 lbs / ~ 113 kg

How far in advance should I book this activity?

We recommend booking at least 3 weeks in advance. If you have very specific schedule requirements and are not flexible, please book sooner. Last-minute bookings are often possible, but availability is limited.

How cold does it get on Mauna Kea?

Average temperatures can reach 32° Fahrenheit or 0° Celsius.

Please visit VELTRA Support page to send an inquiry about this activity.

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Mauna kea summit adventures other tours and activities, mauna kea summit sunset & stargazing tour with expert nature guide, mauna kea summit sunset & stargazing adventure with picnic dinner, 日本語ガイド&オムレツ昼食付き, eur 152.00~.

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Tour Details

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Mauna Kea Sunrise Sunset & Stars

Mauna Kea Stargazing

The most epic experience on Hawaii’s Big Island

The breathtaking view you'll never forget.

Watch an amazing Sunrise/Sunset from the summit of Mauna Kea, nearly 14,000 ft. above the Pacific Ocean. Located in the center of Hawai’i Island, Mauna Kea has an unobstructed view of the horizon and offers a breathtaking vista that is hard to match. This view, coupled with its famous clear skies and dry crisp air, creates the perfect condition for absolutely stunning scenery.

My God, it's full of stars!

Mauna Kea is also known as one of the best stargazing spots in the world for its air clarity and total darkness. Our tours include ample time to explore the amazing star-filled night sky from where ancient Hawaiians believed the earth meets the universe.

Please note;

  • Our tours do not include meals. We provide light snacks.
  • Please bring warm clothes to wear under the provided parka. Read the FAQ to learn more about our Mauna Kea Tours.
  • We strongly encourage you to bring water. Staying hydrated can help you reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
  • You will be standing outside for roughly an hour while stargazing. If you have difficulty standing, please let us know in advance.
  • Gratuity is not included in the tour price but tips are greatly appreciated.

*Children 12 or younger are not allowed on our tours due to the high altitude. Seniors 81 or older may only participate in our Private Charter Tours for our guides to be more attentive to their health during the tour. **If the number of participants does not reach 3 by 24 hours before the tour departs, the tour will be canceled. Customers who have already applied will have the option to pay the difference to avoid cancellation.

3 convenient locations to catch your tour van

We provide 3 convenient pickup points in Kailua-Kona, Waikoloa Beach Resort, and Onizuka Visitor Center. Select an ideal location according to where you are staying or your activity of the day.

Don’t have a car? Or just don’t feel like driving? No worries! We can pick you up at major hotels and condos on the west side of the island. (Subject to an additional fee)

E Ola Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is one of the most sacred sites for native Hawaiians and the Hawaiian culture. We are dedicated to promoting a deep appreciation of and respect for the natural beauty, culture, people, and history of Mauna Kea and Hawaiʻi Island. E Ola Mauna Kea – Let Mauna Kea Live!

We continue to receive and pass on the traditional teachings of Kumu Kaela Ching , our exclusive advisor to the Hawaiian culture.

Kumu Keala Ching

Tours operated by Taikobo Hawaii, Inc.

Taikobo Hawaii, Inc. has been providing guided tours to the summit of Mauna Kea since 1983 as well as other famous tourist destinations on the Big Island of Hawaii. We are one of the few companies that are officially authorized by Center for Maunakea Stewardship (part of the University of Hawaii at Hilo) to conduct commercial tours in this Hawaiian sanctuary.

We are dedicated to promoting a deep appreciation and respect for the natural beauty, culture, and history of the Big Island of Hawaii and the Hawaiian People by providing a variety of safe, enjoyable, and educational tours to visitors from all over the world, and by focusing company resources on the development of hospitable and knowledgeable guides and safe and comfortable tour vehicles.

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Book Our Private Airport Shuttle and Get $10 Off Our Mauna Kea Tours

Mauna Kea

The trip begins mid-afternoon with a pick-up at one of our central locations in Kailua Kona, the Queen’s Marketplace (Waikoloa Resort) Waikoloa Village (Lava Java) or The Gilbert Kahele Recreation Park. As we drive up the mountain, we learn about island culture, geography, geology and natural history.

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On the summit, your guide will point out the observatories as they begin to open and rotate into position. You’ll learn about famous observatories such as Keck, Subaru and Gemini. There is plenty of time for photos while the sunset transforms the area into a beautiful and quite unearthly spectacle. When the best of the color has past, we descend to mid-mountain, where the sky is equally clear but the climate and air density is much more comfortable for stargazing.

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* The Stargazing component of our adventure depends on natural conditions. Although more than 90% of our trips have fine stargazing conditions; MKSA does not guarantee the weather in any way.

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 What the Trip Includes:

  • Extremely informative narration from our highly trained guides. Learn all about the cultural and natural aspects of the island.
  • Convenient central pick-up points in Kailua Kona, Waikoloa Beach, Waikoloa Village or at the Gilbert Kahele Recreation Park
  • Custom built, 4X4, Mercedes Sprinter vans – the best option available for safe transport to the summit, and panoramic views
  • Superb scenery and photo opportunities with Sunset on the summit. Our guides can advise on getting the best images
  • Arctic style hooded parkas and (one time use) gloves
  • Hearty, 3 cheese, lasagna supper served at the Visitors Center about 1.5 hours before sunset
  • 11″ Celestron CPC 1100 fully computerized telescopes with premium oculars operated by our expert guides
  • A complete Stargazing program with visual and telescopic observations hosted by our expert guides (conditions permitting)
  • Gourmet hot cocoa, coffee or tea accompanied with biscotti to ward off the chill while stargazing

Book Online!

In addition to being flavorful and healthy, this delicious menu also travels well on the tour and will warm you up.

  • A hearty portion of 3 Cheese vegetable lasagna served with a big homemade chocolate brownie.
  • Gourmet hot cocoa, coffees and teas accompanied with biscotti while stargazing

Bring your own beverages (no alcohol). We do provide filtered water during supper. There are beverages and snacks available at the Visitors Center when it is open.

Option: You may delete the meal (for a savings)and bring your own.

2022-2023 Price- $281.73 plus taxes and fees

(effective 6/11/22- 6/10/23)

 An optional TIP of $5-10 per person for good service is customary in Hawaii and is very much appreciated by your guide.

Please ensure you read the policies stated in the Reservations page before booking your Mauna Kea adventure.

The Weather & Climate:

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We DO NOT guarantee the weather in any way but we do guarantee a professionally guided high mountain experience.

The Climate: The average temperature is 30F. (-2C.) and wind is common. Please wear pants and closed shoes and bring any layering garments you may have. We will supply warm, hooded parkas, and single use gloves.

For stargazing under 100% clear skies every day we recommend Imiloa Center in Hilo.

Cancellation Policy: (# of Passengers) 1-4: 24 hours 5-7: 48 hours 8-10: 1 week 11+: 2 weeks

Call (888) 322-2366 • local and international (808) 322-2366 • Fax (866) 329-5650

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Visiting Mauna Kea Observatories

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  • SIGHTSEEING

An Introduction to the 13 Observatories on Mauna Kea

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  • ART & CULTURE

The Institute for Astronomy at the U of Hawaii

Tune in to hawaii public radio stargazer program.

Mauna Kea Observatory

Go Stargazing at the top of Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea is the tallest sea mountain in the world, offering unprecedented views of the heavens above. So get ready for some stargazing like you’ve never seen before.

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Polynesian Voyaging and Wayfinding

Polynesian Voyaging was a nearly lost art and science that has been revived in recent years

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Mauna Kea Safety

Mauna Kea is the highest point in the state of Hawaii, that’s why it’s so important to stay safe and take every precaution before venturing up the summit.

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Mauna Kea: A Portal to the Universe

A highly regarded scientific site, Mauna Kea is one of the world’s most important astronomical research centers, allowing mankind a portal to see the Universe.

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Learn about the Flora & Fauna on Mauna Kea

The alpine environment that lies below Mauna Kea is home to startlingly unique and ruggedly-beautiful flora and fauna that you can’t find anywhere else.

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Hiking on Mauna Kea

There are two major hikes on Mauna Kea that attract most hikers: The full Mauna Kea Summit Trail and a shorter hike to Lake Waiau, both are amazing.

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Hawaiian Culture and Connection to Mauna Kea

Also known as Mauna O Wakea, or Mountain of the Sky Father, Mauna Kea, the White Mountain is an important cultural site.

Mauna Kea Summit Adventures

Offering a well-rounded tour experience that takes you to the top of the Big Island’s greatest geologic feature, Mauna Kea Summit Adventures makes reaching the summit easy.

Dining Options for Mauna Kea Summit

For all its splendor, Mauna Kea is a remote location without basic amenities like food and gas, so you will want to fill up and stock up before you go.

hawaii observatory tour

The Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii is one of the world’s most influential and impactful astronomical research centers.

A brief, entertaining look at the world of astronomy, the Stargazer Radio Program is an excellent listen for astronomy buffs and lay people alike.

hawaii observatory tour

More than 11 countries, non-profit institutions, and scientific cooperatives have established, funded, and maintained 13 telescopes atop Mauna Kea.

Kilauea glow.....#hawaii #hawaiilife #hi #aloha #nationalpark #findyourpark #nakedhawaii #discoverhawaii #visithawaii #luckywelivehawaii #hawaiiisland #explorehawaii #alohaoutdoors #hawaiiunchained #venturehawaii #nature #naturephotography #wanderlust #travel #bigisland #thebigisland #bigislandguide #volcano #kilauea

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Observatory in Big Island

Are you interested in astronomy? Many people love to see stars, galaxies, and the beautiful world above the sky, but they weren't getting any opportunity to observe carefully. But, Hawaii gives you this most significant chance of stargazing and feel above the world with its Big Island observatory tour. The Maunkea Observations has recently allowed local residents of Hawaii to come and observe everything being at the top of the highest mountain of Hawaii. It’s a treat for astronomy lovers because they can see the culture closely with telescopes. But going for, such a hilarious adventure need a lot of knowledge. This post has some things that you must know before setting off.

Things to know for Big Island observatory tour

You can drive anytime to the summit in your car if the weather is clear. Also, your vehicle must be appropriate for this journey. Some things that you should follow during Big Island observatory tour are:

1. Stop at the visitor station

Though you want to reach there as soon as possible but stop at the visitor's station for 30minutes. This is for acclimatizing the changing altitude. The summit is about 4250 m above, which can cause health risks like breathing problem and much more. It can be avoided with stops.

2. You should have to come back after sunset

At the summit, people taking telescopes with them are returned to home after sunset. So, if you are visiting the mountain, come back early.

3. Dress warm and comfortably

You may think that it's a natural temperature, but once after the sunset, the temperature goes down. For protecting yourself in this extreme weather bring your warm clothes and a lot of snacks.

4. Take care of weather

Most of the time, the road towards the summit is closed, and visitors are sent back because of bad weather. If you are going for this tour, try to check the weather report first for a better journey.

These are some facts that you must know during Big Island observatory tour. If you want us to help you on this tour, contact us, we are ready to help you.

Big Island vacations tours and things to do, Big Island activities deals, Big Island wedding venue, Big Island photography Kailua Kona Hawaii Hilo 

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Maunakea Summit & Stars

Mauna kea stargazing tour.

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  • Duration:  7-8 hrs
  • Rated:  Easy to Moderate. Ages 13+
  • Group Size:  Max 12

Our journey from sea level to the nearly 14,000-foot summit of Maunakea reveals the wonders and world-class clarity of the Hawaiian night sky.

Book Public Tour!

Maunakea Summit & Stars Highlights:

  • Enjoy a warm picnic dinner and learn about Hawaiian star navigation.
  • Learn about the historical accounts of early travelers through the mountain regions
  • Delight in the awe-inspiring Hawaiian sunset at the top of Maunakea, the highest point in the Pacific
  • Descend to a lower elevation after the sun sets and sip hot chocolate during a private star show with our 11” Celestron telescope
  • View deep space objects with our Stellina digital telescope and share captured images of the Hawaiian night sky with your friends & family

Maunakea Summit & Stars Give Back Experience

If you don’t see your dates available, check out our Maunakea Give Back Experience available on Wednesday’s only. It includes our Maunakea tour with a volunteer opportunity to help restore an endangered native Hawaiian dry forest.

Click the button below to check availability and learn more!

Book Maunakea Giveback Experience

Please read restrictions and FAQ carefully before booking this experience.

Time: Tour is approx.  7-8 hours. Travel time round-trip is approx. 3.5 hours from Waikoloa resorts Restrictions: Weather changes can occur quickly, and the access road to the summit can close without warning; therefore we cannot guarantee access to the summit or favorable conditions . Guests should be able to walk on uneven or rocky terrain. The temperature can dip below freezing when at high elevations on the mountain. We sometimes encounter cold, wet, or muddy conditions. Due to the high altitude, this tour is not advised for those with respiratory, circulatory or heart conditions, pregnancy, or poor health . If you plan to scuba dive, do not plan to go to the summit within 24 hours after you dive due to the altitude. No children under 13. Other tour restrictions may apply – please contact us at 808.331.8505 for more information. What to Bring & Wear: Reusable water bottle, Closed-toe shoes, Warm Socks and/or leggings, long pants, and a sweatshirt or sweater.  Winter parkas and gloves are provided.

  • Are guests allowed to go into the observatories? There are currently no observatories open to the public.
  • How cold is it at the summit of Maunakea? Average mean temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 Celsius.
  • Is the vehicle ride bumpy and windy? For safety reasons the access road to the summit of Maunakea requires a four-wheel drive, so it can be bumpy. Our custom off-road motor coaches will get you to the top and back as comfortably as possible.
  • What kind of telescope is used for stargazing? We utilize an 11” Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. We also use a Stellina digital telescope to view & take photographs of deep space objects that will be emailed to you to keep & share.
  • What is the guide to guest ratio? Our maximum guide to guest ratio is 1:12.
  • How many guests do you take up per night? Our permit allows for a maximum of 2 vehicles per night, and our vehicles carry a maximum of 12 passengers each.
  • Do you go up to Maunakea summit every night? We go Monday through Saturday night, weather permitting.
  • Are children allowed on this tour? Children under 13 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.
  • Will I able to hike & explore the summit on my own? Unfortunately, due to safety & permitting restrictions, guests are unable to explore the summit before sunset on their own. Our guests will need to stay near our guides & vehicles while on the tour.
  • I would like to see a specific astronomical event from the summit. How can I arrange this?  Check out  Bishop Museum - Astronomy for upcoming celestial 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 Maunakea? The summit and visitor center areas of Maunakea are generally above the clouds. Due to our high demand for this experience and the constraints of our permit, we are often unable to reschedule guests when cancellations occur. Therefore we try to avoid canceling tours if we can safely reach the visitor's center and/or summit. Conditions constantly change on the mountain, and the weather is part of the adventure.
  • Can I join the tour from Hilo? This tour only departs from Kona and there is no safe and legal place for you to leave your vehicle along the Saddle road late at night.  The nearest meeting location for Hilo based guests is the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy (also referred to as the Maunakea Visitors Center) which is located on Mauankea itself.  Please note, ride share options (Uber, Lyft) are NOT recommended due to the remote location.   If you have any additional questions please contact our office for more details.

Gear Provided

Introducing the i‘iwi fund.

Proceeds from our activities and guest contributions support local Non-Profit conservation efforts.

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Check out our New Maunakea Summit & Stars Giveback Experience!

This exclusive giveback opportunity is only available on Wednesdays and features all the highlights of our Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Adventure with a unique opportunity to stop at a critically endangered Native Dry Forest Habitat and support the organization that is revitalizing these long-neglected lands.

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Invitation to Talk Story with the Mauna Kea Observatories

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explore the universe

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our discoveries

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Stewardship.

We strive to strengthen the future of Maunakea as a natural, cultural, and scientific environment. Through community engagement and stewardship that protects, preserves, and enhances Maunakea, we provide a world-class center dedicated to education, research, and astronomy for all of Hawai‘i.

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Mauna Loa Observatory

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Top ways to experience Mauna Loa Observatory and nearby attractions

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Mauna Loa Observatory - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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COMMENTS

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  11. Trip Details & Price

    2022-2023 Price- $281.73 plus taxes and fees. (effective 6/11/22- 6/10/23) Book Online. An optional TIP of $5-10 per person for good service is customary in Hawaii and is very much appreciated by your guide. Please ensure you read the policies stated in the Reservations page before booking your Mauna Kea adventure.

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    But, Hawaii gives you this most significant chance of stargazing and feel above the world with its Big Island observatory tour. The Maunkea Observations has recently allowed local residents of Hawaii to come and observe everything being at the top of the highest mountain of Hawaii. It's a treat for astronomy lovers because they can see the ...

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    Best Mauna Kea Summit Tour (Free sunset and star photo!) 593. The 13,803-foot (4,207.3-meter) peak of Mauna Kea is Hawaii's highest point, and a popular spot for star-gazing. With this tour, travel up to the summit with your guide, stop for dinner at the Onizuka Astronomy Complex, then arrive at the summit in time to watch the sunset.

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    Our journey from sea level to the nearly 14,000-foot summit of Maunakea reveals the wonders and world-class clarity of the Hawaiian night sky. Book Public Tour! Maunakea Summit & Stars Highlights: Enjoy a warm picnic dinner and learn about Hawaiian star navigation. Learn about the historical accounts of early travelers through the mountain regions

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  19. Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

    Experience big skies and incredible nighttime views on this Mauna Kea stargazing trip with a small group. Experience a warm pre-trip picnic, proceeded by a ride in a 4x4 luxury van to the summit of the Big Island's tallest peak. After admiring a sunset view, continue down to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) for a stargazing session, complete with a telescope, hot chocolate, and dessert. The trip also ...

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