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.
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.