Mauna Kea

Featured photo of Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano, is one of the highest island mountains in the world. Its is located on the main island of Hawaii along with its slightly smaller neighboring mountain, Mauna Loa (13,667 ft.). If Mauna Kea's height is measured from its base (18,000 feet below sea level), it surpasses even Mount Everest, and is the world's highest mountain (31,796 ft.). Although there is no historical record of Mauna Kea's eruption, geologic evidence suggests that the volcano last erupted around 1650, and eruptions are present in traditional Hawaiian folklore. According to legend, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa were the domains of two opposing goddesses, Poliahu and Pele respectively. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were produced from their violent rivalry.

Elevation (feet): 13,796
Elevation (meters): 4,205
Continent: North America
Country: United States
State: Hawaii
Latitude: 19.8236
Longitude: -155.471
Difficulty: Walk up
Best months for climbing: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
Volcanic status: Dormant
Nearest major airport: Honolulu, Hawaii
Convenient Center: Hilo, Hawaii

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 19 trip reports for Mauna Kea.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #22452 - by Steve Gruhn on Nov 19, 2013
    Walked up to the summit from the parking area near the telescopes with my parents, Merlyn and Jan Gruhn.
  • Log #22450 - by Charlie Russell on Nov 17, 2013
    Service road to the observatories then short summit hike.
  • Log #21850 - by Caj E Svensson on Jan 08, 2010
    Eva and I hiked from the visitor center to the summit in good conditions. This was our last US state highpoint and we stood on top of it with tears in the eyes. No. 50 in the bag after seven years...
  • Log #21460 - by an anonymous user on Oct 03, 2008
    it was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Log #20476 - by Donald Hall on Nov 06, 2006
    Driving to the top of Mauna Kea was the highlight of our trip to Hawaii three days before the 6.7 magnitude earthquake. Before the sunset, we could see the island of Mauai in the distance.
  • Log #19348 - by Diane on Sep 27, 2006
    My husband and I were not fit enough to climb, but wanted to experience this mountain. We took a tour with Hawaii Forest & Trail and acclimated for about 45 minutes at about 8,000 feet, which didn't...
  • Log #5364 - by Steve on Oct 13, 2004
    My wife and I climbed from the observatory for about 4 hours, slow and steady. On the way, we came across the 2nd highest fresh water lake in the world! Great view, hard to believe how cold Hawaii...
  • Log #5366 - by Harlan M. Reymont on Sep 18, 2004
    Although it was only 200 yards from the car, and took a mere 3 minutes to get to the peak, the experience was well worth it. If you ever get a chance to go to the big island, I suggest that you take...
  • Log #5387 - by Steve Sahetapy-Engel on Sep 15, 2004
    Been up there couple of times. Watched sunset from up there. It was truly amazing. Never been up there when it snowed yet though.
  • Log #5386 - by Juston on Sep 14, 2004
    Mauna Kea is a mystical place. You can truely feel the energy fromthe mountain. The views over the ocean and the other islands in one of the most awe inspiring in the world. It's also fun to say...
  • Log #5384 - by Jeff Watkins on Sep 12, 2004
    Hiked down from the road near the observatories, across the saddle, and up the cone to the south. Fantastic view and panorama in all directions. Wind is cold!
  • Log #5383 - by Mark on Sep 11, 2004
    Put the trip together last minute with my friend Jeff. Drove from Kona to parking area and began hike at 9 AM. Fantastic landscape, especially the small snow-melt lake on the shoulder. Summited...
  • Log #5379 - by Jay Meyer on Sep 07, 2004
    This was a memorable trip up a very unusual and starkly beautiful 4,000+ meter peak. For the most part I simply hiked up the access road, though I did cutoff a few of the switchbacks by scrambling up...
  • Log #5378 - by Sid Hayes on Sep 06, 2004
    Climbed to summit from visitor center on trail in 1:30 and down the road. The most desolate landscape I have ever seen.
  • Log #5375 - by David Stockton on Sep 03, 2004
    I made both of my trips to the summit by way of a Jeep Wrangler my wife and I rented for our week's vacation to the Big Island, and maybe that's cheating, but standing on the summit of Mauna Kea was...
  • Log #5372 - by an anonymous user on Aug 31, 2004
    Wow, what a place! The whole island is amazing, it has everything from S. American lush rain forests, to Southwest US scrub brush and desert landscapes, to white/black/green sand beaches, snowy...
  • Log #5371 - by an anonymous user on Aug 30, 2004
    Great! Hiked it on a crisp day. Great experience, highly recommended. Rode down with a Park Ranger who kept offering us a ride on the way up.
  • Log #5368 - by an anonymous user on Aug 27, 2004
    Me and my dad summited by driving. 49 high points to go.
  • Log #5367 - by Nobody on July 25, 2004
    Deleted.