Around Our Mauna Kea Vacation Rental
It’s one of the most famous mountains in the world, as well as one of the most crucial for science. As the tallest mountain in Hawaiʻi, and far from city lights, Mauna Kea is one of the best places on earth from which to observe the heavens. The sunsets seen from here are truly like no other; stay at one of our great Mauna Kea vacation rentals and explore the majesty of the mountain!
Before you head up the mountain, be sure to fill up on gas in Hilo, Waikoloa Village, or Waimea, as there are no stations on the route. This is also a good opportunity to stock up on food and beverages for your adventure, although there are some small snacks available at the Visitor Information Station. Once you’re on your way, there are several different areas to visit on Mauna Kea. Start with a rest stop at the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area, a park on Saddle Road near the junction to the summit. It has a great playground and bathrooms, and it’s a good place to put on your winter clothes before heading further up the mountain. Yes, if you’re planning to visit Mauna Kea’s summit, even in summer, you should plan to pack some winter gear for your Hawaiian vacation! Daytime temperatures can range from freezing to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, with frequently strong winds making it feel even colder. If you didn’t think it snowed in Hawaii, think again! The summit of Mauna Kea is the one place in Hawaii where you can see powdery white. Spend the morning splashing in the surf, and only a short while later, make snowballs on the summit of Mauna Kea!
After bundling up and continuing on your journey to one of our Mauna Kea beach vacation rentals, you will come to the Mauna Kea visitor’s center, the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station (VIS). At 9,200 feet, this is the furthest you’ll be able to drive in most vehicles (and if the summit road is closed due to weather, this is the furthest you’ll get, period). The Visitor’s Center is a very worthy destination, though, as it’s packed with information and the staff is very knowledgeable. During daylight hours, a solar telescope is available for viewing the sun – an interesting learning opportunity for all ages. After dark, they pull out some big telescopes for viewing the stars. This is known as one of the best amateur stargazing locations in the world! There’s also a great spot to watch an amazing sunset from here, and the 9,200-foot elevation is considered safe for most visitors.
The summit itself is a worthwhile journey for those who can make the trip. It’s not advised for pregnant women, children under 16, or people with heart problems, as there’s 40% less oxygen here than at sea level. Altitude sickness is a realistic possibility, as the summit of Mauna Kea is one of the only places in the world that requires a drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in just two hours, so be sure to take this into consideration if you’re contemplating a trip to the summit. Access is limited to 4-wheel drive vehicles, and many car rental companies restrict drivers from taking their vehicles along this route, so numerous visitors choose to travel to the summit with a tour group. These pick up passengers in Kona, Waikoloa, or Hilo, so arrangements must be made in advance. There is truly nothing like it: the nearly-always clear skies here, devoid of light pollution, make it one of the best observatories on the planet.
Even if you don’t plan on ascending all the way to the summit, a trip up the legendary Mauna Kea is well worth it. Choose one of our Mauna Kea vacation rentals, and enjoy your visit to this special mountain!
Contact Us to Book Your Hawaii Condo Rental
At I Love Hawaii, we have a variety of vacation rentals available on the Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. Whether you’re exploring nature at its rawest at Volcano National Park on the Big Island, surfing in Oahu’s Waikiki, catching the sunrise at Haleakala on Maui, or gazing out over the Grand Canyon of the Pacific on Kauai, our Mauna Kea beach vacation rentals will ensure complete comfort during your island stay. Many of our rentals offer full kitchens, island-inspired décor, breezy lanais, and swimming pools. Please contact us to make your Hawaii condo rental booking and to get started on planning your ideal Hawaiian getaway!