Maunakea Sunrise Adventure in Kailua-Kona, HI

Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 A Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, HI 96740
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Overview

Hike to the top of the tallest volcano on Earth and see a sunrise of epic proportions. This 7-hour excursion includes breakfast at the Onizuka Visitors Center, transportation to the volcano, and parkas. Wake up early and dress warmly for this one-of-a-kind tour to the top of a volcano. Throughout your adventure, your knowledgeable tour guide will educate you on Hawaii’s history, culture, and more.

Good To Know

from Ashley, one of our Kailua-Kona Travel Experts
  • A complimentary breakfast is included in the tour.
  • Tour duration: approximately 7 hours.
  • Dress warmly as temperatures in the early morning can be chilly.
  • Recommended for ages 16 and up.
  • Minimal walking happens on this tour. Transportation is bumpy, however.

Description

from Maunakea Sunrise Adventure
Start your Hawaiian day like never before...from the top of the tallest volcano on earth. Your journey begins early in the morning while the rest of the island sleeps. After a brief stop at the Ellison Onizuka Visitor's Information Station to acclimate and serve hot drinks, you then head to the summit to watch the first rays of dawn crawl across the landscape. See the morning sky light up in brilliant shades of red, orange, purple, and blue. On the way down, learn about the cultural and scientific significance of the mountain, as you past the wold's greatest collection of telescopes. You'll drop back down to 9,000 feet elevation where a tasty continental breakfast will be served before you have the opportunity to walk the endangered Mauna Kea Silversword enclosure, and view the exhibits of the visitor's center.

Highlights:
- See the night sky on the slope of Maunakea before the day's first light
- Take in the sunrise at the top of Maunakea, amidst the world's largest collection of research telescopes
- Enjoy breakfast at Onizuka visitors center followed by a short walk through the Maunakea Silversword enclosure.

Continental Breakfast: Assorted sliced fresh fruit, fresh baked banana bread, croissants, boiled egg, yogurt, granola, 100% Kona Coffee, Hot Cocoa & Assorted teas.

Tour Duration: 7 hours

Restrictions & Recommendations: Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain. We sometimes encounter cool, wet or muddy conditions. Because of high altitude this tour is not advised for those with respiratory, circulatory or heart conditions, pregnancy or poor health. Scuba divers should be aware of altitude dangers. No children under 16. Other tour restrictions may apply.

Guests are provided hooded parkas, but should bring a sweater or jacket; wear long pants and covered walking shoes with warm socks.

Big Island Customer Reviews

Have you been to Maunakea Sunrise Adventure? Share your knowledge and be the first to review this.
TripAdvisor Reviews
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Traderjoey
Chicago, Illinois
"The stars, the sun and Kim...."
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 22, 2019 NEW
We took the early morning star gazing and Mauna Kea Sunrise tour. At over $200 per person plus tip, it wasn’t cheap, but I’ll remember the night, and in the end isn’t that what it is all about? Even with a few caveats it was very memorable and we were all glad we did it. The skies were clear and constellations were incredible. We had a little less than a half moon, beware of the moon, we were fine. Sunrise over the clouds is something you won’t forget. I wish there was less traveling and more time at both spots. And now the small details: We showed up at 2:40 as requested but didn’t leave until after 3 and would have loved to have hit my snooze a couple of more times instead of waiting to rollout. We drove to 2 other pickups along the way. We drove up the mountain and we drove down the mountain and then to breakfast and then to drop off people at the other 2 locations. So you are in the van a very long time. You will spend the majority of time in the van. Anyways, layer up, or wear there parkas, it will get cold. I read about brownies, we never saw that. I heard and read about telescopes or binoculars to view the stars, we never saw either. Kim our guide did a very nice job with the laser point. Kim who I gave a tongue in cheek hard time for being “disgusting happy” at 3 AM was indeed a bowl of sunshine. My wife and I spent a lot of time asking her questions and just engaging in conversation during down time. When my daughter’s special meal didn’t show up, Kim gave her, her own breakfast sandwich. She probably does a lot of little things like that, it’s nice to see that what she does comes so effortlessly. I hope the company recognizes her as an asset.
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David B
"We saw the palia along with more than 30 other species including the pueo and Hawaii amakihi"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 21, 2019 NEW
This was the second time that my wife and I have gone on a birding trip with Hawaii Forest and Trail. It was excellent and I would recommend Hawaii Forest and Trail for anyone who is interested in seeing birds on the Big Island, especially rare endemic Hawaiian birds. Our goal on this trip was to see the palila, a Hawaiian honeycreeper, of which there are only about 1,000 left in the wild. Taj, our bird guide made it happen! We saw the palia along with more than 30 other species including the pueo and Hawaii amakihi. Taj has a wealth of knowledge, not only of birds, but plants, history, culture, and the Hawaiian language. This was a full 12 hour day beginning at 6:00am and we hiked 7 miles over some rough terrain. We will definitely go with Hawaii Forest and Trail again.
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CCSusan
Washington DC, District of Columbia
"Mauna Kea Summit Tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 20, 2019 NEW
My husband and I really enjoyed our Mauna Kea Summit and Stars tour with Geraldo. He is an excellent guide who is full of energy and endlessly positive. He shared lots of insights on the native Hawaiian culture and the relationship of this culture with Mauna Kea. That added a richness to our experience. He also taught us a lot about the amazing array of stars that are visible from outside of the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. He made the trip worthwhile even though we won't able to get to the summit since the road was closed above the Visitor Center because of ice.
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Lava031919
"Volcano tour"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 19, 2019 NEW
2nd time using organization. Melanie and Taz are awesome! Friendly & knowledgeable!! Will use again!!
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AK907Angela
Anchorage, Alaska
"Awesome Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure"
TripAdvisor user rating 5 out of 5
Reviewed March 19, 2019 NEW
Our group of four participated in the Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure last night. Justin was our trusted leader & guide. From the very start, he was friendly, upbeat and learned all of our (sometimes unique and hard-to-pronounce) names. He outlined our itinerary for the day, explaining where we would stop, bathroom breaks, meal plans and, ultimately, what to expect for our sunset & Star-gazing experience. Every aspect of the trip was carefully orchestrated for efficiency, timeliness and fun. We had a great time hearing about the geologic history of the island, the evolution of the land, vulcanology, and Justin’s personal experiences with them all. Our group was 14 people from all over the world and Justin was a effective host / facilitator, encouraging us to get to know one another and then including everyone to share their personal backgrounds. Ultimately, I’d recommend this experience to the amateur astronomer, geologist, naturalist, scientist, or any small group looking for a cool (literally COLD 😉), nighttime excursion. Couple of tips: Long pants, warm socks, plenty of layers, and closed-toed, solid shoes (not a lightweight air-hole, mesh sneaker!) are an absolute must! Lastly, spend a couple minutes reading about altitude change & it’s effects. It effected us all differently. Some felt dizzy, others mildly nauseated, and others mildly drunk and tipsy. We all felt normal by the time we hit the visitor center at 9,000 feet. To break it down: Overall Experience: Five stars Tour Guide: Five Stars Bathroom trip frequency: Five Stars Food: 4.5 stars - Big portions, good flavors, but served at about 4pm. Eat a light lunch or late brunch beforehand. Some people in our group had only just finished lunch and skipped their meal. Would definitely go again! Angela from Alaska
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Maunakea Sunrise Adventure is located at Hawaii Forest & Trail73-5593 A Olowalu StreetKailua-Kona, HI 96740
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Frequently Asked Questions about Maunakea Sunrise Adventure

Are guests allowed to go into the observatories? 
There are currently no observatories open to the public during the time we are on the mountain.

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? 
The access road to the summit of Maunakea is four-wheel drive only, so it can be bumpy. Our custom off-road motor coaches will get you to the top and back as comfortably as possible

Will there be star gazing? 
You will have the opportunity to see the night's sky before the first light from the visitor's center at 9,000 feet, your guide will point out some points of interest, but we will not be viewing stars with a telescope.

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

Are children allowed on this tour? 
Children under 13 are not permitted on this tour due to altitude. Children 13 to 15 require an additional waiver signed by their parents.

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

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

What if it’s cloudy on Maunakea? 
The summit of Maunakea is normally above the clouds. We cannot always predict the weather however, if the weather (clouds, snow, ice or high winds) cause us to cancel the tour, you will not be charged.

Is food included?
Yes. Guests enjoy a continental breakfast at the Onizuka Visitors Center. Breakfast includes assorted sliced fresh fruit, fresh baked banana bread , croissants, boiled egg, yogurt, granola, 100% Kona Coffee, Hot Cocoa & Assorted Teas.

Are guests provided with any gear?
Guests are provided with hooded parkas.

What should I wear/bring on this tour?
It is recommended that guests bring a sweater or jacket and wear long pants and covered walking shoes with warm socks.

Are there any health restrictions for this tour?
Yes. Guests should be able to hike on uneven or rocky terrain. We sometimes encounter cool, wet or muddy conditions. Because of high altitude this tour is not advised for those with respiratory, circulatory or heart conditions, pregnancy or poor health. Scuba divers should be aware of altitude dangers.