Sunrise or Sunset In Heaven: Mauna Kea Summit

If you haven’t been to the Mauna Kea summit for sunset or sunrise, you’re missing out! Our staff has traveled the globe, and we whole heartedly agree, that Mauna Kea has the best sunrises and sunsets in the world.

Sunset Above The Clouds

mauna kea summit

mauna kea summit sunset

How To Get There & What You Need:

You will need a 4WD or advanced hiking skills to get to the Mauna Kea summit to watch the sunrise or  sunset.

Take the Mauna Kea access road, you will first stop by the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center to get a safety debrief by one of the staffs. They also provide hot water at the visitor center. The visitor center is at an altitude of 9,200ft, so you might want to hike R1 or one of the many trails beginning at the visitors center before driving to the top, which is at about 13,800ft. It can be very cold at the top, so bring layers to dress warmly. Its also to remember higher altitudes mean more sun exposure, so wearing sun protection is important regardless of the temperature.

It’s Also About The Process

You might think you need to get to the summit in order to see the spectacular view, but that’s not the case with Mauna Kea. As you drive from the visitor center to the summit, you will overlook the clouds below you. The view is as magnificent as the summit top. Put on music and enjoy the ride.

mauna kea above clouds

mauna kea above clouds

If you choose to hike Mauna Kea we recommend researching her thouroughly before attempting a summit hike or run. Doing an accesnt at this elevation, is far more advanced that your average uphill hike. While the distance from the Vistors Center to The Summit via trail is just over 6 miles each way, the 4 thousand foot elevation gain beginning at aroudn 9 thousand feet at the Vistors Center makes this trail both strenous and extremely challenging. We recommend working with Hawaii Mountain Running for an affordable and safe summit hike.

If you want to learn about other things that you can do on the Big Island, we invite you to read: Top 33 things to do on the Big Island and Big Island Hawaii Map & 4 Day Trips You Can Take While Staying At Volcano Inn.