8 hrs
Minimum Age
Big Island

Maunakea Summit & Stars

Our journey from sea level to the nearly 14,000-foot summit of Maunakea reveals the wonders and world-class clarity of the Hawaiian night sky.

Highlights include:

  • Enjoy a warm picnic dinner at our private location and learn about Hawaiian star navigation.
  • Learn about the historical accounts of early travelers through the mountain regions
  • Delight in the awe-inspiring Hawaiian sunset at the top of Maunakea, the highest point in the Pacific
  • Descend to a lower elevation at 9,000 ft. as the sun slips over the horizon
  • Sip hot chocolate during a private star show with our 11” Celestron telescope


DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Afternoon trips depart daily from Hawaii Forest & Trail in Kona, Queen’s Marketplace in Waikoloa Beach Resort, and Lava Java located in the Waikoloa Village Shopping Center. 7 – 8 hours round trip.

73-5593 A Olowalu Street, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740

DEPARTURE TIME Please arrive promptly 15-30 minutes before your adventure.
WHATS INCLUDED Picnic style dinner, assorted teas, hot chocolate, and dessert. Options – Teriyaki Chicken (gluten-free), Kalbi Beef Short Ribs (GF), or Vegetarian Thai Curry (GF & dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan). Chicken and beef are served with brown rice, carrot, zucchini, bok choy, and yellow squash with a garlic & white wine sauce and a caramelized pineapple garnish. Curry includes brown rice, bell peppers, portobello mushroom, snap peas, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, onion & bok choy.

We provide warm wear including, hooded parkas and gloves.

  • Customers will receive a full refund with 24 hours notice of cancellation.
  • Private tours: Customers will receive a full refund with 72 hours notice of cancellation.

Cancellations within the cancellation period and “no-shows” will be charged the FULL AMOUNT of the tour.

Weather changes can occur quickly, and the access road to the summit can close without warning; therefore we cannot guarantee access to the summit or favorable conditions. Guests should be able to walk on uneven or rocky terrain. The temperature can dip below freezing when at high elevations on the mountain. We sometimes encounter cold, wet, or muddy conditions. Due to the high altitude, this tour is not advised for those with respiratory, circulatory, or heart conditions, pregnancy, or poor health. If you plan to scuba dive, do not plan to go to the summit within 24 hours after you dive due to the altitude. No children under 16.

Maunakea Summit & Stars

Ages 16 and older.

This adventure is operated by Hawaii Forest & Trail

Are guests allowed to go into the observatories?

There are currently no observatories open to the public.

How cold is it at the summit of Maunakea?

The average mean temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 Celsius.

Is the vehicle ride bumpy and windy?

For safety reasons the access road to the summit of Maunakea requires a four-wheel drive, so it can be bumpy. Our custom off-road motor coaches will get you to the top and back as comfortably as possible.

What kind of telescope is used for stargazing?

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 you take up per night?

Our permit allows for a maximum of 2 vehicles per night, and our vehicles carry a maximum of 14 passengers each.

Do you go up to the Maunakea 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  Bishop Museum – Astronomy for upcoming celestial 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 Maunakea? 

The summit and visitor center areas of Maunakea are generally above the clouds. Due to our high demand for this experience and the constraints of our permit, we are often unable to reschedule guests when cancellations occur. Therefore we try to avoid canceling tours if we can safely reach the visitor’s center and/or summit. Conditions constantly change on the mountain, and the weather is part of the adventure.

Can I join the tour from Hilo? 

This tour only departs from Kona; our dinner location does not allow private vehicle parking, and there is no safe and legal place for you to leave your vehicle along the Saddle road late at night. Additionally, our permit does not allow guests to meet us at the Maunakea Visitor Information Center.