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Mauna Kea-Humuula Trail

Hawaii > The Big Island > Mauna Kea
Length6 mi
Elev. Gain4300 ft
Difficulty4 / 5
Rating7 / 10
Mauna Kea Summit Trail is an exceptional trail that climbs from 9,300 feet to 13,000 feet and weaves through an alpine desert with an ancient Hawaiian quarry, astronomical complex and so on.

The trail begins just a few yards above the Visitor's Information tower. At first the trail is very steep passing through a Mamane forest. Around 10,200 feet, you will find that the trail will take a Horseshoe Turn, and you will pass the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve and reach a prominent cinder cone called the Puu Keonehehee. You will pass three smaller cones, which were the products of the explosive stage of the volcano's evolution.

As the trail reaches the 11,000 to 12,500 mark, you will reach the Keanakakoi Adze Quarry, with piles of basalt chips and flakes, along with some partially completed adzes. As you near the summit, you will pass two prominent cinder cones the Puu Hau Kea and the Puu Waiau, to the left and you should take the trail saddled between these two cones, to reach the Lake Waiau.

Walk up a bit and you will reach the Mauna Kea Observatories. Thereafter, you should take a counterclockwise direction along the summit of the loop to reach the summit of Mauna Kea - a breathtaking view awaits you. To go back, hike back along the summit access road.

Best time to go
April through October

Register at the Visitor Information Station

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Hike Featured In...
Best Hiking Trips in Hawaii
By Pamela Wright
Trailhead Location
GPS Coordinates:
19° 45.735' N
155° 27.385' W

Driving Directions:
Take West on the Saddle Road from Hilo. Take a turn on Mauna Kea Access Road near the mile marker 28 and drive for 6 miles up, where you will reach the Information Centre.
Hiking In Paradise
Weather Report for Ookala, HI
Mostly clear with a 20 percent chance of showers. Haze after midnight. Lows around 67 at the shore to around 57 at 4000 feet. Southwest winds up to 10 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph.
Temperature: 55.9° F
Relative Humidity: 90%
Pressure: 30.17"
Dew Point: 53.0° F

Winds from the NNE at 5.0 mph gusting to 0.0 mph

Last Hour: 0.00"
Today: 0.00"

Sunrise: 6:47 AM
Sunset: 5:44 PM
Weather reported from Energy Lab, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kamuela, HI (KHIKAMUE2)
Mostly sunny. Haze through the day. A 50 percent chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs around 83 at the shore to around 69 at 4000 feet. South winds up to 10 mph with gusts to 30 mph shifting to the east with gusts to 25 mph in the afternoon.
Tuesday Night
Partly cloudy with isolated showers. Haze. Lows around 67 at the shore to around 52 at 4000 feet. Light winds. Chance of rain 20 percent.
Mostly cloudy. Occasional showers in the morning, then scattered showers in the afternoon. Highs 60 to 80. North winds up to 10 mph increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the late morning and afternoon. Gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Wednesday Night
Breezy. Mostly cloudy with scattered showers. Lows 45 to 70. North winds 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Weather information provided by Weather Underground. Current as of 12/12/2017 0:18 AM
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