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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
Partly cloudy with scattered showers. Lows around 69 at the shore to around 55 at 4000 feet. West winds around 10 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent.
Temperature: 65.7° F
Relative Humidity: 83%
Pressure: 30.22"
Dew Point: 60.4° F

Winds from the NE at 16.0 mph gusting to 0.0 mph

Last Hour: 0.00"
Today: 0.00"

Sunrise: 6:18 AM
Sunset: 5:53 PM
Weather reported from Energy Lab, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Kamuela, HI (KHIKAMUE2)
Mostly cloudy. Scattered showers in the morning, then showers likely in the afternoon. Haze through the day. Highs around 81 at the shore to around 70 at 4000 feet. Light winds becoming southeast around 10 mph in the afternoon. Gusts up to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Sunday Night
Mostly cloudy with showers likely. Haze. Lows around 72 at the shore to around 58 at 4000 feet. South winds around 10 mph with gusts to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Mostly cloudy. Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the morning, then occasional showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Haze through the day. Locally heavy rainfall possible. Highs 69 to 86. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Gusts up to 30 mph increasing to 45 mph in the afternoon. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Monday Night
Cloudy with occasional showers and isolated thunderstorms. Haze. Locally heavy rainfall possible. Lows 52 to 74. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Gusts up to 50 mph decreasing to 40 mph early in the morning. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Weather information provided by Weather Underground. Current as of 10/22/2017 10:07 PM
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