Mauna Kea Trail

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The Mauna Kea Trail is considered the easiest route to hike to the summit of Mauna Kea volcano, the highest volcano on the island of Hawaʻi. The trail is 6 mi (10 km) long and loosely follows an unmaintained dirt road. Iron poles mark the path every 500 ft (152 m).

The trail starts at the Visitor Information Station at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy at 9,200 ft (2,804 m), at 19°45′42″N 155°27′22″W / 19.76167°N 155.45611°W / 19.76167; -155.45611 (Mauna Kea Trail head). The trailhead is reached by car from the Saddle Road (Hawaii route 200) and then turning north on the Mauna Kea access road. From 10,000 to 11,000 ft (3,048 to 3,353 m) the path consists of scree. From 11,000 to 12,800 ft (3,353 to 3,901 m) the area is predominantly a'a lava flows and is not as steep. At 13,130 ft (4,002 m) the road forks, with one path going to Lake Waiau and the other fork to the summit.

The summit region is typically very cold (winter storms can drop up to 2 feet of snow on January and February), and sunscreen for protection from UV rays is recommended.[1] Water is also recommended, although Lake Waiau is also drinkable. Also, because of the atmosphere above Mauna Kea, there are many large telescopes and other space observation instruments.[2]


  1. ^ "Mauna Kea". Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mauna Kea". Retrieved 22 October 2014. 

Coordinates: 19°47′22″N 155°27′48″W / 19.78944°N 155.46333°W / 19.78944; -155.46333