Big Island of Hawaii

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

Badge of ExcellenceBig Island of Hawaii, USA
Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small Group Adventure Tour
  • 8 hours
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Experience big skies and incredible nighttime views on this Mauna Kea stargazing trip with a small group. Experience a warm pre-trip picnic, proceeded by a ride in a 4x4 luxury van to the summit of the Big Island's tallest peak. After admiring a sunset view, continue down to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) for a stargazing session, complete with a telescope, hot chocolate, and dessert. The trip also includes a guide and a hooded parka to keep you warm.
  • Enjoy a private stargazing show through 11” Celestron telescopes on Mauna Kea
  • Learn about the history, culture, and ecology of Hawaii
  • Indulge in a warm picnic dinner.

What's Included

  • Guide
  • Hooded parkas and gloves
  • Hot picnic dinner
  • Hot cocoa and cookies
  • Private star show with telescope
  • Local taxes
  • Central Meeting Locations for Pick-up & Drop off
  • Gratuities

Meeting and Pickup

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End point

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What To Expect

Join your small group and prepare for an immersive experience. Travel in a 4-wheel-drive van, beginning your journey from the base of Mauna Kea to the top. Savor the opportunity to indulge in a warm, picnic-style dinner at the Maunakea Visitor Information Station before going up to the summit.

Ascend up this tall peak on this Big Island, reaching heights of 9,000 feet (2,743 meters). Get settled and watch as the sun sets. Then, take part in a stargazing session and delight in viewing the night sky through telescopes. Indulge in some hot chocolate and desert as your guide shares tales of Hawaii's history, culture, and ecology.

As the night goes on, stay cozy in your complimentary hooded parka and continue to watch the celestial show until the end of your experience.

Maunakea Visitor Information Station

45 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Mauna Kea Summit

30 minutesAdmission Ticket Included

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Minimum age is 13 years
  • Due to the high altitude; this tour is not suitable for those with respiratory, heart or circulatory conditions, poor health, or pregnancy
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Scuba divers should be aware of altitude dangers
  • **IMPORTANT - Please note, guests meeting at the Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel must meet at least 15 MINUTES PRIOR to the tour's departure time.**
  • Guests are required to wear closed-toe walking shoes or hiking boots, long pants. We recommend bringing a light sweatshirt or jacket
  • Guests must bring their own water bottles. Tour operator will provide filtered water refills.
  • Please advise your parka size (small, medium, large, x-large or xx-large) and choice of meal at time of booking. If you do not indicate this at the time of booking, you will be required to call and advise them of this information directly.
  • There is minimal walking on this tour, the maximum being about 150 yards
  • Not recommended for travelers with back problems
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travelers can participate
  • The access road to Mauna Kea is four-wheel drive only, so it can be bumpy. The custom off-road transit vans will get you to the top and back in safety and comfort. The transit vans can carry a maximum of 12 passengers
  • Snow is seasonal at Mauna Kea, with the heaviest snowfall occurring during the winter months
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
We had a group of 6 adults on the tour and everyone had a wonderful time. Jeff (our tour guide) had fantastic knowledge of the Mauna Kea area as well as the island overall. Watching the clouds rolling through at sunset was magical and then heading down to another spot to stargaze was incredible. We saw more stars than we've ever seen in our lives, and we also got to see the glow of the Kilauea eruption in the distance. Jeff focused in on the lava flows with the telescope and it was so awesome. We also got to view the moon, Jupiter, Saturn and lots more through the telescope. We will never forget the experience, so thank you Jeff for doing such a great job in guiding us! I highly recommend this tour for anyone visiting the Big Island.


1,187 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 1,187 reviews
Unique, incredible experience
Ben_L, Apr 2024
When knowledge and passion come together with a well run, absolutely unique experience , you have something special. This is what we experienced on this tour. Jeff, our guide, had incredible knowledge of both Hawai’i and astronomy. And the overall experience is something you cannot experience anywhere else in the world. Absolutely worth every $$.
Mauna Kea with Jason is the Best
Don_H, Apr 2024
Jason is the real star on Mauna Kea …! As tour guide he has a keen wit and voluminous knowledge of Native culture and heritage as applied to astronomy. He is generous and well spoken, a leader with a heart of gold. So sad couldn’t get to the top… High wind is out of control so I will just have to come back…!!!
Interstellar Tour
Paul_R, Apr 2024
Jeff our guide from moment one was amazing his knowledge about the islands etc was fantastic kept checking on everyone in the small group to see if ok due to altitude sickness effects. Views were fantastic and sunset was out of this world at 14000ft. Then stargazing was incredible pointed out stars and constellations to us in the dark sky. Would highly recommend using Hawaii Forest & Trail
On Top Of The World (or at least the Pacific)
Staci_M, Apr 2024
Hawaii is more unique than Hollywood led my husband and I to believe. The Big Island seems to have every biome and climate imaginable so the shock of it gave us a ton of questions and Adam had an answer for everything. He was super kind, extremely knowledgeable and passionate. The drive was smooth, the half way point to the summit is very nice. I’m a picky eater but the sweet chili and southwest chicken were delicious. The summit is magical and seeing the sunset from 14,000 feet high is mind blowing. Bring a jacket or sweater just in case but normally extras are provided. We had a lot of clouds by night so we couldn’t see stars as much as we’d want to but we care’s more for the Summit anyway
Sweet Sunset
Laura_G, Apr 2024
Ascending Mauna Kea and experiencing the sunset near the summit was awesome! This was followed by a stellar view of the night sky. The hot chocolate and cookies were a sweet way to end the night. Kudos to our guide John for the history lessons and safe passage along the way.
Jim_O, Apr 2024
Jason was a fantastic guide! His knowledge of the constellations and stars during the stargazing portion of the outing was unbelievable! Jayson made the trip truly enjoyable.
Amazing evening!
Andrea_C, Apr 2024
Sunset at the top of the world and seeing the Milky Way was unforgettable! Jeff was an awesome tour guide. Highlight of our big island trip!
Fantastic visit, excellent host!
Karla_F, Apr 2024
Jason was our guide and he provided such a lovely time. He had a great knowledge of Hawaiian history, astronomy, and was a relaxed and friendly host. He also answered our kid's questions about photography of stars, which was a bonus! Thank you Jason!
Sofi_H, Mar 2024
This is a great tour. I would recommend it for anyone who is unsure about making the drive on their own. It’s a lot more safe and comfortable to allow the professionals to handle it and sit back and enjoy the views. It is an incredible place.
Waste of time
Laura_F, Mar 2024
Van broke down. Sat at a rest stop for nearly 2 hours waiting for another, then it was a race against the clock to get to the Summit before sunset. We made it. Spent about 20 mins at Summit. Beautiful. Next up stargazing. SUPER cloudy. No way were we going to see any stars, but we pulled into a lot and all got out in the freezing cold and literally stood there on the pavement for an hour and a half listening to Jason yammer on about god knows what just to ‘fill up the time’ I guess. Why not cut the tour early? Why not show us the telescopes you brought? Why not let us sit in the van where it’s warm while you go on and on about your Moana story and history lesson?!! We had very limited time in Kona and chose this tour thinking it would be such a great memory. Unfortunately, it’s time we will never get back.
Unforgettable Experience!
Wendy_L, Mar 2024
This was one of the best experiences thanks to our tour guide Jason! He greeted us warmly & was a great storyteller - touching upon Polynesian history, astronomy, & the Hawaiian culture. For a family of five adults, this was a great tour. It was something unique & gave us a break from the beach. The views were fantastic & the stars were so close/clear. Everything was well planned - from the delicious chicken stew dinner before the summit, to the hot chocolate & yummy Mrs. Barry’s cookies as we viewed the stars. And there were clean bathrooms/porta-potties at every stop on the tour. Highly recommend!
Mauna Kea summit and star viewing experience
Dorina_B, Mar 2024
Loved seeing the telescopes/observatories on top of Mauna Kea and listening to the stories told by our guide Eugene. It was really cold and windy at the summit (parka and gloves really appreciated). The sunset and star viewing afterwards were spectacular
Epic Sunset
Ezra_S, Mar 2024
A fantastic trip to Mauna Kea summit to see the sunset. Thankful for the provided parkas. The star gazing afterwards was fun as well. Eugene was a great guide.
The sun and stars! Awesome!
Heather_M, Mar 2024
An informative ride to the summit, where we then experienced amazing views of the sunset, clouds from above, and the earths shadow. Then a short ride down from the top for stargazing. Much more than I expected! Tour guide Jeffrey was very knowledgeable. Well worth the trip!
Saved by sunset and Adam
Dale_W, Mar 2024
This tour was very good and has the potential to be great. We hugely enjoyed our guide, Adam, whose knowledge, enthusiasm and thoughtful care throughout the trip made the experience exceptional. We knew this trip was risky going in (and expensive) and we were disappointed by the source of the risk (weather/clouds). We were able to see a great sunset (in bitter cold gale force winds) at the summit. When we headed down to do star gazing, the clouds covered about 90% of the show. The value of the trip (both in $ and in priceless Hawaii hours) was greatly diminished by the clouds…But Adam and the sunset saved the experience.
Informative and breathtaking!
Adam_S, Mar 2024
This was a wonderful experience for our family. Our guide, Jason, was very entertaining and informative about astronomy and its place in Hawaiian culture. The sunset was amazing and the view of the night sky was truly spectacular: so many stars. I highly recommend it.
Our guide John was very...
Robyn_A, Mar 2024
Our guide John was very friendly and knowledgeable. His narrative of the area was very informative and interesting and his stories and anecdotes were very funny. Cloudy night but he made the best of it.
Absolutely breathtaking
Jillian_D, Mar 2024
Absolutely stunning experience- on my first day on the big island, I went up to the summit of Mauna Kea with Hawaii Forest & Trail; our guide Eugene was absolutely wonderful! He shared so much interesting information about the history and geology of the island along our route and made sure we were all safe & well cared for as we climbed from sea level to over 13,000 feet of elevation! The sunset was unbelievable- and even though it ended up being a bit too cloudy for much stargazing, we still got telescope photos from another night. 10/10 would do this again- and the food was tasty, too!!
Response from Host, Mar 2024
We truly appreciate your glowing review and your recommendation to others. We'd be honored to welcome you back for another unforgettable experience. Thank you for choosing Hawaii Forest & Trail, and we look forward to your next visit!
Amazing stargazing experience!
Ankit_J, Mar 2024
Amazing stargazing experience with expert guides! Highly recommend it! Best tour on Mauna Kea and the Big Island!
Heavenly views!
Malika_B, Mar 2024
Jeff was a fantastic guide! I learned a LOT, saw a lot that I'd never seen before, and enjoyed all of it.
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