Tour Summary: See the sunrise from the Mauna Kea summit amidst the world’s greatest collection of astronomy equipment. Maunakea is the tallest volcano on earth and sunrises here are spectacular as the morning sky light up in brilliant shades of red, orange, purple and blue. You will also hear about the cultural and scientific significance of the mountain. Note that in contrast to the "Mauna Kea summit and stars" tour there is *no* stargazing using telescopes on this tour.
- Experience sunrise from the top of the Big Island's Mauna Kea volcano
- Great way to start the day in Hawaii feeling 'on top of the world'
- Enjoy a hot breakfast on the beautiful mountain
Important: Pregnant women and children under the age of 16 are not permitted on this tour. You also should not have scuba dived within 24 hours of the tour. Guests are provided hooded parkas, but should bring a sweater or jacket; wear long pants and covered walking shoes with warm socks
Tour Provider: Hawaii Forest and Trail
Tour start time: between 2am and 5 am, depending on pick-up location and time of year.
Duration: 7 hours
Departure from: Kailua Kona
Pick-up available? Yes! From several locations between the Hawaii Forest & Trail headquarters in Kona and Saddle Road (Hwy 200) at the junction of the Mauna Kea Access Road. More details available during the booking process during the "Where are you staying" step.
Included: Hooded winter parka for the summit and Continental Breakfast: Assorted sliced fresh fruit, fresh baked banana bread , croissants, boiled egg, yogurt, granola, 100% Kona Coffee, Hot Cocoa & Assorted Teas
Cancellations: Customers will receive a full refund with 48 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.
You can read more about this activity in our Mauna Kea summit guide.
Start your morning on the Big Island on top of the largest volcano of Hawaii with a 6-hour sunrise trip to the peak of Mauna Kea. This is a tour for early risers! Watch the first rays of light peek across the horizon from the 13,000-foot (3,900-meter) summit before descending for an included continental breakfast and visit to the Mauna Kea Silversword plant enclosure.
This page describes tours departing from Kona. The Mauna Kea Sunrise Experience is also available with departures from Hilo. These tours start a bit later (shorter driving distance to the summit) and cost a bit less.
Mauna Kea Sunrise Experience
Hawaii Forest & Trail organizes two tours to the Mauna Kea summit. One during sunset and one during sunrise. Seeing the sunrise on Mauna Kea (this tour) has two big advantages over seeing the sunset, but also two disadvantages:
- The 1st disadvantage is that you need to get up early as the tour departs just after 2 am(!) from the HFT headquarters in Kona. Some pick-up points are visited between 2 am and 3 am north of Kona at the Waikoloa resort area.
- The 2nd disadvantage (if stargazing is your thing) is that there will be no real stargazing during this tour. You will have the opportunity to see the night’s sky before first light from the visitor’s center at 9,000 feet where your guide will point out some points of interest, but there will be no stargazing with a telescope. To see the stars with the telescope, please book the Maunakea Summit and Stars Adventure.
- The 1st advantage is that the tour lasts between 7 an 8 hours, which means that you’ll be back in time to take an early morning nap on the beach to recover from the nighttime adventure.
- The 2nd advantage is that the Mauna Kea summit will be very quiet because most people that visit the Mauna Kea summit do so for sunset.
Hawaii Forest & Trail is a highly respected local tour company that has operated on the Big Island since 1993. They have gained access to private and restricted lands and are widely recognized as a tour company that has passionate and knowledgeable interpretative guides, all of which translates into consistent stellar reviews from their past guests.
Hawaii Forest & Trail is fully certified by the Hawaii Ecotourism Association. This means that their tours are eco-friendly, culturally educational and operate as sustainable as possible.
The HFT staff are picked to have strong academic backgrounds in biology, geology, Hawaiian culture and history, and extensive natural history field experience. It’s not enough for the guides to simply “know things”, they must also have a real passion for Hawaii’s natural world and enthusiasm for sharing it.
Giving back to the community
The vision of Hawaii Forest & Trail is to share the splendor of Hawai’i and inspire a deep connection with our natural world. They donate a small amount ($1 per guest) to a fund that makes donations to non-profit organizations whose mission and work aligns with at least one of the following criteria:
- benefits the conservation of Hawaii’s native ecosystems, species and landscapes.
- promulgates the understanding and practice of Hawaiian culture and the dissemination and understanding of Hawaii’s natural and cultural history.
- promotes and facilitates an appreciation and interaction with nature, especially programs that are youth oriented.
It is the intent of the fund to give preference to entities who are based or whose work is performed in the communities where they operate tours.
We are affiliate partners with Hawaii Forest and Trail meaning that we receive a percentage for each successful booking made through our website. This happens without any additional charge to you! (read more on the use of those links on our website here).
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