Mauna Kea - Hawaii Highpoint Hiking, Climbing and Travel
State Highpoints
Distance: Drive Up (almost)
Summit Elevation: 13,796 feet
Access rating: Level 2
The benchmark confirms you are at the highest spot on top of Puu Wekiu, the highest summit cinder cone
There's something under there, not sure what
At top, you have to drop down off the right to a saddle then climb to the highest point
View of the mountain from highway 200
View of observatories from true summit, a short climb
View from the summit
Mavericks first state summit
A very nice gravel road to the summit
27 miles southwest to Mauna Loa 13,680
Few think of snow climbing while visiting Hawaii but that’s just what was on my mind when our plane landed on the Big Island. Notice the summit elevation is almost 14,000 feet! Most of the reports I’d read said the road to the summit required a 4WD but I found it easily drivable in my rental sedan. I was probably breaking my rental agreement (as usual) driving dirt roads but I always give the car a quick wipe down just before returning it. Approaching the summit, the lid on a Pringles canister shot off so I knew we were getting high. There are not many places you can drive from sea level to 13,700 feet in just a few hours. We took some pictures at the highest observatory but I knew there was a short hike to the true summit. Leaving my wife and 6 month son in the warm car, I braved the cold in regular “Hawaii clothing”. I quickly dropped down 100 feet to a saddle and started up the highest cinder cone, only a few vertical feet higher than where I parked. I had to slow a bit due to the elevation and a bit of sliding on slick snow but soon I was on top. Something was up there but it was caked in ice. The benchmark was visible so I knew I was in the right spot. When I got back to the car my wife said a ranger stopped and asked if our baby was ok. He was concerned about him being at this altitude.
Mauna Kea summit Mauna Kea summit Mauna Kea observatories
Mauna Loa  Mauna Kea summit road Mauna Kea view Mauna Kea from highway 200 Mauna Kea summit mauna kea benchmark
map of mauna kea summit mauna kea topo map
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