Puʻu Wekiu


Hawaiian cultural practitioners ask that visitors respect the sacred true summit of Mauna Kea and not hike the trail to the top of the cinder cone (13,796ft). It's opposite the UH 2.2m Telescope where there is ample parking, and which – at 13,776ft – already has perfectly stunning views of the sunset. Besides, given the biting winds, the high altitude sapping your strength, and the extreme cold, it all just sounds like a miserable time.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Maunakea attractions

1. University of Hawaiʻi 2.2m Telescope

0.18 MILES

UH2.2 (if you go metric, UH88 if you prefer inches) was a pioneer of Mauna Kea. As the first large telescope on the mountain (1970), its great imagery…

2. United Kingdom Infrared Telescope

0.19 MILES

Even though this 3.8m (12.5ft) telescope is the second-largest dedicated infrared telescope in the world, it will soon be decommissioned according to the…

4. Gemini Northern Telescope

0.23 MILES

When this 26.6ft telescope is paired with its twin in Chile, they are able to cover almost the entire sky. In 2014, Gemini used speckle imaging to help…

5. Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope

0.32 MILES

This 3.6m (11.8ft) optical/infrared telescope's first light was 1979, making it the oldest operational telescope on the mountain. It specializes in wide…

6. Mauna Kea's Summit Area

0.46 MILES

At 13,796ft in the air, you are above 40% of the atmosphere and 90% of its water vapor – apparently perfect conditions for growing the giant mushroom-like…

7. NASA Infrared Telescope Facility

0.46 MILES

Able to utilize multiple sensors, this 3m (9.8ft) infrared telescope has diverse applications, from close-to-home observations – like measuring the ozone…