Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Prominence: 13796 ft, 4205 m

Elevation: 13,796 feet, 4205 meters

True Isolation: 2452.5 mi, 3946.92 km
Highest SummitPuu Wekiu
Peak TypeVolcano
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)19° 49' 14'' N, 155° 28' 5'' W
19.820679, -155.468024 (Dec Deg)
241479 E 2193527 N, Zone 5 (UTM)
CountryUnited States
State/ProvinceHawaii (Highest Point)
County/Second Level RegionHawaii (Highest Point)

Search Engines - search the web for "Mauna Kea":
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Other Web Sites
     Mauna Kea at
     Mauna Kea at
     Weather for Mauna Kea at Trip Report for Hawaii, HI by Adam Helman Trip Report for Hawaii, HI by Dick Ellsworth Trip Report for Hawaii, HI by Kevin Baker Trip Report for Hawaii, HI by Dave Dunham

Weather and Snow
     National Weather Service Forecast
     NOAA Snow Depth Map

Lists that contain Mauna Kea:
     USA/Canada Range4 High Points (Rank #19)
     World Peaks with 4000 meters of Prominence (Rank #15)
     Western USA CoHPs (Rank #37)
     Most Isolated Peaks of the U.S. States (Rank #2)
     United States State High Points (plus DC) (Rank #6)
     Hawaii County High Points (Rank #1)
     U.S. State High Points (Rank #6)
     United States Island High Points above 4000 feet (Rank #1)
     Hawaii Island High Points above 500 feet (Rank #1)
     CoHP High Five List (Rank #19)
     United States 13,750-foot Peaks (Rank #162)
     World Peaks with 1000 km of Isolation (Rank #8)
     Hawaii Peaks with 25 Miles of Isolation (Rank #1)
     Hawaii Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence (Rank #1)
     U.S. County High Points over 13,000 feet (Rank #37)
     Island CoHPs (Rank #1)
     World Top 100 by Prominence (Rank #15)
     Most Prominent Peaks of the U.S. States (Rank #2)
     United States State/Territory High Points (Rank #6)
     Hawaii County Prominence Peaks (Rank #1)
     Ultras of Australia and the Pacific (Rank #1)
(Peak is on over 20 lists; Not all shown here.)

Selected Guidebook(s) for this Peak:
       Fifty State Summits, Guide with Maps to State Highpoints (Zumwalt)
       Highpoints of the United States: A Guide to the Fifty State Summits (Holmes)
       Highpoint Adventures: The Complete Guide to the 50 State Highpoints (Winger)

Selected Trip Reports from this site:
     1993-12-04 by Greg Slayden
     2007-10-17 by Ed Wandall
     2009-01-01 by Bob Bolton
     2009-07-17 by Caj Svensson
     2010-02-05 by Matthew Gray
     2010-08-22 by Ben Lostracco
     2012-01-31 by Ben Salisbury
     2012-04-03 by Jim Wick
     2013-01-02 by Rob Woodall (GPS Track)
     2013-02-10 by Brian Friedrich (GPS Track)
     2013-06-30 by Alan Barber
     2013-10-12 by Keith Mowinski
     2014-12-19 by Eric Gilbertson
     2015-02-01 by Marcus Lostracco (GPS Track)
     2015-03-18 by Tim Hankins
     2015-03-21 by William Musser
     2015-04-14 by Benjamin Thomson
     2015-12-24 by Howe Siang Tan (GPS Track)
     2016-01-16 by Richard Briggs
     2017-12-11 by Zack Lewis (GPS Track)
     2018-01-13 by Jeremy Benezra
     2018-01-15 by Edmarc Hedrick (GPS Track)

View ascents of peak by registered members (468 total)

Nearby Peak Searches:
     Radius Search - Nearest Peaks to Mauna Kea
     Elevation Ladder from Mauna Kea
     Prominence Ladder from Mauna Kea


Mauna Kea is often called the highest mountain on earth, if you measure from its submarine base. This is a difficult claim to back up with objective data, but I do believe that the angle of the slope that descends 30,000 vertical feet from Mauna Kea's summit is greater than that of any other vertical drop of that magnitude on earth.

The summit area of Mauna Kea is a dry, windswept collection of little lava rock hills, utterly devoid of vegetation. Perhaps the greatest concentration of astronomical observatories in the world is located in the summit area, all taking advantage of the dry climate, high elevation, and moderate slopes that allow a good auto road to ascend all the way to the summit. The start of the road is dirt, but the top section has been paved to minimize dust that would harm the delicate telescopes.

Climbing Notes

Most people drive cars to the summit. Most rental cars on the Big Island can not be legally driven on the Saddle Road or the Mauna Kea Road, but many tourists ignore this restriction and have no problems. Or, to be safe, you can rent a SUV for more money that is allowed up the peak. The main issue is the high altitude--sensitive individuals could have severe altitude sickness with the rapid rise from sea level.

There is a trail up Mauna Kea that climbs from the Visitor Center near the Saddle Road for those who wish to hike through the volcanic moonscape. A final option (available in some winters) is to ski Mauna Kea, using cars from a local outfitter as your ski lift.

The summit area of Mauna Kea is a rocky moonscape of talus and scree, ascended by a road to service the numerous telescopes near the summit (1993-12-04).
Web Map LinksPeakfinder Panorama
GeoHack Links   CalTopo   MyTopo   Bing Maps
Google Maps   Open Street Map
Prominence  Clean Prominence: 13,796 ft/4205 m
  Optimistic Prominence: 13,796 ft/4205 m
  Key Col: Pacific Ocean    0 ft/0 m
IsolationIsolation Page  (Detailed isolation information)
   Distance: 2452.5 mi/3946.92 km
   Isolation Limit Point: 41.405185, -122.198197
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Misery Hill  (NE)
RangesContinent: Australia-Oceania
Range2: Polynesia (Highest Point)
Range3: Hawaii (Highest Point)
Range4: Hawaii Big Island (Highest Point)
Drainage BasinsIslands-Oceania-Pacific
Pacific Ocean
IslandHawaii (Big Island) (Highest Point)
OwnershipLand: Mauna Kea Forest Reserve (Highest Point)
Topo MapMauna Kea O19155g4 1:24,000
Route #1 Dirt Road: Mauna Kea Road
Route #2 Unmaintained Trail: Mauna Kea Trail
Trailhead: Visitor Center/Museum 9220 ft/2810 m
Vertical Gain: 4576 ft/1395 m
Distance (one way): 2.25 mi/3.62 km
Data Source1:25,000 (or larger) Topographic Survey Map
Dynamic Map

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Other Photos

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Looking east at the International Astronomical Observatory Complex on the summit of Mauna Kea, taken from Pu'u Poliahu (2010-08-22). Photo by Ben Lostracco.
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Short trail from the road to the summit (2014-05-11). Photo by Jason Curtis.
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Mauna Kea in all of its glory at sunset - taken from the Mauna Loa Observatory Approach Road (2015-02-03). Photo by Marcus Lostracco.
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On the summit, a native practitioner pays his respects to the goddess of fire "Pele" (2015-03-21). Photo by Karen Musser.
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The summit of Mauna Kea (2015-08-30). Photo by Peter Sunden.
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My bike on the summit, around 7 hours after leaving the ocean at Hilo. I would take around 1 hour to bike back to Hilo. (2014-12-19). Photo by Eric Gilbertson.
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