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Mauna Loa Observatory

127 Reviews

Mauna Loa Observatory

127 Reviews
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astromandan wrote a review Feb 2020
27 contributions7 helpful votes
Being this high on an island in the middle of the ocean is really fun. I felt like I was back on peaks in Colorado. Don't drive it if you don't have a four-wheel drive---mostly that is to protect the road. If you are into astronomy, this is THE place to see. Also, stop in Waimea and go to the visitors center.
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Date of experience: January 2020
Brent R wrote a review Feb 2020
Dayton, Ohio123 contributions43 helpful votes
Drove all the way up. It's a one lane road with nothing but volcanic rock on both sides. We saw maybe 15 other cars on the way up and back
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Date of experience: February 2020
1 Helpful vote
eaglecadd wrote a review Nov 2019
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii329 contributions75 helpful votes
The protests over the Thirty Meter Telescope continue and access to Mauna Kea is stopped, tourists can drive easily up onto Mauna Loa for the great views and star gazing.
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Date of experience: July 2019
1 Helpful vote
Armando G wrote a review Aug 2019
Santa Fe Springs29 contributions7 helpful votes
A must visit, rented a SUV, filled the gas tank at Cosco's, preceded to Mauna Loa, a steep incline going up at a steddy pace. There was markers, at different intervals monitoring Mauna Loa. Construction was being done at the base of where an encampment of those who were monitoring the Observatory as well self contained encampments for exploratory research, which was confirmed on 60 minutes. We from a cloudy misty sky to a bright blue sky, to cloudy overcast and light rain an humid mist. As we ascended to the top we could see a break in the weather, clear sky, the Observatory's where open, as we approached they closed. We got off to see what it was like, within 20 seconds I could feel the pressure of the altitude. It hit me like a ton of bricks. With in seconds the temperature dropped to 45" degrees, with a misty wind blowing light rain, felt like bebee's hit my skin, I took a windbreaker, in case of rain and drop of temperature. You could see open vents of steam, coming from Mauna Loa, signs not to venture into the area cordoned off. An adventure for those wanting to do, something out of the norm of laying on the beach, and exploring hidden treasures. Would like to visit at night and see the sky at its splendor.
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Date of experience: June 2019
Mark C wrote a review May 2019
Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin237 contributions132 helpful votes
As has been noted here, this is NOT the astronomical observatory, it's a weather observatory and is not open to the public, although their website does offer that if you want a tour, you can call them. We didn't have time for that, as our intention was to hike the Observatory Trail to the summit of Mauna Loa (we failed, this is a tough hike). That said, this was still a good day. We arrived early in the morning before the clouds built up, and the view across the valley to Mauna Kea and the actual astronomical observatory were breathtaking, worth the 20 miles of winding one lane road with dozens of blind hills and corners - go slowly here. There is parking for about 3 vehicles just outside the observatory where you can pick up the trail, at about 11000 feet. If you intend to hike, come prepared, the air is thin and it's cool to cold all day, year round. Daytime highs rarely reach 60 F and nights are commonly in the 20s F. Bring extra food and water in case you get stuck out overnight, it would be impossible to follow this trail in the dark as it's just rock cairns (ahu in Hawaiian) made of lava, which don't stand out well against the hundreds of acres of lava on which they're built. It's fairly steep and again, the altitude makes it tough. It's also rocky and uneven, have light but sturdy footwear. To add to the challenge, most afternoons clouds will build up and move up the mountain reducing visibility and adding a damp chill to the air. But the views are incredible. If you do go here, please turn off your engine and run it as little as possible near the observatory, as the emissions will interfere with their measurements.
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Date of experience: April 2019
3 Helpful votes
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