Driving Hazards

The summit access road is approximately eight miles long and includes steep inclines, often up to 15%.  The first five miles of the road is unpaved with poor traction, narrow sections, blind curves, and rocks on the road.  In some places there may not be enough room for two-way traffic, especially when large trucks are on the road.  Road clearing and maintenance equipment should be given the right of way.  Stopping distances are greatly increased when there is snow or ice on the road.  Drivers should expect to see a lot of vehicles and pedestrians on the road.  Drivers should also be careful of the sun in their eyes during early morning and late afternoon.

  • FOUR WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLES ARE STRONGLY RECOMMENDED
  • ALWAYS USE LOW GEAR.  The steep grades can result in brake overheating while driving downhill.  Driving SLOWLY, and in low gear will reduce the chances of brake failure.
  • DRIVE AT SPEEDS OF 25 MPH (40 KPH) OR LESS AT ALL TIMES
  • If you should encounter road maintenance equipment, please drive with extreme caution.  Be especially careful when crossing the temporary ridge that's built up down the center of the roadway by grading equipment.  Make sure the underside of your vehicle is high enough to avoid scraping the ridge.

Free Nightly Stargazing

FREE Nightly Stargazing & Star Tours

Open to everyone! Every night of the year from 6pm - 10pm MKVIS conducts star tours and operates several telescopes for public viewing by our knowledgeable guides.
Learn More about our Stargazing Program »

Escorted Summit Tours

Every Sat. & Sun. Bring your 4WD vehicle and join our free summit tour caravan. Tours will go into at least one of the observatories.
Details of Escorted Summit Tours »

Volunteer Program

Learn about astronomy and Mauna Kea as a volunteer. No experience required.
Volunteer Positions at MKVIS »

First Light E-Store - Apparel, Souvenirs, DVDs and Books MaunaKeaAstronomyJobs.org - Employment, internships and volunteer opportunities on Mauna Kea

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MKVIS Hours: 9am - 10pm every day.

Current road conditions - call (808)935-6268