Visitor Information Station
The Visitor Information Station (VIS) is open from 9 am to 10 pm, 365 days a year, with Interpretive Guides and Mauna Kea Rangers to answer any questions you have. Restrooms are open twenty-four hours. From 10am to 10pm, telescopes are ready for public use at the station. During the day, a solar telescope is available for viewing, pointed at the sun and equipped with protective filters. The Stargazing program is conducted daily from 6pm to 10pm, regardless of weather conditions. Our skies are clear for about 90% of the year. We also have a public Escorted Summit Tour every Saturday and Sunday. The requirements for these programs are located under their respective program sections. We also have special programs on Saturday night.
The VIS has informational panels, interactive displays, handouts, a video program, and the First Light Bookstore. The store contains many books about astronomy and Hawaiian culture. The store also has food (snacks, soup, hot & cold drinks) for sale, and there are hot water dispensers and a microwave for your convenience.
If you have any questions, please contact us at the VIS at (808) 961-2180. For questions about the weather and road conditions, please call (808) 935-6268. If there are any sudden changes in the weather and/or road conditions, the Rangers will update the message shortly thereafter.
Directions to MKVIS:
From Hilo, take the Puainako Extension (Hwy 2000) which merges with Saddle Road (Hwy 200). Just before the 28 mile marker, there is a road to the right and a street sign that says Mauna Kea Access Road. Make the right turn. The station is about 6 miles up the road on the right side of the road. The drive takes approximately 1 hour.
From the Kona side of the island, take Highway 190 heading North toward Waimea. Just before the 6 mile marker, there is a turnoff on the right for Saddle Road (Hwy 200). Take Saddle Road until just after the 28 mile marker. Turn left onto the Mauna Kea Access Road. The station is about 6 miles up the road on the right side of the road. From Waimea, the trip takes about 1 hour, from Waikoloa, the trip takes about 1 1/2 hours, and from Kona, the trip takes about 2 hours.