Visitor Information Station

The Visitor Information Station (VIS) is open from 9 am to 10 pm, 365 days a year, with Interpretive Guides and Maunakea 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.

Google Map marker

Directions to MKVIS:

The VIS is accessible via normal 2-wheel drive vehicles.

From Hilo, take the Puainako Extension (Hwy 2000) which merges with Saddle Road (Hwy 200).  At Miler Marker 8 Highway 200 transitions seemlessly into the new Daniel K Inouye Highway.  Just before Mile Marker 28, there is a road to the right and a street sign that reads Maunakea Access Road.  Make the right turn.  The station is about 6 miles up the road on the right side of the road.  The drive from Hilo takes approximately 1 hour.

From the Kona side of the island, take Highway 190, driving north from Kona or south from Waimea.  At Mile Marker 14 is the intersection for the new Daniel K. Inouye Highway.  Make the turn and take this road eastward until Mile Marker 28.  Turn left onto the Maunakea 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 Resorts, the trip takes about 1-1/4 hours, and from Kona, the trip takes about 1-1/2 hours.

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 - 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