Explore Hawaii

Mauna Kea

The Hawaiians have a word for snow—hau kea—and the island of Hawai‘i is one of the few places where you can drive from a sunny, tropical beach to Alpine conditions within a couple of hours. Winter conditions can be found at the summit of Mauna Kea, at 13,796 feet above sea level the highest point in the state. Meaning “white mountain” in Hawaiian, Mauna Kea was a landmark for the Polynesian voyagers who traversed the Pacific by celestial navigation, following the winds and stars instead of instruments. The summit is one of the best spots in the world for studying the universe, with 13 telescopes operating from atop the mountain.

808.961.2180, the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy; or 808.935.6268 for road conditions.