Mauna Loa

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles69 reviews
Excellent
45
Very good
15
Average
6
Poor
2
Terrible
1

Lynne K
3 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
Mauna Loa was located on the ‘Hilo’ side of the island and so we set out and made the drive over. It was a pleasant easy to navigate drive. We started up the road heading to Mauna Loa but were stopped short by the sign stating no vehicles without 4x4 capability would be allowed to legally proceed. We were disappointed of course but that was the end of our volcano viewing that day.
We later found out that the road near the top is often icy and snow covered and although we are Canadian and drive in these conditions every winter, we decided due to the rental car we were driving, that it was best to stay safe and legal.
Written March 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark K
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Solo
I hiked to the uppermost cabin on Mauna Loa (13,500 ft elevation approximately) back in 1986. I have always been interesting the forested slopes off Mauna Loa Road (near the parking lot at approximately 6,500 ft elevation). I wandered out there at twilight and was treed by wild pigs. I stayed in an ohia tree all night until the last boar left after sunrise. It was very exciting, but I don’t recommend the experience to anyone. Priceless to be two months shy of 70 and end up running for (your) life at altitude. Glad I found a tree!
Written November 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Toni J
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
we went to view the lava during the day - it is quite a trek! and only saw a little steam
went back at 9:30 pm and the lava view was SPECTACULAR!
Written September 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Corinne L
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021
It is amazing and breathtaking. We went everywhere! Just writing a review here because in spite of the government of Hawaii and it's people showed covid can't keep them down!
Written August 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Megamaw
Federal Way, WA30 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
We did drive the Saddle hwy, but the Protesters are still very active....(we understand and support them) Mauna Loa did make a clear and impressive sight...
Written December 17, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Matthew
Sacramento, CA16 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Solo
I climbed Mauna Loa last year as a part of a trip to the Big Island. And I have to say that it was HANDS DOWN the highlight of my trip. In fact, I consider Mauna Loa to be one of my favorite summits EVER! Although it is very different from other summits I have done (like Mount Whitney, Mount Langley, and Mount Dana), it is certainly right up there with these other summits in terms of scenic beauty and the whole experience of being there.

I made my climb to the true summit and summit cabin as a dayhike from the weather observatory via the Observatory Trail. This was certainly a very different experience from Whitney, as you are not hiking on a true trail. Rather, it is more of a cross country route across lava fields marked by Ahu (rock cairns). In this sense, it is somewhat like hiking Mount Dana, but with an even less defined path. This route takes you on a trip up and away to colorful, almost Dr. Seuss-like land in the sky, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In fact, you just KNOW that you are in a different place well before the trailhead when you break through the clouds and see the bright sunshine and deep blue high altitude sky.

Along the way up the mountain, you will see plenty of colorful rocks, interesting formations, and expansive views of the surrounding area. If the weather at low elevations is clear, you will likely see much of the Big Island, ocean, and Maui. But more than likely, you will see higher mountains (like Mauna Kea, Hualalai, and Haleakala) sticking up over a sea of clouds. Even this is a sight to behold!

Of course, there is also the summit caldera itself, which is HUGE. You get to walk across it for a while when hiking to the Mauna Loa Cabin. And particularly from the true summit, you can see steam issuing from cracks in the caldera floor - a reminder that this is indeed an active volcano. Although this is a HUGE mountain unlike smaller summits in California, you somehow still get that ‘top of the world’ feel up there.

Oh, and don’t forget about the pit toilet just before the crater at 13000ft! Even if you don’t have to go, it’s worth a visit, even if only for a picture. After all, you may never return to this site. Just remember to bring your own toilet paper if you plan to use it, as there is none there!

Overall, I didn’t find this hike to be NEARLY the ‘monster’ it is SO often made out to be. It’s certainly a whole lot easier than, say, Whitney or Langley. Elevation can be an issue for some. If altitude is a problem for you, it might be a good idea to at least spend some time near the trailhead. Some folks even camp out there overnight. But if you are generally FINE with altitude of this magnitude, you will do okay. Also keep in mind that the summit is quite chilly - even more so than a typical summer day on summits of comparable altitude in California (winter is another story). So dress accordingly.

Should you go there? If mountains are your thing, a most definite YES! This is probably about the most unique 13er you are ever likely to climb! Even if they aren’t, it will likely be an unforgettable experience - certainly more so than just another lazy day at the beach.
Written May 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark C
Sheboygan Falls, WI231 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019 • Couples
It's kind of amusing to see Mauna Loa listed as an attraction. It's huge, and there are many ways to visit and experience the mountain, but I do recommend everyone find something to do which gets them up close and personal. There are trails which leave from Volcanoes National Park. There is the Mauna Loa Observatory road and trail, which we visited. The drive itself is pretty cool, but be aware, it's like 19 miles of challenging one lane road and there are no facilities at the top. This observatory is a weather/climate observatory and not open to the public. We hiked a couple miles up the trail, but we started too late in the day and did not plan to spend the night, so we had to turn around before reaching the summit. Still a fascinating landscape to experience.
Written May 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

World_Wide_Guide
Ortonville, MI125 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2019 • Solo
Made it up to the visitor center...that was taxing enough on the engine of a 4x4 Jeep. Very mystical and awe-inspiring ride up and view. Did not take the unstructured road to summit- although other brave ones were doing so. Sat long enough to enjpy the view and feel mountain sickness start coming on...but, a must-see for those on the Big Island. The bathroom facilities are ample- i.e., NOT Outhouses at the center, and there are informative displays inside the center as well as limited food/drink options. Worth taking the time to drive up to see.
Written March 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Snow Bike
22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019
We biked for about 2 hours to gain 1500 feet. It was amazing. Very unique riding. We saw 4 cars and 2 others on bikes. We strongly recommend this as a bike ride. Do not ride with music in your ears though, this is a one lane road and you must listen for cars coming up behind you or towards you over steeply graded curves. We have been biking here for over a week and this was our favorite ride. Bring lots of cover, there is NO shade on this ride. Park in the nearby parking lot for a tree refuge called Kipuka Pu'u Hul..(sorry we don't know the rest of the last word). Also, do this 10 minute hike from the parking lot, it is gorgeous. Unique mossy trees and beautiful little oasis. We loved this hike as well.
Written January 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

eaglecadd
Kailua-Kona, HI345 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2018 • Friends
I hiked up the Mauna Loa Trail to Red Hill Cabin. It is a strenuous hike of about 7.5 miles and 3,500' elevation gain. It was worth the effort to stay overnight in the cabin and see the sunrise from there.
Written November 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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MAUNA LOA (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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