Mauna Kea-Humu'ula Trail

HARD 15 reviews

Mauna Kea-Humu'ula Trail is a 11.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kamuela, Hawaii that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until December.

11.2 miles
4954 feet
Out & Back



nature trips





no dogs

Hike the highest mountain in Hawaii (in the world, measured from the sea floor), and enjoy views to Moana Loa and to the ocean as well as other islands. This is not a casual hike - come prepared with all the water, calories, and essential items a high-altitude experience demands. Park at the visitor center, self-register anytime, then join the trail a few hundred feet up the road on the left. Six miles of uphill trail with few switchbacks, consisting of loose cinder and rough lava, lay ahead. You will likely be alone - plan for self-reliance. Just below 13,000 feet the trail joins a paved portion of the service road, which, mostly unlaced below, provides a longer but suitable route back.

14 days ago

15 days ago

28 days ago

In early June, my wife, sister, her boyfriend and myself tried to tackle Mauna Kea, and came up a little short. We thoroughly enjoyed the hike, the amazing views and remarkable landscape! I wrote a lengthy blog review about our experience. It can be read below:

I would certainly try it again, if I ever make it back to Kona...

1 month ago

Tuesday June 13th I'm hitting it around 6:00 am if anyone wants to join. You can DM me on insta @ernienoh if one wants to coordinate.

2 months ago

Wear solid boots to deal with loose dirt/sand/rock trails. Altitude gain is noticeable. Actual summit is closed off but a comparable elevation can be achieved on the observatory road. Took me and my friend 5 hours from visitor center parking lot to summit and then 3 hours to get back down.

We were told the temperature at the top could be cold (even snow) but the weather was great and got away with long pants and long sleeves

2 months ago

Looking for fellow dayhikers who want to start at dawn sometime between June 10 and 13th.

5 months ago

Sunday, May 22, 2016

This is by far the hardest climb I have ever done! Definitely noticed the altitude, but still very worthwhile.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hiked in April as part of preparing for Peru in May. Temps were in the upper 40s so we just wore long sleeve shirts which was just right. The initial trail has a lot of loose cinder that feels like hiking uphill in sand. Had some minor altitude symptoms the first time so we used Advil prior to the second time which helped. Wogging down in cinder leads to stops to empty shoes. Looking forward to Peru.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Make this a priority for your big island visit. Fantastic, rugged, remote. Acclimate first - going from hotel to 9.2K parking, then up over 13K before lunch impacted us. Come prepared - there's nothing out there but up, up, up. Worth every step, and the view to the ocean and other volcano are remarkable. My son and I did the roundtrip from the visitor center, 6:30 AM to 4 PM. As is typical, a clear morning turned to rain below us, and we stayed just ahead of the clouds which topped out at about 11K feet. We went to the observatories at about 13.5K or so, but didn't hike around to the summit access trail. This trail takes longer up than the six miles indicate - steep, unrelenting, and very loose in some areas - just hard, but not technical or risky. We took the access road back, which added a couple of miles, but we were gassed and felt this was a safer option as we hiked back down into a storm.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Having done an high altitude hike before, I thought I wouldn't have any problem doing this one. Error! Take time to acclimate to the altitude at the visitor center, it is worth it! So I made this 5-hours awesome hike while I had altitude sickness. But at least I could still take time to appreciate that desert view where you seem at the top of the world! Make sure to bring lots of water, and good warm clothes for when you get near the top.

We started at 12:15 PM, but I do not recomment it. For us it took 5 hours, but I know for many people it can take more, and you don't want to be caught by darkness. We saw the nice sunset at the top, and then proceeded to ask another tourist if he could take us down in his 4x4.

The hardest part is the first 3 hours. Then it's less steep. But keep in mind that as you go up, there's always less oxygen, so your heart has to work harder!

There seems to be almost nobody who climbs this mountain, which gives also, at some times, the sensation to be alone in the world. I greatly recommand it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Five stars for the amazing scenery and the sense of accomplishment. Something less than that for the trail itself, which while impeccably maintained, is an absolute a$$-kicker. The first couple miles is on a 40 percent grade of loose cinder (almost like walking up a hill made of sand). For every 3 steps you walk up, you probably lose one of those from slippage. There are no switchbacks on this hike - just straight up. With a heavy pack, we usually average 2-3 miles an hour, here we were at just a shade under 1.5 an hour. You'll need a lot of water, because there isn't any cover, and you'll be sucking wind the whole time, but you won't mind because of the amazing views. We came from the Hilo side, and were in the clouds all the way until we turned off onto the Mauna Kea access road. While we couldn't see anything to the east because of the clouds, all of Mauna Loa and Hualalai were clear as day, and the panorama was spectacular. We started at 6:40 in the morning, and since we hand to be in Waimea by noon, we turned around at 9:10 after about 3.5 miles, so only halfway to the top. We could tell on our way down that a lot of people started around 7:00 (or perhaps they were just walking much faster than us). The walk down is MUCH faster, although you're likely to get cinder in your shoes, so consider bringing gaiters.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

must see if you are in the area but very steep terrain all around but once you make it to the beach and stream area its well worth the hike and steep grade.There are wild horses and boar in the area and has been used in several movies.