Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano, about a million years old, and the highest summit on the islands of Hawaii. The mountain stands at 4207 metres (13803 feet) above sea level and its elevation equals its prominence. When measured from the ocean floor, it is 10,000 metres (33,000 feet) tall - which makes it the tallest mountain on Earth.
Although, regarding Hawaiian mythology, only high chiefs use to be allowed to climb to the summit, today`s adventurers are welcomed to climb Mauna Kea, but at their own risk.
The hiking trail to Mauna Kea`s peak is 10 kilometres long in one way. From the end of the trail, it takes approximately 15 minutes of walking to cross the road that is 91 metres (300 feet) in elevation. Driving to the top is also an option. There are several astronomical observatories on the summit.
Along the road, hikers can enjoy the splendid view and take a side trip to Waiau lake. The lake is relatively small and shallow, but it is also the highest positioned lake in the United States. Waiau is a sacred place of Hawaiians, therefore the atmosphere should not be disrupted. Moreover, camping at Mauna Kea is not allowed.
The mountain is currently owned by the University of Hawaii, so no fees and entry tickets are required since they operate in a non-profit manner. When hikers arrive at the start of the trail, where Visitor Information Station is located, they should fill out a form and leave it in a dropbox.
THE FIVE HIGHEST PEAKS IN HAWAII:
- Mauna Kea - 4,207 metres (13,803 feet)
- Mauna Loa - 4,169 metres (13,679 feet)
- Haleakala - 3,055 metres (10,023 feet)
- Hualalai - 2,521 metres (8,271 feet)
- Pu`u Kukui - 1,764 metres (5,788 feet)
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