What can you say about the top of the world? Scientists and spiritualists can join hands on the sacred summit. The hike is a short one but be prepared, oxygen here is 40 percent less than sea level. Those driving to the top of Mauna Kea should stop at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy (the visitors center) which sits just below 9,300 ft. and acclimatize.
The road continues from the center climbing more than 4,000 feet over 8 miles to the summit trail and observatories. More details about the Mauna Ice Age Natural Reserve and trail to Lake Waiau are in the Hawaii Big Island Trailblazer.