Altitude Sickness Mauna Kea: Ultimate Guide & 6 Prevention Tips

Altitude Sickness Mauna Kea

Are you planning to visit or climb Mauna Kea Hawaii? Altitude sickness can be quite a setback. We've got you covered with this comprehensive guide to the altitude of Mauna Kea and avoiding altitude sickness Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea Altitude

Mauna Kea altitude sits at 13,803 feet above sea level on The Big Island of Hawaii. From base to peak, Mauna Kea is actually considered by some authorities as the tallest mountain in the world with much of it submerged under the Pacific Ocean.

  • Mauna Kea altitude - 13,803 ft (4,207 m)
  • Mauna Kea Observatory altitude - 13,796 ft (4,205 m)
  • Mauna Kea Visitor Center altitude - 9,200 ft (2,804 m)
  • Mauna Kea Summit altitude - 13,803 ft (4,207 m)

When measured from the base of Mauna Kea beneath the deep waters as a dormant volcano, it actually is at height around 33,000 feet (10,000 m). However, this does not play a factor in altitude sickness as it's related to feet above sea level.

The mean elevation of Hawaii is 3,030 feet, ranking 10th highest out of the United Staes.¹⁰ While Mauna Kea is the highest mountain on Hawaii's Big Island, there are numerous other mountains of high altitudes on other the other islands including Maui, Kauai, and Moloka‘i.

Hawaii's other high-altitude mountains:

  • Mauna Loa altitude - 13,680 ft (4,170 m)
  • Haleakalā altitude - 10,023 ft (3,055 m)
  • Hualālai altitude - 8,271 ft (2521 m)
  • Puʻu Kukui altitude - 5,788 ft (1764 m)
  • Kaunu o Kaleihoohie - 5,500 ft (1676 m)
  • Kawaikini - 5,243 ft (1598 m)
  • Kamakou altitude - 4,961 ft (1512 m)

Even compared to the mainland of the United States, or Colorado where we're based out of, these mountain altitudes are very high. Altitude sickness can be a real threat at these heights.

About Mauna Kea Hawaii

Mauna Kea is a popular destination for both tourists, climbers, and scientists.

The mountain is known for its exceptional astronomical observing conditions, and as a result, it is home to some of the world's largest and most advanced telescopes, including the Keck Observatory, the Subaru Telescope, and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.

Tourists visit Mauna Kea to experience the unique landscape, witness breathtaking sunsets and stargazing, and enjoy the Hawaiian culture. Many visitors also make the scenic drive up to the summit to see the telescopes and learn about the cutting-edge scientific research that is being conducted there.

In addition to its scientific and cultural significance, Mauna Kea is also a place of natural beauty, with its summit plateau surrounded by cinder cones, volcanic craters, and other geological features. Hiking, climbing and backcountry skiing are popular activities on the mountain, as are scenic drives and picnicking.

Symptoms usually develop within 6-24 hours. If hiking or visiting Mauna Kea, make sure to be prepared for altitude sickness that we cover below and pay attention for any altitude sickness signs developing.


1. Mauna Kea Elevation
2. Maunakea Visitor Information Station and Elevation
3. Mauna Kea Observatories And Elevation
4. How high is Mauna Loa?
5. Haleakal Elevation
6. High Altitude Illnesses in Hawai‘i
7. Effects of high altitude on humans
8. Mountain Peaks Of Hawaii (highest elevations)
9. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
10. Hawai`i Base and Elevation Maps
11. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
12. Effects of Alcohol
13. High altitude and oxidative stress
14. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
15. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure
16. Don’t let altitude sickness ruin your trip to Colorado