Hawaii Altitude: Complete Guide & 4 Tips

Hawaii Altitude

Hawaii — a paradise of lush greenery, pristine beaches, and volcanic landscapes — also proposes a challenge to visitors with its high altitude areas. In this complete guide, we will unravel everything you need to know of Hawaii's altitude, and our best tips to avoid Hawaii altitude sickness.

Hawaii Altitude

Hawaii altitude ranges from the low sea level at the beaches to high volcanic mountains reaching 13,803 feet. Three of the highest mountains in Hawaii are Mauna Kea (13,803 ft), Mauna Loa (13,680 ft) and Haleakalā (10,023 ft) — all exceeding 10,000 feet feet in elevation.

Altitude of Hawaii:

  • Hawaii altitude - 0 to 13,803 ft (0 to 4,207 m)

Many visitors of Hawaii are not aware of the drastic ranges in Hawaii altitudes, depending on where you adventure to.

Altitude Of Hawaii Based On Island

Depending on what island of Hawaii you visit and explore, the altitude ranges you'll experience will differ.

Here's a breakdown of the highest altitude peaks of each major Hawaiian island:

  • Big Island peak altitude - 13,803 ft (4207 m)
  • Maui peak altitude - 10,023 ft (3055 m)
  • Kauaʻi peak altitude - 5,243 ft (1598 m)
  • Molokaʻi peak altitude - 4,961 ft (1512 m)
  • Oʻahu peak altitude - 4,060 ft (1237 m)
  • Lānaʻi peak altitude - 3,396 ft (1035 m)

From 3,396 feet to 13,803 feet, the altitudes of Hawaii can much exceed sea level even at the lowest islands.

Does Hawaii Have High Altitude?

Yes, Hawaii has high altitude.

Mountain Medicine states that high altitude is between 4,900 to 11,500 feet.³ This puts many of Hawaii's volcanic mountains in high altitude range, and even exceeding it such as Mauna Kea at 13,803 feet high.

To name a few high altitude mountains in Hawaii above 4,900 feet — includes Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Haleakalā, Puʻu Kukui, Kaunu o Kaleihoohie, Kawaikini, and Kamakou.

What Is The Lowest Point In Hawaii?

The lowest altitude point in Hawaii is sea level at 0 feet. Many of its tourist destinations are at or around sea level.

What Is The Highest Point In All Of Hawaii?

The highest point in all of Hawaii is the summit of Mauna Kea at 13,803 feet (4,207 m) above sea level. Located on the Big Island, Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano that's very popular to drive (4-wheel) or hike, featuring a visitor center and observatory.

Do You Get Altitude Sickness In Hawaii?

Yes, you can get altitude sickness in Hawaii on many of its volcanic mountains that exceed 4,000 to 6,000 feet.

Travel Medicine Consultants writes that altitude sickness can start as low as 4,000 feet.⁴ We notice in our home of Denver Colorado, many visitors observe symptoms of altitude sickness at around 5,000 feet high, and much worse of the elevations higher than that.

For the many mountain adventures Hawaii offers, they will carry the risk of altitude sickness at these kinds of heights.

Hawaii Altitude Sickness

Hawaii altitude sickness happens due to lack of oxygen as you ascend to higher heights in the volcanic mountains.

This leads to physiological stress on the body including oxidative stress from increased free radical damage. Symptoms of altitude sickness in Hawaii can start with something as simple as a headache or extreme fatigue.

Symptoms of Hawaii altitude sickness may include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue or tiredness 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble breathing
  • Sleeping difficulty or insomnia
  • Generally feeling ill

When climbing or ascending any of Hawaii’s mountains, be on the lookout for these types of symptoms as altitude sickness can develop as fast as 6 hours. Follow our critical tips below to be better prepared.

4 Tips To Avoid Hawaii Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness can put a damper on your Hawaiian adventure, but with a few simple precautions, you can minimize the risks. 

As a high-altitude based company in Colorado, we’ll share the best expert tips that are proven to aid your body in the mountain.

Here are 4 tips to help you avoid Hawaii altitude sickness:

1. Get Ample Sleep

One of the often overlooked aspects of avoiding altitude sickness is ensuring you get enough sleep. Especially visiting Hawaii with the risk of jet lag drastically affecting your sleep, this step becomes even more important.

Sleep is the secret ingredient to recovery, and has been shown in research to even help blood flow and oxygen.⁵

Aim for at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night, especially before ascending to higher elevations in Hawaii. To improve sleep quality, you can maximize getting natural sunlight exposure during the day which can help melatonin production at night.

2. Hydrate Better

Staying hydrated is a golden rule, but most people are dehydrated in general. You add high altitude into the mix, and fluid loss increases twice as fast as sea level shown by the Wilderness Medical Society.⁶

Good hydration plays a role in so many functions in the body, so ensure you drink plenty of water. Half your body weight in ounces of water a day is often recommended.

TIP: Water alone isn’t enough for the best hydration. To enhance hydration, add sea salt to your food/drink and take Zaca’s hydration chewables which can help increase water absorption.

3. Avoid Alcohol

While a tropical Hawaiian cocktail might seem tempting, alcohol can exacerbate the effects of altitude with symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and worsened sleep.

When exploring Hawaii's higher altitudes, consider limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption altogether, especially the day before and after. Your performance will go up, and risk of negative after-effects will go down.

4. Take Antioxidants

High altitudes are shown to increase oxidative stress on the body.⁷ So much that one study proved glutathione to deplete by 45%, considered to be your body’s master antioxidant.⁸

Support your body's resilience by taking antioxidant supplements like glutathione, which are shown to be effective for high elevation conditions.⁹

By integrating these four tips into your preparations, you'll be better equipped to avoid Hawaii altitude sickness and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Safe travels!

Chewables For Altitude & Travel

Altitude Tablets
The ultimate companion for your travel adventures, Zaca’s chewables help you rehydrate, replenish, and recover faster. This specially formulated blend includes glutathione for antioxidant support and glutamine to aid hydration. Convenient and easy-to-take packets, Zaca chewables are the perfect on-the-go solution. Stay refreshed and revitalized by taking 2-4 chewables per day, or as needed.
Try Zaca’s chewable supplement today and be prepared for whatever traveling throws your way.


1. Hawaii Elevation
2. Altitude of Hawaii
3. Effects of high altitude on humans
4. High Altitude Illness
5. Sleep: The Secret Ingredient of Injury Recovery
6. Why Do You Need to Drink a Lot of Water at a High Altitude?
7. High altitude and oxidative stress
8. Effect of high altitude (7,620 m) exposure on glutathione
9. Oxidative Stress and Diseases Associated with High-Altitude Exposure