One hour from Mauni Lani (30 min North of Kona airport) to the visitor center. Then another 15 min in a Ford Fusion rental car. I've only been this high a few times, and expected at least a mild headache. I felt totally normal, except for my heart pounding during the last bit to the true summit. (Perhaps the elevation gain was so rapid my body didn't have time to respond?)
There was some snow on the final short hike, and the wind was blowing at about 0-1 mph in relatively frigid 15 deg C temps (60 deg F :-) After enduring these conditions for over one hour, it was time to return to the tropical beach.
From the Hwy 19 along the West coast North of Kona, head East on the road to Waikoloa Village. When this T's into Mamalahoa Hwy, turn right (SW), and go a couple of miles before turning left (SE)onto the new Saddle Rd, Hwy 200. This road is built to freeway specs, and is new enough to not show up on most maps and GPS's. It is correctly shown on Google Maps.
I drove up with my wife and two daughters. We did the small hike to the summit. It was fun to see some snow in Hawaii.
Tiring plod for unacclimatised flatlanders. Terrific views though and a perfect weather day. Plenty of snow from the lake onwards after 2 days of storms earlier in the week. Dozens of locals taking flatbeds of the stuff down. About 6.5 hours up. Two other groups were hiking at the same time and all took about the same.
Hiked to the summit from the Visitor Information Station on the Humu'ula Trail. Sunny sky above, clouds below. Windy and cool on the summit. Saw only a dusting of snow behind rocks near the summit.
Drove up, did't really hike. One of my favorites because my wife came along.
Went up with son and brother-in-law.
Hiked up but hitched a ride down with some astronomers hauling a telescope. Great view, and I was basically alone the whole time- even though it was a 3 day weekend.
Went to the big island for our anniversary and to hike Mauna Kea. My wife was not up to the altitude but my 14 yr old son wanted to go up it with me. We drove to the VIC and stopped for an hour to look around. I have never felt altitude the way I did on that mountain! My son never being about 5500 ft, his lack of cold weather gear, and the way we were both feeling at this point convinced me to drive to the top rather than hike it. Boy am I glad I did! The short hike to the true summit after being at sea level for a week was strenuous but well worth the effort! Summit at 12:35pm. clouds below at 5-8000 ft, 40-60 MPH winds, 42 degrees, BRIGHT sunny sky. Took pics, enjoyed the view and headed back down. Aspirin and descent solved the HA and dizziness. Very glad we drove to the top though I did feel like a slacker. Highly recommend camping at altitude prior to this as 13000 of elev gain in one day was way too much for me.
Was planning to hike this but the trail was "closed" for maintenance or some type of conservation study. No worries, took my Mazda rental car straight up the superhighway of hard pack. Good condition road, and took a few pictures of the "4wd only" and "rough conditions" signs at the bottom for kicks.
With rkymtn- it was pretty cold for Hawaii.
Planned to summit with my 16 yo son. He has never been to altitude but was a strong hiker and young. We made ascent rate of 1000'/hour (hike 50 min and rest 10 min) and he felt well but I noticed him dragging about 12,000'. By the time we got back to the road at 13,200 he felt poorly. I spoke with a ranger driving down from the top. He mentioned that another ranger up near the summit who could drive my son if he felt worse. He drove off and then my son coughed once then puked. I walked up the road toward the summit and met the other ranger as he drove down and he offered to take him. I summited and resigned myself to walking/jogging down the road. Fortunately I was picked up by a Chinese family that spoke almost no English. Great mountain. State HP #24. In retrospect we should have driven up and slept at the museum the night before.
Hiked up from the visitor center. Saw only 3 other people on the trail. The summit area looks like it could be on another planet. A couple of the buildings are HUGE!
Started at 3 am with abundant moonlight. Never used the headlamp. Saw a few shooting stars. Only saw one other person (in a car heading down) before summiting under a clear morning sky with clouds beneath. Great way to spend a night on Hawaii Island. HP45.
odd bit of hike/drive... getting to the top. Supporting a friend on her first big hike since knee surgery in 2012. She ended up not needing the aid... but, I came down with an acute case of the flu, so having the car on top proved useful! Hiked up to 11,600'... back down... drove to top, then drove down close to the 12,000' mark, hiked up to lake. Drove back to peak to enjoy the storm. Odd day... need to go back to experience it without the fever!
Did this when I was 13 years old after a tour of the telescope. Never been sicker in my life from altitude sickness!
Drove up with some buddies from work, walked to the top on my own. A little cold and windy for the shorts I was wearing.
Really convenient way to summit a mountain. Wasn't even crowded; the rangers scared away most folks who didn't have 4x4s. Road proved wide and firm, second gear was sufficient.
Had to stop and catch my breath repeatedly during my wanderings around the summit. First time over 13,000 feet.
Great hike. My girlfriend and I were the only people on the trail today. 39 degrees on the summit and splendid views in all directions.