Mauna Loa Climber's Log

Viewing: 1-20 of 41

birdhead - Jul 14, 2022 3:45 pm Date Climbed: Jun 21, 2022

Observatory and Summit Trails  Sucess!

Had to settle for Mauna Loa since Mauna Kea was closed for "feral animal eradication." When the rangers told me they would be shooting moving targets out of a helicopter, I decided it was better to find something else to hike. Mauna Loa was a fine substitute, maybe even better in some ways. However, after you hit the crater rim, it seems like it goes on forever just to gain a few hundred feet to the true summit. 5.5 hours round trip.


BridgesHI - Oct 25, 2021 5:52 pm Date Climbed: Oct 18, 2021

Mauna Loa  Sucess!

6,662' - 13,678' (7,016' gain) in 19.5 miles. I started the Mauna Loa trail at 6:45am at the Mauna Loa Lookout trailhead and arrived at Mauna Loa Summit Cabin at 5:56pm. I hiked up to the summit before dropping down to the cabin (where I slept). The next day I hiked 20.7 miles down the mountain on the Ainapo trail arriving to Highway 11 at 6:15pm. This might not seem like a very fast pace, but the terrain was pretty rugged.


yadahzoemtn - Apr 18, 2021 9:46 am Date Climbed: Apr 16, 2021

Magical and Magnificent Mountain  Sucess!

Started at 11,100' and went to the summit. This trail and summit are like no other I have been on. I was always in awe of the terrain and the surroundings I found myself in. The cairns are majestic and very much needed. I constantly found myself walking on what looked like glitter, bright blues, pinks, oranges and greens strewn along the trail. When I got to the caldera and looked down I actually felt dizzy, not because of altitude but because of how wide and deep this crater is. I have never experienced a mountain like this. Mauna Loa will always hold a special place in my heart.


Moogie737 - Apr 17, 2021 8:26 pm Date Climbed: Apr 16, 2021

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

#1 04-16-2021 W/ Lana A trail filled with unique views and ever-changing terrain. 5-10 mph winds and clear skies. What a magnificent change-of-pace from most other peaks. We truly enjoyed it. The one-lane road (17+ miles) off of the Saddle Road is quite the experience in and of itself! Ascent time was a little over 5 hours. This hike calls for good hiking boots, not trail running shoes.


Hyadventure - Jul 11, 2020 1:25 pm Date Climbed: Nov 4, 2019

Mauna Kea was closed so...  Sucess!

I'd hoped to climb the state high point on this trip but protests had closed it down. So I climbed the highest "accessible" point in the state. Probably good luck because this was a cool hike. Highly recommended.

gregoryjames7 - Mar 12, 2020 3:28 pm

gregjames  Sucess!

In 79 my friend in Kona said he was going up Mauna Loa, and asked if I wanted to go. Hitch-hiked to Mauna Loa Rd. then up to 6,700 ft, the end of the road, my friend needed an extra day to acclimatize at the 10,000 ft cabin, then we reached the summit cabin, talked a little smack with madame Pele, I'm not so bright, so, then came the storm, oh waite first came the trail maintenance kids with their supervisors, then came the storm. 70-90 mph winds, horizontal rain and hail, gnarly storm, the joint was a rocken. 2 days later the kids left by heli, and we walked back down, The view from the summit after the storm simply the best, we could see at least 5 islands and so clear. the air sparkaled, worth it once and a lifetime walk no climbing walking with every step a little higher, big mountain, cheers, Gregjames


wannabepeakbagger - Feb 17, 2019 10:28 am Date Climbed: Feb 7, 2019

From Observatory  Sucess!

Parked at Mauna Loa Observatory about 9AM. I was surprised that the entire drive from the Saddle Road was paved. The Google Streetview was a little old and still showed it as an unpaved road. There were about 6 cars in the parking area when we got there. Summit by 1pm and back to car by 4:30. About 40 degrees with a stiff breeze and sunshine the whole way. I didn't acclimatize at all and started getting a headache about 12,500 feet and had that headache for a day or so. Trail was pretty easily signed, but I imagine it can get tougher when its socked in.

Isabel B - Nov 24, 2018 10:21 pm Date Climbed: Nov 21, 2018

Found Arcteryx Vest--Observatory Trail Nov 21, 2018  Sucess!

If you lost your Arcteryx vest near the hikers parking lot, email me with the colour and size at, and we can make shipping arrangements :) I probably ran into you near the top. Beautiful day--I had unfinished business, as we "only" made it to within 15 min of the true summit last Nov as we were running short of day light. This time, I started earlier and took 7.5 hours return, (incl. approx. 1 hr worth of breaks). I love lava, but it gets pretty tedious on the way down. Hiking boots and navigation equipment highly recommended!

rahul.bhundhoo - Mar 7, 2018 7:52 pm Date Climbed: Aug 30, 2017

What an experience!  Sucess!

My first high altitude hike and it taught me a lesson. I did the Observatory Trail. I arrived at the trail head at around 1130 am and acclimatized for about 1 hour. I knew that I had to leave soon if I wanted to reach the summit in time before sunset. Hiking back down in the dark would be too dangerous and simply foolhardy. Within 30 minutes of the hike, I start getting a headache. I did not acclimatize enough. I hiked up to the North Pit with a couple from Qu├ębec, Ontario. About 1 hour away from the cabin, I had mild altitude sickness. I was weak, had a headache, my heart rate was higher than usual and I just wanted to slump down on the volcanic rocks and sleep on the rocks. However I made it to the cabin and past hikers gratefully left their sleeping bags (at night it gets close to 0 degrees). I slept overnight in the cabin and my AMS got worst. Morning came and getting down seemed impossible every 5 steps I took, I was winded. Luckily I made it back. What an experience it was, if I could do it again I would. The Mokuaweoweo crater is breathtaking; the depth and size of it will truly leave you speechless. As a rookie, this hike has taught me a lot and has reinforced my love for mountaineering. My next projects; Kilauea to Mauna Loa Summit, Cotopaxi and Chimborazo. Cheers!

T. White

T. White - Nov 5, 2017 8:48 pm Date Climbed: Jul 8, 2010

Surface of another planet  Sucess!

The Observatory Trail is superlative... remoteness, ruggedness, altitude, prominence... all from a walk-up. Altitude sickness was an issue when starting the day in Hilo, though... I got a little loopy and that last mile was neverending.

The caldera is insane, but it's hard to take in the view when insects are dive-bombing your face thanks to all the "offerings" people have placed at the summit cairn!

Saw nobody else the entire day. Glorious. Can easily see why the ancient Hawaiians considered it a supernatural realm.


Redwic - May 24, 2017 12:53 am Date Climbed: May 22, 2017

Great summit view but..  Sucess!

... I did not care for the jagged lava rocks. I was able to figure out a nice shortcut on the ascent but opted to take the full Observatory Trail route during the descent. The caldera view was awesome. I had the entire trek virtually all to myself, only seeing one spider, one fly, and... much later... one hiker, during the climb. My wife and I celebrated our Hawaii trip later that evening with a great luau in Kona.


MaverickMerk - Sep 6, 2016 3:42 pm Date Climbed: Sep 5, 2016

via Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Living at sea level has made me soft! Incredible view of the caldera. Wrecked havoc on my boots.

setrent - Jul 6, 2016 11:35 am Date Climbed: Sep 1, 2015

OB Trail  Sucess!

Neat hike, bring a lot of water!


McCannster - Apr 18, 2016 10:44 am Date Climbed: Apr 16, 2016

Another world  Sucess!

Hiked with Alika and Nicole via the Ob Trail. Such a spectacular place. Summit was outstanding. Overnighted at the summit cabin, which is on the opposite side of the caldera from the actual summit. Was a treat to eat dinner overlooking the crater.


strudolyubov - Apr 17, 2016 8:16 pm Date Climbed: Dec 23, 2015

Mauna Loa Trail and Observatory Trail runs  Sucess!

23/12/2015: Solo trail run from Mouna Loa Road 3.5 miles below the trailhead (due to the fallen tree blocking the road). Came to within a mile of the intersection with Observatory Trail and turned around due to weather. 37 miles roundtrip, 7,000' elevation gain. Total time: 11h35m, moving time 09h56m. Interesting lava running, great views!

25/12/2015: Solo trail run to the summit and back on Observatory Trail. 13.3 miles roundtrip, 2,800' elevation gain, total time: 4h10m. Beautiful weather, incredible summit views.


gimpilator - Mar 25, 2016 3:07 pm Date Climbed: Jan 30, 2016

Fun lava hike from Observatory trail  Sucess!

We also went to the top of the following: Kilauea, Pu'upua'i, Mauna Ulu, Puu Huluhulu, Pu'uwaiau, Puu Hau Kea, Mauna Kea, Puu Kea, Pu'uhau'oki, Puu Poliahu, Puu Kalepeamoa, Kilohana.

For pictures and videos see the full trip report.


bechtt - Oct 24, 2015 2:57 am Date Climbed: Oct 23, 2015

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Hiked up with Caren. She decided to forgo the summit about 250' and 1.5 miles below but still got great views of the caldera. We made it down before the rain storm hit.

Bob Burd

Bob Burd - Jun 13, 2014 12:50 am Date Climbed: Jun 4, 2014

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Standard route up the Observatory Trail, then visited 1949 Cone and 1940 Cone, then across the crater. Trip Report.


Fletch - Dec 28, 2012 5:03 pm Date Climbed: Jul 24, 2012

observatory trail  Sucess!

pretty good little hike when you're hungover...

utclimber - Dec 3, 2012 10:57 pm Date Climbed: Nov 13, 2012

Observatory Trail  Sucess!

Very unique place, with an unbelievably large crater. Round trip time was 5 hours, 10 minutes from the car.

Viewing: 1-20 of 41
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