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 Québec, 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!
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.
... 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.
Living at sea level has made me soft! Incredible view of the caldera. Wrecked havoc on my boots.
Neat hike, bring a lot of water!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Standard route up the Observatory Trail, then visited 1949 Cone and 1940 Cone, then across the crater. Trip Report.
pretty good little hike when you're hungover...
Very unique place, with an unbelievably large crater. Round trip time was 5 hours, 10 minutes from the car.
Very cool hike over lots of old lava flows. Getting above the clouds was a sureal experience. Had the mountain and route to my self.
Nice hike. I was alone on the mountain today. It took longer than I thought it would. Lots of rock hopping. Beautiful day.
Left Kona on a Friday night and camped at the Observation Trailhead. Went to the top the next day. Altitude sickness was the order of the day and night. Great view and hike.
An ono pupu for the the peak bagging g-spot of your soul. Recommend sleeping higher up to acclimatize for this one. I slept at the radio transmitter towers at 8900 feet (more privacy and off the road). Taking 4 liters of water is recommended as well. 7 hours 20 minutes round trip in a bizarre and very interesting place. Enjoy!
hiked up the lava fields from the Observatory. Pretty barren. Hiked on snow for the last 2.5 miles about 13000 feet, resulting in a sunburn on the back of the knees that I had not expected. Coming up from sea level in one day, this is a good way to see if you are prone to mountain sickness
Took the observation trail, camping just below the summit. What a spectacular night view of the star. Appeared so close you could almost touch them. Received light snow in the middle of the night as well. I need to go back some day in the near future and climb via the Mauna Loa Trail and again camp out on or near the summit.
I highly recommend this mountain.
made it to rim of caldera - feels like walking on Mars - no vegetation, no birds or insects, just rocks and no other sound except the wind - unfortunately clouds blocked views
What a geologic feast. Had to turn back due to time restrictions, but want to go again.