World Reviewer rating

Worth a visit
Rating 0.9 (161 votes)

Mauna Kea

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Hawaii, United States.

  • Photo of Mauna Kea
  • Photo of Mauna Kea
Photo of Mauna Kea
Photo by Sherry Ott
Pin It

Mauna Kea, at 13,796 feet, is the tallest mountain in Hawaii and all of the Pacific Ocean. If measured from its base at the ocean’s floor, 16,000 feet down, it is the tallest in the world. Due to its great weight it has also subsided an estimated 35,000 feet into the crust. Adjacent to Mauna Kea, the cone of Mauna Loa, is only 35 meters lower. Mauna Kea comprises 23% of the island of Hawaii and is its fourth most active volcano. Geologists believe that Mauna Kea has erupted in many episodes during past times. The oldest known rocks are perhaps 237,000 years old and the age of Mauna Kea is estimated to be 1 million years. There seem to be on-and-off eruptions of a few hundred years, followed by quiet periods of a few thousand. Mauna Kea is currently dormant but last erupted about 4500 years ago, before historical times. Earthquakes occur every so often on Mauna Kea and this seems to be the result of tectonic faulting rather than the movement of magma. Winter snow falls on the heights, accumulating to many feet, and this has given the peak its indigenous name Mauna Kea, meaning ‘White Mountain.’ Glaciers have existed on Mauna Kea, an estimated three times in the past 100,000 years. Since humans first came to the Hawaiian Islands, Mauna Kea has exerted a powerful spiritual magnetism and pilgrims have often made the long climb up its steep slopes. From the peak, the view is as lovely as any in the world.

Photo: Cairn of stones, pilgrim’s trail, Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea on Sacred Sites.

Written by  Martin Gray.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

There are no posts. Why not be the first to have your say?

Post a comment, review or question

I want to
My comment - optional
Rating - how would you rate this place or experience?

Who's been here

No travelers have told us they have been here. Have you?

Similar Experiences

  • Angkor Wat

    There are two great complexes of ancient temples in Southeast Asia, one at Bagan in Burma, the other at Angkor in Cambodia. The…

  • The Great Pyramid

    The Great Pyramid is the most substantial structure of the ancient world, and one of the most mysterious. Constructed from appr…

  • The Parthenon

    The supreme expression of ancient Greek architectural genius, the Parthenon has enchanted painters and poets for two thousand y…

Nearby Experiences

  • Aloha Festivals

    If you want to master the hula the Aloha Festival is one of the best places to learn. Aloha celebrates the cosmopolitan nature…

  • Mauna Kea: Stargazing in Hawaii

    Hawaii is a destination really geared towards stargazing; boasting 90% clear nights and a total of 13 large telescopes on the s…

  • Helicopter Tour Over Hawaii

    The lava field piece connects with the rainforest piece. The brown desert piece connects to the turquoise waters of the coast. …

Related links

Contribute to this page