Mauna Loa Tours

8 reviews
The world’s most massive volcano doesn’t tower over Hawaii Island like you might expect. Instead, its giant three-pronged fingers take up most of the southern half of the island, reaching the sea in spots both north and south of Kailua Kona, across the Saddle Road interior and sloping down behind Hilo. It’s possible to be on the slopes of Mauna Loa and not even realize it.

To get a true sense of the volcano, most visitors opt to drive along the central Saddle Road, etched into the barren lava rock foothills where Mauna Loa meets Mauna Kea. Those who turn in near the 28 Mile Marker on Mauna Loa Observatory Road are rewarded with a 17-mile (one-way) scenic drive up its slopes from about 6,500 feet above sea level to 11,150 feet, ending near the entrance to mountain's observatories.

Unlike the astronomical observatories atop neighboring Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa’s observatories mostly monitor weather. They are possible to visit, but prior arrangement is required. Additionally, a number of hikes around the island explore Mauna Loa’s flanks and two challenging routes—a 13-mile day trip and a 30+ mile, three- to five-day trip—will get your feet shuffling toward the summit. Travelers should note that hiking the longer Mauna Kea Summit Trail requires advance permits obtained through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Along-the-route cabins restrict the trail to a maximum of 16 hikers at any given time, so it’s best to reserve permits in advance.

Practical Info

Though currently not erupting (the last was in 1984), the volcano is still considered active. Mauna Loa is not prone to violent eruptions—instead it oozes lava toward the sea—but visitors should still be aware of the possibility of eruption and take appropriate precautions when visiting. If you plan to go up Mauna Loa, or even just drive along the Saddle Road, note that elevation gain is significant and that this should not be done following scuba diving. If you have any signs of altitude sickness—weakness, trouble breathing, higher pulse—turn back to a lower elevation. It can be chilly at the top (it even sometimes snows!) so be sure to wear cold-weather clothing if you plan to leave your vehicle. Tours of the summit observatories are currently only offered on select Thursdays at 12:30pm (though this could change).
Location
Address: Hawaii, USA, USA
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14 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Waterfall Heli-Trek: Big Island Helicopter Tour and Hiking Adventure

Two of the best ways to explore the Big Island of Hawaii are by air and your own two feet — both of which are possible with this Big Island helicopter tour and hiking adventure. Begin by exploring the island by air on a 1.5-hour flight, where you’ll experience the fury of Kilauea Volcano in Volcanoes National Park, and pass over pasture lands, black-sand beaches, and waterfalls that spill toward the coast. You’ll next touch down in North Kohala, the home of King Kamehameha, to hike through valleys and lush rainforests that were once inhabited by kings.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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USD794.00
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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USD794.00

Mauna Kea Summit and Stars Small-Group Adventure Tour

Experience big skies and incredible nighttime views on this Mauna Kea stargazing trip with a small group. Join no more than 28 guests for a pre-trip picnic at a historic Hawaiian ranch, proceeded by a ride in a 4x4 luxury van to the summit of the Big Island's tallest peak. After admiring a sunset view, continue down to 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) for a stargazing session, complete with a telescope, hot chocolate, and dessert. The trip also includes a guide and a hooded parka to keep you warm.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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USD235.00
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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USD235.00

Big Island Adventure Combo: Helicopter, Zipline and Lava Tour

Experience Hawaii’s most impressive natural wonders by land and by air on this unforgettable Big Island adventure! Soar above a tropical river gorge on an 8-track zipline course that includes one of the longest lines in Hawaii, and fly over Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes on a thrilling helicopter ride. Explore Hawaii’s explosive history with a guided trek through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and enjoy dinner with a glass of wine or wine tasting.
  • Duration: 14 hours
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USD571.87
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  • Duration: 14 hours
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USD571.87

Kohala Waterfalls Small Group Adventure Tour

Delve into Hawaii’s history and prepare to get wet on this full-day waterfall adventure tour of the Big Island’s Kohala coast. Begin with a drive up the Kona coastline past lava flows, and take in sweeping views from the old Kohala Mule Station lookout. Rumble through the rugged landscape in an off-road vehicle and hike along the tunnels and aqueducts of a historic sugar plantation. Admire the seven Kohala waterfalls and cool off with a dip under the final cascade. A picnic lunch and hotel transport are included.
  • Duration: 8 hours
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USD195.00
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  • Duration: 8 hours
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USD195.00

Small Group Tour: Deluxe Volcano Experience with Restaurant Dinner

See two of the largest volcanoes in the world and stop at one of the most active on this full-day, small-group excursion. First, drive between the Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, stopping for lunch at Mauna Kea State Park. Then watch for current activity at Kilauea Volcano, the most active of the five volcanoes in Hawaii. Head to Kilauea National Park to see the beautiful landscapes and enjoy dinner at Kilauea Lodge. Finally, stop at the Jagger Museum to see the nighttime glow at Halemaumau Crater. Hotel pickup/drop-off included.
  • Duration: 12 hours
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USD238.54
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  • Duration: 12 hours
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USD238.54

Experience Hawai'i Big Island Helicopter Flight from Kona

Look down on the varied landscape of the Big Island from the air on a helicopter tour from Kona. At about one hour and 45 minutes, this flight is longer than typical heli tours and provides the opportunity to be wowed by Hawaii’s amazing natural features, from waterfalls to volcanoes to rainforests. Fly along the coast and over Waimanu and Waipio valleys, and spot island industry like macadamia nut orchards. Upgrade to guarantee a window seat.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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USD559.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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USD559.00

NEW TO VIATOR

Volcanoes Air Tour of the Big Island Volcanoes- Kahului Departure

Spend two thrilling hours in the sky above Maui and the Big Island in a comfortable Cessna aircraft, and see Hawaii’s incredible volcanoes in a whole new light. Your two pilots conduct a safety briefing and offer narration throughout the flight. Lookout for sparks over Kilauea, which was recently ranked among one of the most active volcanoes in the world. See great views of Waimea Valley's dramatic cliffs over Hilo and admire the waterfalls of the Kohala Coast before getting back on the ground.
  • Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
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USD499.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes
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USD499.00

Big Island Air Tour by Cessna Plane

Soar above the Big Island’s volcanic steam vents, rainforests and rugged coastline on an air tour by Cessna Plane. Enjoy almost two hours of flying time as you explore Hawaii’s most iconic island, and explore a dynamic landscape of simmering volcanos, crashing surf and lava flows. Take in commentary from your pilot as you bank above Hawaii Volcanos National Park and get extraordinary aerial views of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, then watch for migrating whales as you glide over the coast’s beaches, farms and renowned surf breaks. 
  • Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
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USD399.00
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  • Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
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USD399.00

Hilo Volcano Special Tour

If you’re spending some time on the Big Island, this all-day tour is a must-do. Set off from Hilo on an adventure to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see Kilauea, one of the most active volcano in Hawaii. Make some pit stops at Richardson Beach Park, Rainbow Falls, and Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. 
  • Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes
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USD120.00
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  • Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes
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USD120.00

Big Island Sunset Flight from Kona

Watch night fall over the Pacific on a 2-hour sunset air tour of the Big Island, and explore steaming calderas, rainforests and Hawaii’s rugged coast. Leave Kona in a Cessna plane and soar above the Hawaii Volcanos National Park; see Kilauea’s lava flows glow in the dusky light as you enjoy your pilot’s commentary on the island’s landmarks and history. Capture unforgettable images through the plane’s viewing windows, glide over the coast’s beaches and surf breaks then catch the night’s first stars as you touch back down in Kona.   
  • Duration: 2 hours
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USD449.99
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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USD449.99

Viator VIP: The Sunset Experience Helicopter Tour from Kona

If ever there were a place to see by helicopter it’s the spectacular Big Island of Hawaii. Here on America’s largest island, the landscape ranges from snowcapped summits to crashing waves on the coast, and thundering falls through rich green rainforests to black-sand beaches and lava. On this VIP Big Island helicopter tour, which can only be booked on Viator, experience a whopping two full hours of jaw-dropping aerial views, and sip Champagne before soaring over the Big Island shoreline until sunset.
  • Duration: 2 hours
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USD750.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours
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USD750.00

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Big Island Highlights Small Group Tour

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is unlike anywhere else on the planet, where one of the world’s most active volcanoes sends lava dripping towards the sea, and a towering mountain lies dormant and ready to pop. On this private tour of the National Park, hear the legends of Madame Pele, the mythical Hawaiian fire goddess, and tour from Hilo to the eastern coastline and the rim of Kilauea volcano. Because it’s a completely private tour, your guide can customize the pace and number of sights. When you book, note your lunch requirements in the checkout field.
  • Duration: 10 hours
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USD166.67
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  • Duration: 10 hours
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USD166.67

Endangered Native Habitats

Discover Hawaii’s remarkable wildlife on a full-day, small-group birdwatching tour into the Big Island’s Mauna Kea Forest Reserve. Travel on foot and by four-wheel drive as you explore dry forest and rainforest habitats that shelter the endangered palila honeycreeper, the Hawaii amakihi and the Hawaii ‘elepaio. Listen for the calls of endemic songbirds as you traverse an otherworldly lava trail, then follow a local, bird-loving guide along forest paths into the distinctive, high-elevation mamane-naio ecosystem.
  • Duration: 12 hours
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USD215.00
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  • Duration: 12 hours
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USD215.00

Ultimate Hawaii Waterfalls combo Dolphin Boat Tour

Experience Hawaii’s whales, waterfalls and wildlife with a 2.5-hour tour of the Hamakua coastline on a 40-foot (12-meter) catamaran from Hilo. Learn about this history of this lush region as you navigate past the old town, a sugar mill and some beloved local surf spots. Between December and April, watch humpback whales breach and play in the ocean, and visit a trio of waterfalls that tumble from coastal cliffs to the ocean. Get a glimpse of old Hawaii in Onomea Bay, where a tropical forest thrives on the protected coast.
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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USD145.00
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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USD145.00


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