Visiting Subaru Telescope

Before The Tour

Visiting the summit area of Maunakea

The summit area of Maunakea is open to the public during day light hours. For more information on Maunakea and the facilities on Maunakea, please visit the web site of the Onizuka Visitor Information Station.

Public Restrooms on Mauna Kea

There are no restrooms along or near the tour route. Please make sure you use a restroom before you arrive for the tour. There are four locations on Mauna Kea with public restroom facilities. The best location is at the Onizuka visitor Information Station.

Onizuka Visitor Information Center

■ Onizuka Visitor Information Center

There are restrooms at the back of the Onizuka Visitor Information Station.

At the First T-junction

■ At the First T-junction

There are three portable toilets at the first T-junction as you approach the summit along the Mauna Kea Summit Access Road.

indicates the location of these facilities on this map of the summit.

Below the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope

■ Below the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope

There are three portable toilets slightly below the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope.

indicates the location of these facilities on this map of the summit.

W.M. Keck Observatory (Visitors Gallery)

■ W.M. Keck Observatory (Visitors Gallery)

The W. M. Keck Observatory has a visitors gallery that is open to the public from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Monday-Friday. The visitors gallery has public restrooms.

indicates the location of these facilities on this map of the summit.

The Summit Facility Tour

1. Transportation to Maunakea.

Transportation to the summit of Maunakea is the responsibility of the visitor. Please be aware that the choices of transportation to the summit of Maunakea are extremely limited and four wheel drive is required. It is either with your own 4WD vehicle, a 4WD car rented from Harper's, or by chartering one of the eight licensed tour operators authorized to go to the summit of Maunakea. We are not able to accept visitors coming with other commercial transportation like taxis. The drive from Hilo or Kona to the Maunakea summit area takes approximately 3 hours, depending on the weather and traffic. This includes a one hour rest at the Maunakea's Visitor Information Station at the 9000 ft (2800 m) level of Maunakea to acclimatize to the high altitude.

Transportation to Maunakea

2. Meeting at the Subaru Telescope.

There is a designated visitor parking area at the foot of the telescope enclosure. Subaru's summit guide will greet visitors at the door on the side of the enclosure a few minutes before the time of the tour. There are no restrooms along the tour route so make sure you use the restroom before you arrive at the Subaru Telescope.

Meeting at the Subaru Telescope

3. Our guide leading visitors for a 40 minutes tour.

Before the tour, all visitors must sign a liability waiver form. Minors need a parent's or legal guardian's signature as well. The telescope enclosure is not a building designed for human comfort but as a giant scientific instrument! The tour route includes two elevators and narrow corridors. All participants will wear hard hats for the entire duration of the tour. Visitors need to wear their own covered shoes.

Our guide leading visitors for a 40 minutes tour

4. Viewing the Subaru Telescope from a balcony.

Viewing the Subaru Telescope from a balcony

The balcony is 40 feet (12 meters) high. Try not to drop anything! Visitors will return along the same route and will be able to see the primary mirror recoating facilities at the end of the tour.

More Questions?

If you have further questions about the tours, please contact us from our inquiry form.

How can I sign up?

To make a reservation please go to our sign up page.