Now you cannot visit Big Island and not see the volcanoes . At 13,803 ft the dormant volcano of Mount Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii and a must see of Big Island. It is one of those rare places where you will see sunset in clouds by being on top of the clouds. There is no entry fees to this place however here are few pointers that will make your visit more enjoyable :
1) A 4WD is a must to drive to the summit of Mount Mauna Kea. Most of the car rental companies do not include insurance to drive up to the summit. So confirm twice with the car rental company.
2) If you plan to see the sunset , arrive at the visitor center latest by 4 pm. You are required to spend atleast 30 mins at visitor center to get acclimatized with the altitude.
3) With such an altitude , needless to say that it is very cold at the top. You will need some good warm clothes , jacket , gloves , woolen cap – just come prepared.
4) Right after the sunset , the summit is off-limit to the public and everyone must drive down immediately. If you plan to do star gazing or take pictures of galaxy , find a suitable spot near visitor center.