Hawaii November 30, 2016
The One Breathtaking Place In Hawaii Where It Actually Snows
When visiting the Hawaiian Islands, most people don’t expect to see snow. After all, many people travel to the beautiful Aloha State in an attempt to escape cold weather and snow. But, atop Mauna Kea – Hawaii’s tallest mountain peak and one of the most fascinating mountains in the Pacific – you shouldn’t be surprised to see snow, depending on the season, of course.
While many might opt to forgo a trip to the snowy summit of Mauna Kea because they have neglected to pack long pants and a jacket, there are countless Hawaii residents who visit Mauna Kea to see snow - whether, as transplants, they miss the snow, or they’ve lived here their entire life and have never experienced snow.
Mauna Kea measures in at 13,796 feet above sea level, the highest point in the state of Hawaii. In fact, when measured from its oceanic base deep in the vast Pacific, the mountain measures in at more than 33,000 feet tall – that’s higher than Mount Everest.
As a matter of fact, the peak is so tall that visitors are advised to stop at the visitor center for at least half an hour to acclimate to the elevation before continuing on to the summit.
The summit lies about the tree line, and primarily consists of lava rock and alpine tundra. Growth is restricted by extremely cold temperatures, a short growing season, little rainfall, and snow during the winter months.
The last time it snowed on Mauna Kea was in October, and we’re certainly hoping for snow again this season.
The snow never falls below 9,000 feet in elevation, and doesn’t usually last long, but that doesn’t mean that residents don’t take full advantage of the snowy mountaintop. Though not maintained as a recreational ski area, many intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders flock to the mountain during a snowstorm.
Don’t forget to call ahead, though - when it snows, it takes crews a few days to clear away the ice and make the roads safe to drive again.
And even if there’s no snow, you’re still sure to get your fix of cold weather while at the summit of Mauna Kea; winter temperatures average from 25 to 40 degrees fahrenheit, while summer temperatures varying from 30 to 60 degrees.
For up to date weather conditions on the summit, check out Have you visited the summit of Mauna Kea while it was covered in snow? Be sure to read about the “ Mauna Kea’s live streaming weather cams here. 11 Things You May Not Know About Hawaii’s Mauna Kea” while you’re here.