A World Apart-The Backside of Mauna Kea Volcano


Back side of Mauna Kea as a storm rolls in

Thousands of tourists travel to Mauna Kea each year to see the Visitors Center at 9,000 feet. Most people can not get any further up the mountain from this area due to not having a 4WD vehicle or signing up with a tour company. We recently discovered the back side of the volcano accessible through a dirt road called R1.

This area is used by hunters, but also by hikers, photographers, motor and mountain bike riders. If you want to get away from it all (like we don’t already have some level of that here already) this is your place!

Here is what Big Island Revealed says about this area: “The road up to the backside of Mauna Kea leads up to a beautiful quiet wasteland of lava, pu’us, endangered Silver Sword plants and a breathless elevation of 11,500 feet. The quite is almost deafening as the landscape gets more and more Mars like. The giant telescopes of the summit are nowhere to be seen. This is what it looked like before the astronomers ever discovered Mauna Kea.”

Mauna Kea is one of the most spiritual places on the island. Watch the clouds roll in from far below and hear only the sounds of birds. Take the opportunity to connect with the energy of the island without the tourists found on the other side of the mountain. (which is really only a mile away from the observatories!

Here are pictures we took from the adventures we have been there in both rain and sun..and snow! We went up to 11,000 feet and made snow angels a few weeks ago.

DevinatMaunaKeaMy son went nuts throwing snow balls at my husband and I had fun doing my signature handstand in the snow.

A clear day on the Mars like setting of Mauna Kea A clear day on the Mars like setting of Mauna KeaSilver Sword on Mauna KeaSilver Sword on Mauna Kea

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Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at 365Kona.com and MoveToHawaii365.com and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

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