North Pit Junction to Mauna Loa Summit

Waimea, Hawaii

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There isn’t much more to see from the summit than there is from the cabin across Moku’aweoweo crater, but you do get the satisfaction of standing on top of the biggest volcano in the world. You will probably want to make the trip a day hike either from North Pit if you are camped there, or from the summit cabin. You could probably get there and back from the Observatory Trailhead in one day if you are a very strong hiker and very well acclimatized to the altitude, but it’s a grueling trek. It’s an easier walk to the summit from North Pit than to the cabin, even though it’s a little longer. From the three-way junction at Jaggar’s Cave, head northwest around the rim of North Pit, passing another ice cave and crossing a colorful crack.

North Pit Junction to Mauna Loa Summit Professional Review and Guide

"There isn’t much more to see from the summit than there is from the cabin across Moku’aweoweo crater, but you do get the satisfaction of standing on top of the biggest volcano in the world. You will probably want to make the trip a day hike either from North Pit if you are camped there, or from the summit cabin. You could probably get there and back from the Observatory Trailhead in one day if you are a very strong hiker and very well acclimatized to the altitude, but it’s a grueling trek.

It’s an easier walk to the summit from North Pit than to the cabin, even though it’s a little longer. From the three-way junction at Jaggar’s Cave, head northwest around the rim of North Pit, passing another ice cave and crossing a colorful crack."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Waimea
Distance: 2.6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Season: Spring, summer, fall
Local Contacts: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Local Maps: USGS Pu'u Ula'ula
Driving Directions: Directions to North Pit Junction to Mauna Loa Summit

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May 2018