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The Cabins of Mauna Loa

March 5, 2010

Yes this is in Hawaii..the Mauna Loa summit cabin on the rim of Moku'aweoweo at 13,250 feet offers a rare island experience.

Tired of the multi-million dollar resorts, swaying coconut trees, sandy beaches and the warm waters of the Pacific? Then have we got a place for you! Perched high above the touristy havens of the Big Island of Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park operates two secluded cabins on the behemoth-of-a-volcano, Mauna Loa. Here there are no trees, no tour buses, no room service…for that matter, there’s no anything! The two cabins, Pu’u ‘Ula’ula and the Summit Cabin  (at 10,035ft and 13,250ft respectively), offer a rare experince for those willing to fight through bone-chilling cold,  severe winter conditions, blizzards, high winds, and whiteouts.

In addition to severe weather, altitude sickness is a major issue for many hikers. Oh, that’s right, the only way to reach these cabins is by strenuous trails over the mountain’s lava fields. Speaking of lava…volcanic eruptions are also possible…remember this is an active volcano! How many trails have you walked on that has a warning like this:

“Stay upslope from active lava flows and remain on high ground. Stay upwind of volcanic gasses. Earth cracks, thin crusts, and lava tubes are numerous.”

Once you overcome the dangers of cold, fatigue and, possibly, lava, you can enjoy the other-worldly terrain and views these cabins afford…not to mention the world-class views of the stars at night! If you would like information about these cabins (and what it takes to get to them!), visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’ Mauna Loa page.

The massive summit caldera Moku`aweoweo. The last eruption occurred here in 1984.

Mauna Loa summit eruption in 1984 (Photo Courtesy USGS).

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