Mauna Kea, Hawaii

HAWAI’I (the Big Island).

Mauna Kea.

This dormant volcano’s peak is 4205 m (13,796 ft) above water level– the highest mountain in the state of Hawaii. (If you measure from its base beneath the Pacific, though, it’s 10,000 m (33,000 feet) high– making it the highest mountain in the world.).

With such a clear perspective, it’s not surprising that its snowy summit is dotted with the greatest collection of huge telescopes in the world. The Onizuka Center here uses astronomy displays and nighttime stargazing programs to the general public.

Experienced mountaineers can even hike 12 miles to the summit through a transcendent landscape of volcanic cinder cones and ancient historical sites.