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Mauna Kea: A Mars and Stars Photo Experience

We will drive up the mountain of Mauna Kea to the most optimal place for stargazing and enjoy a show of the most popular constellations and planets mixed with our light effects.

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This adventure will explore to a remote Mars-like location for a unique stargazing experience unlike any other. In fact, Nasa does Mars and Moon tests right around the corner.

Explore the mountains of Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa, which ever area has the best weather. Have no fear, you won’t be going to touristy areas with lots of people around. We go to one of the best stargazing spots in all of Hawaii with no other buses or vehicles around.

Once we step foot onto the Martian soil, you’ll be handed a parka jacket along with a hot chocolate, tea or coffee. We will talk about how the very spot we are standing at, is one of the most unique spots in the entire Solar System (and most people don’t even realize it.) After that, we will do a green laser “light saber” show and point out constellations, planets, space objects and hopefully some fast moving shooting stars. Photos of the best objects in the night sky will be taken with an astro-modified camera/lens.

On to almost everyones favorite part. We will have some fun and take some epic astro-photos of you with the stars in the background.

All of the complimentary photos that we take throughout your experience will be sent to you within 24 hours after the trip. You’ll get the highest resolution photos included at no extra cost along with some free Lightroom photo editing as well.


  • Weather Guarantee: See the stars or come again for free
  • Led by an Astro-Photographer/Guide
  • Stargaze where Nasa performs Mars studies
  • Small Group Tour – 7 Passengers Max
  • Our Photo-Guides take epic photos of you
  • Green Laser “Light Saber” Star Show
  • Look at Galaxies, Nebulas and Star clusters through an Astro-Cam.
  • High Resolution Photos from your trip are now given complimentary ($200 value)


  • Comfy Parka Jackets with pockets and a hood
  • Unique Stargazing Photos, perfect for social media
  • Complimentary High-Resolution photos available for download within 24 hours after the experience
  • Kona Macadamia Nut Chocolates, Coffee, Hot Chocolate and Tea
  • Meeting Location: The base of the Mauna Loa Observatory Road


  • Hotel pickup
  • Dinner (It’s recommended to eat before the photo trip)
  • Gratuities (optional)

Know Before You Book

  • Want to ask a question? Instagram is our fastest way to respond. IG: @EpicTours
  • Comfortable pants and walking shoes are highly recommended
  • If you would like to caravan behind our tour, send us a message
  • We can take a maximum of 7 guests in our 4×4 “Mars Rover” Van
  • Persons with respiratory/heart conditions or those in poor health are not permitted on tour
  • Persons with mobility issues or limited vision are not permitted on tour
  • This tour tends to book up early, so it’s recommended to reserve your seats in advance
  • Not typically recommended for children under 10 years old
  • This is a 2 hour photo trip. We take the photos, you take home the memories
  • Scuba divers please note that we will be driving at high altitudes
  • Since we are able to start later in the evening, we avoid almost all of the other tour companies, giving you a more private and unique experience
  • You can bring your own camera, however, we will be taking photos for you and sending you the hi resolution downloads with 24 hours after your trip
  • Book your adventure on one of your first nights of your vacation, just incase we have to reschedule later in the week because of high clouds

Location, Price and Time

  • We will be meeting at the corner of Highway 200 Saddle Road and the Mauna Loa Observatory Road (roughly 25-35 minutes from Hilo and Waikoloa Village.)
  • Check the online calendar for specific start times and prices
  • We will stargaze from altitudes below 11k feet on Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa
  • Tour companies and private individuals are not permitted to stargaze at the summit. We have our own unique locations that we go to for epic stargazing. The summit is closed 30 minutes after sunset and solely for research and cultural practices

About Your Guide

  • James Ward is the owner/guide and astrophotographer for Epic Tours.
  • A company he started in 2013 on the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • Astronomy Major at the University of Hawaii.
  • Currently assisting as Mission Support for simulated moon and Mars missions at the HI-SEAS Habitat.
  • Formerly an Analog Astronaut and Vice Commander for the Sensoria M3 Moon Mission directed by the International MoonBase Alliance in collaboration with NASA.