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If you’re planning a trip to Maui and wondering whether you’ll be able to see the majestic Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island, you’ve come to the right place. In short, the answer is yes, you can see Mauna Loa from Maui on clear days.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about spotting Mauna Loa from Maui. We’ll discuss the best locations on Maui to view the volcano, what weather conditions are ideal, tips for photographing it, and more.

How Far is Mauna Loa from Maui?

The distance between the islands

Mauna Loa, one of the world’s largest volcanoes, is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, while Maui is a neighboring island. The distance between the two islands is approximately 30 miles (48 kilometers) at their closest points. However, the actual distance can vary due to the curvature of the Earth and the specific locations on each island.

Why the distance matters for visibility

The distance between Mauna Loa and Maui plays a significant role in determining whether you can see the volcano from the latter. While Mauna Loa’s massive size and elevation of over 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) make it visible from several points on the Big Island, the distance from Maui makes it less likely to be seen clearly.

Due to the curvature of the Earth and atmospheric conditions, visibility can be limited, especially from a distance. The height of Mauna Loa can also be a factor, as its peak may be obscured by clouds or haze. Additionally, the prevailing trade winds in the region can carry moisture and volcanic emissions, further affecting visibility.

It is important to note that while Mauna Loa may not be visible from Maui on most days, there are exceptional circumstances where atmospheric conditions allow for better visibility. However, these instances are relatively rare and cannot be guaranteed.

If you want to witness the grandeur of Mauna Loa firsthand, visiting the Big Island of Hawaii is your best bet. The island offers various vantage points, such as the Mauna Kea Summit or the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can marvel at the beauty and power of this awe-inspiring volcano.

For more information about the visibility of Mauna Loa from Maui and other Hawaiian islands, you can refer to the official website of the National Park Service’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:

Best Spots on Maui to See Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is an impressive and iconic volcano that can be seen from various parts of the Hawaiian archipelago. While it may not be visible from every spot on Maui, there are a few places where you can catch a glimpse of this majestic volcano. Here are some of the best spots on Maui to see Mauna Loa:

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater, the centerpiece of Haleakala National Park, offers breathtaking views of both the sunrise and the night sky. On a clear day, you can also catch a glimpse of Mauna Loa in the distance. Standing at over 10,000 feet above sea level, the summit of Haleakala provides an ideal vantage point to appreciate the grandeur of Mauna Loa and its neighboring volcanoes.

Hana Highway

The scenic Hana Highway, a winding road that stretches along Maui’s eastern coast, offers numerous lookout points where you can admire the beauty of the ocean and the lush rainforest. Some of these viewpoints also provide panoramic views of the neighboring islands, including glimpses of Mauna Loa on a clear day. As you navigate the twists and turns of this iconic highway, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these stunning vistas.

Kaanapali, Lahaina, and West Maui

The western coast of Maui, encompassing popular areas like Kaanapali and Lahaina, is another great place to catch a glimpse of Mauna Loa. The expansive beaches and resorts in these areas offer unobstructed views of the ocean, providing an excellent backdrop for admiring the distant volcano. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail by the pool or strolling along the beach, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of Mauna Loa on the horizon.

Upcountry Maui towns like Kula and Ulupalakua

For those looking to escape the coastal areas and explore the lush upcountry of Maui, towns like Kula and Ulupalakua offer unique opportunities to see Mauna Loa. These elevated regions provide a different perspective of the volcano, with rolling hills and expansive landscapes framing the distant view. Take a drive through the picturesque countryside and enjoy the peaceful surroundings while catching glimpses of Mauna Loa along the way.

While Mauna Loa may not be visible from every corner of Maui, these spots offer some of the best opportunities to admire this magnificent volcano. Remember to check the weather conditions and aim for clear days to maximize your chances of seeing Mauna Loa from Maui. So, whether you’re exploring the famous Haleakala Crater, driving along the scenic Hana Highway, relaxing on the beaches of Kaanapali, or venturing into the upcountry towns of Kula and Ulupalakua, keep an eye out for the majestic Mauna Loa.

Ideal Conditions for Spotting Mauna Loa

If you find yourself on the beautiful island of Maui and are wondering if you can catch a glimpse of the majestic Mauna Loa volcano, there are a few ideal conditions you should keep in mind. While Mauna Loa is located on the neighboring island of Hawaii, it is possible to see it from certain vantage points on Maui under the right circumstances.

Clear Skies

One of the most important factors for spotting Mauna Loa from Maui is clear skies. Clear weather allows for unobstructed views and increases the chances of seeing the volcano. Cloudy or hazy conditions can make it difficult to spot Mauna Loa, so it’s best to plan your observation on a day with clear skies.

Early Morning Hours

The ideal time to try and catch a glimpse of Mauna Loa from Maui is during the early morning hours. This is when the air is usually clearer and less affected by haze or pollution. The rising sun can also enhance the visibility of distant objects, making it more likely to see the volcano on the horizon.

Winter and Spring Months

While you can potentially see Mauna Loa from Maui throughout the year, the winter and spring months tend to offer better viewing conditions. During these months, the atmosphere is generally drier and less prone to haze. Additionally, the winter and spring months often experience lower levels of volcanic activity, which can result in clearer skies and improved visibility.

It’s important to note that while these conditions increase the likelihood of seeing Mauna Loa from Maui, there is no guarantee. The distance between the two islands and the atmospheric conditions can impact visibility. However, if you find yourself in the right place at the right time, you might just be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this iconic volcano.

For more information on Mauna Loa and its visibility from Maui, you can visit, the official website of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Tips for Photographing Mauna Loa from Maui

Use a zoom lens

When photographing Mauna Loa from Maui, using a zoom lens is essential to capture the grandeur of this iconic volcano. Mauna Loa is located on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is around 100 miles away from Maui. With such a distance, a zoom lens will allow you to get a closer shot and bring out the details of the volcano. A telephoto lens with a focal length of at least 200mm would be ideal for capturing stunning images of Mauna Loa.

Account for atmospheric haze

While photographing Mauna Loa from Maui, it is important to be aware of the atmospheric haze that can affect the clarity of your images. The Hawaiian Islands are known for their pristine air quality, but atmospheric conditions can still cause haze, especially when shooting from a distance. To minimize the impact of haze on your photographs, consider shooting during early morning or late afternoon when the air is typically clearer. Additionally, using a polarizing filter can help reduce glare and enhance the visibility of the volcano.

Include foreground elements

When capturing images of Mauna Loa from Maui, don’t forget to include interesting foreground elements to create a more dynamic composition. Look for natural features such as palm trees, rocks, or coastline that can serve as visually appealing foreground elements. Including these elements not only adds depth to your photos but also provides a sense of scale, showcasing the immense size of Mauna Loa in comparison.

By following these tips, you can capture stunning photographs of Mauna Loa from Maui that truly showcase the beauty of this iconic volcano.

Other Maui Activities for Volcano Viewing Days

While Mauna Loa may not be visible from Maui, there are plenty of other activities for volcano enthusiasts to enjoy on the island. Here are a few suggestions:

Hiking the Kapalua coastal trail

One of the best ways to appreciate Maui’s natural beauty is by hiking the Kapalua coastal trail. This trail offers stunning views of the ocean, lush greenery, and even the chance to spot some wildlife. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the island’s unique landscape and get some exercise at the same time.

Touring Hana and the road to Hana

The road to Hana is famous for its breathtaking scenery, with waterfalls, rainforests, and stunning coastal views. Taking a tour or driving this scenic road will give you a chance to explore the more remote parts of Maui and witness its natural wonders up close. Don’t forget to make a stop in the town of Hana itself for a taste of local culture and cuisine.

Experiencing Haleakala sunrise or sunset

Haleakala National Park is home to the dormant Haleakala volcano and offers a unique opportunity to witness breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Watching the colors change over the volcanic landscape is a truly awe-inspiring experience. Be sure to check the park’s website for any restrictions or reservations required for sunrise visits, as it is a popular activity among visitors.

While these activities may not provide a view of Mauna Loa, they offer their own unique perspectives on Maui’s volcanic history and natural beauty. So, even if you can’t see Mauna Loa from Maui, you can still have an amazing volcano-themed adventure on the island!


To summarize, Mauna Loa on the Big Island is visible from Maui under the right conditions. The best views are from high elevations like Haleakala Crater and Upcountry Maui on clear days, especially in the winter and spring. Photographing the distant volcano takes patience and the right gear. Even if you can’t see Mauna Loa, there are plenty of other incredible things to see and do on beautiful Maui!

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