When we think of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest comes to mind. At 29,035 feet, Everest continues to be the quintessential place for climbers hoping to conquer its vast peaks. But Everest ain’t got nothing on Mauna Kea, which some argue is actually the tallest mountain in the world.

Is Mauna Kea the tallest mountain in the world?

Of course, you’d need some scuba gear to really enjoy this Big Island volcano’s height. The base of it extends many miles below the ocean’s surface; from which it measures a whopping 33,000 feet tall; about 4,000 feet taller than Mt. Everest. It’s difficult to tell from land, but in addition to Mauna Kea’s elevation of 13,796 feet above sea level, there’s another 17,000 feet underwater.

Even Haleakala on Maui would technically be taller than Mt. Everest, if you take into consideration the 19,680 feet of volcano beneath the ocean’s surface. When added to the 10,023 feet of volcano above sea level, you’ve got about 675 feet more height than Everest.

Technically, Haleakala is also taller than Mt. Everest.

Don’t worry, though. You won’t be needing any hard-core climbing gear to reach the summits of Mauna Kea and Haleakala nor will you be risking your life in doing so. It’s actually quite a scenic drive to the top that can be enjoyed from within an air-conditioned vehicle. Both volcanoes are home to national parks that provide assistance to visitors hoping to get the most out of their experience. Stop by the visitors center for more information or take a guided tour to the top. It’s best to visit Mauna Kea during the winter months when it’s covered with snow (yes, snow in Hawaii!). While Haleakala has, hands down, THE best view of a Hawaiian sunrise!

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