Does it snow in Hawaii? When, Where & Surprising Facts!

Does it snow in Hawaii?

Does it snow in Hawaii? If you want to know the answer, you’ve come to the right place! 

I’m going to tell you all you need to know about snow in Hawaii, from where it snows, when it snows, if you can ski there, and many facts that will leave you shocked.

As a lover of warm weather, my trip to Hawaii was one of my best ever!

So, imagine my surprise when I hiked up the Haleakala volcano in Maui at sunset and discovered snow at the top

Observatory Dome at the Peak of Mauna Kea Volcano with snow

It was an unexpected and unforgettable moment, blending a warm-weather paradise with a wintry wonderland. Hawaii truly offers surprises at every turn, even for those who prefer the sun.

So, does it snow in Hawaii? As it’s one of the most frequently asked questions by travelers, in this post I’m answering all the questions about snowing in Hawaii that might actually surprise you. 

❄️ Make the most of snow in Hawaii with this amazing Mauna Kea Summit guided tour which includes a 4×4 Passenger Van to the summit, dinner at the Onizuka Astronomy Complex, astronomical telescope, and more!

Does it snow in Hawaii? (Quick answer)

Yes, it snows in Hawaii. Hawaii experiences snowfall on its highest peaks, such as Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, although it’s a rare occurrence.

Observatory Domes at the Peak of Mauna Kea Volcano at sunset, one of the places to see snow in Hawaii

Can it Snow in Hawaii?

Yes – Snow in Hawaii is a rare and fascinating phenomenon that occurs primarily on the highest peaks of the Big Island.

Cold temperatures, coupled with moisture in the air, are necessary for snow to form. 

The Kona Low, a low-pressure system that affects the islands during the winter months, can bring heavy rain, strong winds, and occasionally, snow to the higher elevations.

does it snow in Hawaii

Additionally, climate change and its impact on weather patterns have raised questions about the future frequency and intensity of snowfall in Hawaii.

However, it’s important to note that even during these months, snowfall is not guaranteed, and the amount of snow can vary significantly from year to year.

The National Weather Service and Winter Storms in Hawaii

The National Weather Service plays a crucial role in monitoring weather conditions across the Hawaiian Islands, including the occurrence of winter storms. 

During these storms, Hawaii’s mountain peaks experience heavy snowfall, sometimes accumulating several feet of snow. 

Hawaii Volcano Cone with Snow and Clouds

Winter storms bring not only inches of snow but also high winds that create a breathtaking spectacle of swirling snowflakes.

How Often Does It Snow in Hawaii

When you think of Hawaii, pristine beaches, swaying palm trees, and tropical vibes probably come to mind. And rightfully so! 

Hawaii is renowned for its stunning coastline, lush rainforests, and breathtaking volcanic landscapes. But snow? That’s a bit of a rarity in these parts.

While Hawaii is blessed with a delightful year-round warm climate, its tropical location prevents it from experiencing snowfall in most areas

The average temperatures in Hawaii hover around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees Celsius), making it an ideal destination for sun-seeking adventurers. 

Now, you might be wondering if there’s any chance of catching a glimpse of snow during your Hawaiian getaway. Well, here’s where things get interesting. 

Did you know that the last snowfall in Hawaii has been recorded on March 3, 2023, at Mauna Loa volcano? With an unusual snowfall of up to 8 inches.

Snow, ice and wind put astronomy on pause atop Mauna Kea

There is a place on the Big Island of Hawaii where snow occasionally makes a surprise appearance—I’m talking about the magnificent Mauna Kea volcano

Standing tall at over 13,000 feet (3,962 meters), Mauna Kea’s lofty summit can experience snowfall during winter months

So, if you’re up for a unique adventure, you can venture to the top of Mauna Kea and witness a rare snow-covered spectacle in the midst of a tropical paradise. 

Just remember to come prepared with warm clothing and check road and weather conditions before heading up the mountain!

Tourists Watching Sunset on the Top of Haleakala Volcano in winter

Another area that regularly sees snow is the Haleakala volcano on Maui island, which sits around 10,000 feet above sea level and typically receives snowfall every five years or so. 

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Hawaii was a frigid 12 degrees, observed on Mauna Kea on May 17, 1979, according to the weather service.

Hawaii Climate Monitoring Record where you can now when it snow in Hawaii

When is there Snowfall in Hawaii?

When it comes to snowfall in Hawaii, the timing is limited and specific. Snow is most likely to occur during the winter months, typically between December and February

However, it’s important to note that the occurrence of snowfall in Hawaii is rare and largely confined to higher elevations, such as the highest peaks of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, on Hawaii island. 

Man in Haleakala National Park Hawaii during winter months

If you’re eager to witness snow in Hawaii, planning a visit during the winter season increases your chances, but it’s essential to stay updated on weather conditions and road accessibility before making the trip.

Where does it Snow in Hawaii?

Snow in Mauna Kea

Known as the tallest mountain in Hawaii, Mauna Kea receives snowfall on its summit, where the observatory domes are located, creating a beautiful snowy landscape.

The top of Mauna Kea Hawaii full of snow

Its peak often boasts a pristine white covering during winter storms, creating a striking contrast against the island’s lush greenery. 

Visitors to Mauna Kea’s summit can witness stunning panoramic views, sometimes adorned with snow-capped peaks, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of winter in paradise.

❄️ Make the most of snow in Hawaii with this amazing Mauna Kea Summit guided tour which includes a 4×4 Passenger Van to the summit, dinner at the Onizuka Astronomy Complex, astronomical telescope, and more!

As you venture higher, the landscape transforms into a surreal world of lava rock formations, creating a unique backdrop for winter exploration. 

On the Mauna Kea Weather Center website, you can check all the information related to weather, storms, and snow, as well as see live images from their webcam.

Snow in Mauna Loa

The highest peaks of Mauna Loa, located in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, experience occasional snowfall during winter, although it is less frequent compared to Mauna Kea.

Snow in hawaii

Snow in Haleakala National Park

On the island of Maui, Haleakala is a dormant volcano reaching an elevation of 10,023 feet (3,055 meters), that occasionally sees snowfall, offering a rare winter delight.

Actually, Haleakala had a bit of snowfall in December 2022. Although it didn’t stick around for more than a day or two, it was definitely a magical sight to behold. 

Video shows snow atop Haleakalā on Maui; Summit remains closed to the public

Witnessing the snow-capped peak of Haleakala against the backdrop of the surrounding lush landscape is a breathtaking experience. One of the best places to watch the sunrise in Hawaii!

❄️ Make the most of Haleakala volcano with this amazing Haleakala Maui Sunrise Tour with breakfast that includes round-trip hotel transportation.

Does it snow in Honolulu?

No, it does not snow in Honolulu. 

Honolulu, located on the island of Oahu, has a tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year

Snow on Big Island, one of the islands of Hawaii with snow in winter

Snowfall is extremely rare and limited to the higher elevations of the Big Island, Maui, and occasionally other high peaks in Hawaii.

Hawaii Winter Activities – Can You Snow Ski in Hawaii?

While Hawaii may not be renowned as a winter sports destination, Mauna Kea’s snowy slopes offer opportunities for various winter activities. 

From skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and snowball fights, adventure seekers can find ways to embrace the snowy magic amidst the warm climate. 

There are no fancy ski resorts or ski lifts here, and you’ll need to rent a 4-wheel-drive vehicle and your own equipment. Skiing on a volcano in Hawaii is a whole different experience! 

Mauna Kea Summit, one of the places where is posible to ski in Hawaii in winter

If you’re eager to try snowboarding or skiing on Mauna Kea, late January through March is typically the prime time to visit

Keep in mind that it all depends on whether there’s snow and suitable conditions. So, fingers crossed for some fresh powder and ideal weather when you decide to hit the slopes.

Did you know that in the old days, it snowed much more on Mauna Kea, and in 1953 the Ski Club of Hawaii was founded? 

Today, this Hawaii ski club can no longer organize ski trips to the volcano but make annual trips ski trips to different ski resorts around the world.

Snow in Hawaii Tips

For those planning to explore Hawaii’s snowy mountains, it’s essential to prepare with the right equipment and knowledge. Here you have some practical tips:  

Haleakala Volcano National Park road with fog during winter
  • To access roads leading to the peaks, you’ll need to rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle to navigate safely, due to rugged terrain.
  • Understanding weather patterns, and wind directions, and checking snow levels are crucial for a safe and enjoyable adventure.
  • Layer up in warm clothing, grab a hot beverage, and prepare for a breathtaking ascent to witness the rare sight of snow in paradise.

Wrap-up: Does it snow in Hawaii?

I hope this article has answered your questions about whether it snows in Hawaii! As you can see, there are some parts of the islands that do experience snowfall, but it is not common.

Although snow is a rarity in most parts of Hawaii, the islands offer an abundance of natural wonders and warm hospitality. 

Orange sunset with palm trees and the sea in the background in Hawaii

From cascading waterfalls and lush rainforests to vibrant marine life and captivating culture, Hawaii beckons with open arms. 

If you’re hoping for a cold and snowy getaway for skiing or winter sports, Hawaii may not be your top choice. However, if you’re seeking an escape from chilly weather, the islands of Hawaii offer a fantastic destination during the winter months.

FAQ about the Snow in Hawaii 

  1. Does Hawaii Get Snow? 

    Yes, Hawaii gets snow. While the lower elevations and coastal areas rarely see any snow, the higher elevations of Hawaii’s mountains can experience occasional snowfall during the winter season. The Big Island’s Mauna Kea, one of the tallest volcanoes in the world, has received snowfall in the past, creating a breathtaking sight of a tropical paradise covered in a white blanket.

  2. Has it ever snowed in Hawaii?

    Yes, it has snowed in Hawaii on rare occasions. The highest peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island have seen snowfall. Snow is infrequent and limited to these elevated areas due to their high altitude and cooler temperatures. 

  3. Does it ever snow in Hawaii?

    Yes, but rarely. Snow occasionally falls on the highest peaks of Hawaii, such as Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, while the rest of the islands typically have a warm and tropical climate.

  4. Has it ever snowed in Honolulu?

    No, it has never snowed in Honolulu. Honolulu has a warm and tropical climate that does not typically support snowfall.

  5. Does it snow in Maui?

    Yes, it snows in Maui but is rare. It can occasionally be seen at the summit of Haleakalā volcano in Maui. The rest of the island enjoys a warm and tropical climate.

  6. Is there any chance of seeing snow on the other Hawaiian islands?

    While snowfall is limited to the summit of Mauna Kea, other islands occasionally experience snow-like phenomena called graupel, which resembles soft hail. 

  7. What is the best time to visit Mauna Kea for a chance to see snow?

    The best time to visit Mauna Kea for a chance to see snow is during the winter months, typically between December and February. However, weather conditions can vary, so it’s best to check in advance.

  8. What time of year does it snow in Hawaii?

    Snowfall in Hawaii typically occurs during the winter months, from December to February. However, it is important to note that snow is rare and limited to the highest peaks, such as Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, on the Big Island.

  9. What are snow cones called in Hawaii?

    Snow cones in Hawaii are commonly referred to as “shave ice.”

  10. How often does it snow in Hawaii?

    Snowfall in Hawaii is a rare occurrence. It primarily happens on the highest peaks, such as Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, on the Big Island. Even there, snowfall is infrequent and unpredictable.

  11. How rare is snow in Hawaii?

    Snow in Hawaii is extremely rare. It occurs sporadically on the highest peaks but is uncommon throughout the rest of the islands.

  12. What mountain in Hawaii has snow?

    The mountains in Hawaii that are known to have snow are Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, located on the Big Island. These towering peaks, reaching high elevations, occasionally experience snowfall during the winter months.

  13. Is it possible to snow in Hawaii?

    Yes, it is possible for snow to occur in Hawaii, particularly on the Big Island’s highest peaks, such as Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

  14. What is the most snow ever recorded in Hawaii?

    The most snow ever recorded in Hawaii was in 1962, with up to 8 feet of snow on the Big Island’s mountain peaks.

  15. Does Hawaii get cold?

    Yes, Hawaii gets cold. Hawaii can experience cooler temperatures in higher elevations, but overall, it maintains a warm and tropical climate.

  16. What are winters like in Hawaii?

    Hawaii winters are mild with warm temperatures, occasional rainfall, and the possibility of snow in higher elevations.

  17. How cold does it get in Hawaii in the winter?

    In winter, temperatures in Hawaii generally range from the mid-60s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (18-27 degrees Celsius), with cooler temperatures in higher elevations occasionally dropping into the 50s Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius).

  18. Has Hawaii Ever Had Snow?

    Yes, Hawaii has had snow on rare occasions. The highest peaks of the Big Island, such as Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, have seen snowfall. However, snow in other parts of the Hawaiian Islands is extremely rare.

  19. Which Islands in Hawaii experience the most snow? 

    The Big Island (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa) experiences the most snow in Hawaii.

  20. Do the Coastal Regions of Hawaii get snow?

    No, the coastal regions of Hawaii do not typically get snow. Snowfall is mostly limited to the higher elevations of the mountains. The coastal areas enjoy a warm and tropical climate with milder temperatures.

  21. Does it snow in Kauai?

    No, it does not snow in Kauai. Kauai, known as the “Garden Isle,” has a warm and tropical climate throughout the year. 


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Does it snow in Hawaii When, Where & Surprising Facts! | Does it snow in Hawaii? If you want to know the answer, you’ve come to the right place! In this post I’m answering all the questions about snowing in Hawaii that might actually surprise you. #SnowInHawaii #HawaiiSnow #WinterInHawaii

Sara Rodríguez

A passionate traveler with a mission: Help you plan your next trip easily and enjoy it to the fullest.

In this travel blog you will find everything you need to get inspired and organize your next adventure. Read more about my story here.

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