Kalaupapa National Historical Park

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Phone (808) 567-6924
Address Kalaupapa, Kalaupapa, HI 96742
An isolated, beautiful, and touching region preserving the memory of the 8,000 people who were imprisoned here and suffered from Hansen's Disease (leprosy).

• General: Educational • General: National Park • General: Photo Opportunity • Hiking: Hiking • Hiking: Length: 4-5 Miles
• Hiking: Level: Difficult • Hiking: Major Elevation Changes • Sightseeing: Great Views • Tours: Guided • Tours: Horses / Mules
• Tours: Self Guided • Cultural & Historical: Heiau / Sacred Site

In the late 1800's, Hansen's Disease (also known as leprosy) was introduced to the islands and began spreading rampantly among the Hawaiian people. King Kamehameha V banished all that were afflicted with leprosy to the remote Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of Moloka'i.

What was once a prison for the unfortunate people suffering from leprosy, Kalaupapa is now a refuge for the few remaining elderly residents who once had the disease but are now cured. Their descendants are allowed to live reside here as well.

The entire area of Kalaupapa National Historical Park is dedicated to preserving the experiences and memories of the people who were forced to move here and live our their lives here. The park was established on December 22 in 1980 with the idea that valuable lessons may be learned here and so that those who live here can do so in a peaceful and comfortable way. The park supports education of Hansen's Disease as the disease was often shrouded in ignorance and fear.

State law requires that all visitors secure a permit prior to entering Kalaupapa. Permits can be secured by Father Damien Tours. Individuals that do not secure the permits will be denied entrance into the Park.

Kalaupapa has a strict visiting policy. Visitors must be a minimum of 15 years old, and must set up permits to visit at least 3-4 days prior to visiting. You must also have proper identification such as a driver's license, passport, etc.

You can visit Kalaupapa by mule (see The Kalaupapa Guided Mule Tour), airplane, boat, or a hike - just not by car. The hike down is about 3.5 miles long, and is very steep with uneven surfaces. If you are traveling by foot, be aware this is for experienced hikers in good physical condition. Also note that there aren't any medical facilities in Kalaupapa - so be careful.

The monuments to Father Damien are very touching. He dedicated his life to caring for, physically and emotionally, the many children and adults suffering from leprosy in Kalaupapa. He is a Sainted figure in the Hawaiian Islands as well as the Catholic Church.