Kalaupapa National Historic Landmark
West Molokai Beaches
Valley just up from Kalaupapa
Looking east from the original townsite of Kalawao
Back on the mules for the beach section before the climb up the mountain
On the final segment before the top
Going up the trail
Looking down from the Kalaupapa Trail
Going down fast by mule on the Kalaupapa Trail
View of Kalaupapa Penninsula from Pala'au State Park
In the town of Kalaupapa
Church in Kalaupapa
Halawa Valley from the beach
Road to Halawa
Road to Halawa
The only reason I see to visit Molokai is to experience the Kalaupapa Trail and tour the leper colony of Kalaupapa at the bottom. The trail is the only land access. With a 1,786 foot drop in 26 switchbacks on a near vertical hillside, this is a remarkable trail to see. To make it even more exciting, we went by Mule, a service offered by Molokai Mule Ride, Inc. The sea cliffs in both directions are some of the tallest in the world. You can hike this on your own but you have to get a permit from the Hawaii Dept. of Health. The tour of the city is like stepping into the 1960's. Since only one barge arrives a year with supplies, much has stayed the same for a long time. Around 20 patients with leprosy still live here. In time, after the Dept of Health is no longer needed, the National Park will take full control of the area. For now, the tour goes through much of town then over to the original settlement Kalawao.
This is the end of the road on the east side of the island. The last several miles are on a very scenic one lane road right on the rocky shoreline. Then you drive up and over a small pass into the Halawa Valley. The beach park has no facilities and has a remote feel to it. Nearby is a hiking trail on private land to a waterfall. An expensive tour must be taken to travel to the falls but you will also get a history of the valley and see locals restoring the taro fields.
The west side of the island has several large beaches claimed to be some of the best on the islands. Since I don't care much for beaches and we were headed for Maui, we skipped this portion of the island.
Pala'au State Park
This is a small state park with picnic areas, restrooms and the Kalaupapa Lookout. This is where most people visiting the island get a glimpse of Kalaupapa. There are a few informative signs, another small hiking trail and lots of shade.
Driving down to Kalawao on the Damien Bus Tour
WillhiteWeb.com: Hawaii Travel
Views from the trail