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Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park Tours

Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park
Evidence of a little-remembered attempt by Russians to gain a foothold in Hawaii between 1815 and 1817 can still be found in the remnants of an old fort alongside the mouth of the Waimea River. Though today the site is little more than jumbled red rock walls hinting at its former layout, an irregular octagon guarding entrance into Kauai via the waterway, it once was the site of grand plans to use Kauai as a permanent provisioning and trading station for the state-sponsored Russian American Company. With outer rock walls constructed from ancient heiau (Hawaiian temples), the fort once included residences, a chapel, gardens, a trading center and the main fort building. Visitors can explore what’s left via a self-guided interpretive tour following signage with drawings of how the area once appeared.

Here, Dr. Georg Anton Schäffer, sent to retrieve lost cargo from a wrecked Russian American Company ship, overstepped the orders of his mission. Schäffer instead built the fort complex, befriended Kauai’s chief, set him against the newly instated Hawaiian King Kamehameha and secured a sandalwood monopoly for the company. When Mother Russia learned of Schäffer’s actions, however, she disapproved. Russia didn’t want to become embroiled in the already complicated politics of the islands; they just wanted their cargo back. So, Russia summoned Dr. Schäffer home, leaving the fort to be claimed by the Hawaiians, and, later, after the dismantling in 1864, the elements.

Practical Info

The remains of the fort—within the larger Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park—are located off Kaumualii Highway (named for Kauai’s last king and the man Dr. Schäffer befriended) on the river’s eastern bank about a mile south of Waimea proper. The site has a small parking lot and is open daily during daylight hours. If visiting during peak sun, bring sunscreen and a hat; the area is exposed with little shade.
Address: Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, Hawaii 96796, USA
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2 Tours and Activities to Experience Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park

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Free Cancellation:Get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance on most experiences.See Details
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Private Waimea Canyon TourDay Trips

Private Waimea Canyon Tour

star-5
Experience the best of Kauai on a full-day private tour through the island’s scenic landscape, highlights and historic landmarks. Sample locally-grown beans at the Kauai Coffee Company, and visit old-fashioned Hanapepe; see the last Russian outpost on Hawaii, follow the footsteps of Captain Cook and take in stunning views of Waimea Canyon. Feel the mist off Waipo’o Falls, watch the Spouting Horn lava tube erupt with towering surf and watch for sea turtles in a sheltered cove before finishing your tour with a visit to stunning Wailua Falls. *Price displayed is based on a party of four to six passengers
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  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$231.74 
Price varies by group size
From  
$231.74 
Price varies by group size
Learn More
  • 7 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Kauai Tour Bundle: Get 4 Kauai Audio ToursMulti-day Tours

Kauai Tour Bundle: Get 4 Kauai Audio Tours

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Explore Kauai at your own pace with this audio tour app that uses GPS to guide you to and around some of the island's top attractions. Skip paying for a bus tour and make the most of your vacation time with the freedom to stop and go as you please. Along the way, the app provides narration, stories, and fun facts. The tours can be downloaded and used offline so you don't have to worry about service around the island.
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation
From  
$21.32 
per group
From  
$21.32 
per group
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  • 4 days
  • Free Cancellation

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