MOLOKA‘I is famous for its cliff-hugging MULE RIDES along the world’s highest sea cliffs. The trek follows the KALAUPAPA TRAIL, which descends approximately 1,700 feet to the Kalaupapa Peninsula. The destination, KALAUPAPA NATIONAL PARK, is where, for more than a century, people suffering from leprosy—later called Hansen’s disease—lived and died in isolation.
Today, Kalaupapa is a NATIONAL PARK, the only one located in an active Hansen’s disease settlement. The settlement’s heritage is preserved in its structures and graveyards. And the legacy of the priest who sacrificed his life to live and work with the patients is very much in evidence. Canonized in 2009, he’s now known as SAINT DAMIEN of Moloka‘i.
A second Kalaupapa caretaker, Mother Marianne Cope, was declared a saint in October 2012. She also is known as SAINT MARIANNE of Moloka‘i.
Getting to Kalaupapa isn’t easy. Limited plane flights that eventually land at the settlement are available, and some people hike, but the mule ride is probably the most popular route.
MOLOKA‘I MULE RIDE’S headquarters are located on Highway 470 at mile marker 5. NOTE: There are no overnight accommodations in the park. This is a trek that requires advance planning. Call the company at (808) 567-6088 or (800) 567-7550 well in advance. Visit muleride.com for further details.