This Historic Park Is One Of Hawaii’s Best Kept Secrets

Megan Shute for Only In Your State on a historic Hawaiian park in Kauai.  Sit back, relax in comfort and luxury while learning about the Kilauea Volcano or many other special spots on the Big Island.  Join us for the best Hawaiian tour and learn the history and culture of this significant island.

From the first Europeans visiting the islands in 1778 and the establishment of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1795 to Hawaii’s admittance to the United States of America in 1959, the Hawaiian Islands are steeped in history — and sites full of history. Though the Hawaiian Islands are home to several fascinating historic parks, there is only one spot that we can claim as one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets.

Just south of Waimea on the coast of Kauai, is Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park, a fascinating and often-overlooked slice of Hawaiian history just waiting to be discovered.

In the early 1800s, Russia attempted to establish a foothold in the Hawaiian Islands, and Fort Elizabeth was built as a result of an alliance between the High Chief Kaumuali’i and the Russian-American Company.

The “treaty” granted Russian Tsar Alexander I a protectorate over Kauai, with the implication that Russia could capture the entire island chain from Kamehameha if desired. It is said that Kaumuali’i never intended to give up his power, but that the Russians would help him reclaim his own kingdom.

Constructed in 1817 on the east bank of the Waimea River overlooking Waimea Bay, the structure was built in the shape of an irregular octagon. Approximately 300 to 450 feet across with walls 20 feet high, the building housed a small Russian Orthodox chapel, the first Orthodox Christian church in Hawaii.

The goal was to create a fueling station in the Pacific Ocean and establish a stable trading for the shipping company, but Russia’s involvement with Hawaii was short lived and ended just a few years after it began.

Today, Russian Fort Elizabeth is the last remaining Russian fort in Hawaii and a fascinating historical park.

Though the historic fort has been reclaimed by nature in the past century, the historic park found here today is home to an interpretive trail that allows guests to step back in time and experience a slice of Hawaiian history that is too often overlooked.

With unique history, phenomenal scenery, and photo ops, Russian Fort Elizabeth should be on every Hawaii history buff’s bucket list.

Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park is located at Kaumualii Hwy., Waimea, HI 96796 and is open all day, every day. For a more detailed history of the fort and Russia’s involvement with Hawaii, visit the National Park Service website.