Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park Tours

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.
Location
Address: Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, Hawaii 96796, USA
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5 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Private Tour: Kauai Sightseeing Adventure

Make the most of your time on Kauai with a private tour tailored to suit your interests. Select from an East and North Shore itinerary or a tour of the island’s West and South Shores. Your knowledgeable private guide will take you to numerous local highlights, including charming towns, the best beaches, secluded waterfalls, and other natural attractions.
  • Duration: 6 hours
From
$269.80 USD
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  • Duration: 6 hours
From
$269.80 USD

Kauai: Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto Kauai

Discover some of the Garden Isle’s most enchanting landscapes and cultural attractions on a full-day Kauai sightseeing tour by coach. Peer into the majestic, multicolored expanse of Waimea Canyon, be surrounded by the lush tropical paradise of the Fern Grotto and learn about sacred Hawaiian legends on a cruise down the Wailua River. See many of the island’s south shore highlights along the way, including old Koloa Town, the Spouting Horn natural blowhole, Captain Cook’s Landing and Coco Palms Grove.
  • Duration: 9 hours
From
$120.00 USD
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  • Duration: 9 hours
From
$120.00 USD

Private Tour: Waimea Canyon, Wailua Falls, Kauai Coffee Company, and Spouting Horn

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
  • Duration: 7 to 8 hours
From
$135.20 USD
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  • Duration: 7 to 8 hours
From
$135.20 USD

Oahu to Kauai Day Trip: Waimea Canyon and Fern Grotto

Jet set from Oahu to Kauai and spend the day getting to know another island. Leave the driving and logistics to your guide and relax in air-conditioned comfort as you see Kauai’s sights like the Waimea canyon, Coco Palms Grove, and the Fern Grotto. See an ancient Eucalyptus forest, tropical waterfall and learn about Hawaiian culture with a hula performance.
  • Duration: 9 hours
From
$485.00 USD
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  • Duration: 9 hours
From
$485.00 USD

Kauai: Waimea Canyon Tour

Experience the majesty of ‘The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’ on this full-day tour of the Waimea Canyon and highlights of Kauai’s southern shore. Peer into the cavernous red expanse from the best vantage points, and learn how the canyon was formed by thousands of years of erosion. Along the way, see other natural and cultural attractions including the Spouting Horn blowhole, Waimea Town, the Hanapepe Valley Lookout, Fort Elizabeth and old Koloa Town.
  • Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
From
$75.00 USD
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  • Duration: 7 hours 30 minutes
From
$75.00 USD


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