Russian Fort Elizabeth

Lihue, Hawaii

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Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park is the site of a little known and surprising slice of Hawaiian history. The town of Waimea was a major port in the 1800s, a time when Russia, represented by the Russian-American Company, needed a stopover for ships carrying supplies to fur trappers and traders in Alaska. In 1815 it sent George Schaeffer to forge an alliance with King Kaumuali’i of Kaua’i to build a fort at Waimea in exchange for helping Kaumuali’i to overthrow King Kamehameha I. The fort was begun, and named Fort Elizabeth in honor of the czarina, but the Americans soon saw to it that Schaeffer was evicted, and the Russians never came. There isn’t much left but the outer walls because the fort was dismantled in 1864, but there is an interpretive panel to help you picture it as it was.
Best Easy Day Hikes Hawaii: Kauai

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Best Easy Day Hikes Hawaii: Kauai

by Suzanne Swedo (Falcon Guides)

Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park is the site of a little known and surprising slice of Hawaiian history. The town of Waimea was a major port in the 1800s, a time when Russia, represented by the Russian-American Company, needed a stopover for ships carrying supplies to fur trappers and traders in Alaska.

In 1815 it sent George Schaeffer to forge an alliance with King Kaumuali’i of Kaua’i to build a fort at Waimea in exchange for helping Kaumuali’i to overthrow King Kamehameha I. The fort was begun, and named Fort Elizabeth in honor of the czarina, but the Americans soon saw to it that Schaeffer was evicted, and the Russians never came. There isn’t much left but the outer walls because the fort was dismantled in 1864, but there is an interpretive panel to help you picture it as it was.

© 2010 Suzanne Swedo /Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Lihue
Distance: 0.5
Trail Type: Loop/Lollipop
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 20-30 minutes
Season: Year-round
Accessibility: Dog-friendly
Local Contacts: Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources; (808) 274-3444; www.hawaiistateparks.org
Local Maps: USGS Hanapepe and Kekaha, though neither is really needed
Driving Directions: Directions to Russian Fort Elizabeth

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Apr 2018