Kalaupapa National Historical Park

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Kalaupapa Overlook

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This spot offers a scenic overview of the Kalaupapa Peninsula, formerly an isolation zone for sufferers of Hansen's disease (leprosy), from the edge of a 1600ft cliff. It's easy to get the lay of the land from up here, and you'll get a good feel for just how far you'll travel if you descend the nearby 1664ft-elevation Kalaupapa Trail, the only way into the village by land.

Fascinating interpretive plaques identify significant landmarks below and explain Kalaupapa's sad history.

The village where all of Kalaupapa's residents live is visible, but Kalawao, the original settlement and the site of Father Damien's church and grave, is not. Kalaupapa means 'flat leaf,' an accurate description of the lava-slab peninsula that was created when a low shield volcano poked up out of the sea, long after the rest of Molokaʻi had been formed.

The dormant Kauhako Crater, visible from the overlook, contains a little lake that's more than 800ft deep. At 400ft, the crater is the highest point on the Kalaupapa Peninsula. The best light for photography is usually from late morning to mid-afternoon.

There's a trail of sorts that continues directly beyond the last plaque at the overlook. The path, on a carpet of soft ironwood needles, passes through diagonal rows of trees planted during a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) reforestation project in the 1930s. You can follow this trail for 20 minutes or so until it peters out.