The Guided Mule Tour down the Kalaupapa Trail (3.2 miles from point to point) includes: Entry permits, Historical Park Tour with Damien Tours, Light Picnic Lunch, NPS Trail Maint. Fees, and a Completion Souvenir Certificate.
Kalaupapa National Historical Park was established on December 22, 1980. Still in its formative years, it is dedicated to the past, the present and the future. It is dedicated to preserving the memories and experiences of the past in order that valuable lessons might be learned from them. It is dedicated to providing a well-maintained community to ensure that present residents of the Settlement may live out their lives in this, their home. And, it is dedicated to the education of present and future generations with regard to a disease that has been shrouded in fear and ignorance for centuries.
Offered Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday.
7:45am – Check in at Stables (location/directions) Please be on time so we can keep our schedule.
8:15am – Tour Instructions & Briefing
Discover the fun of being a “Mule Skinner” for a day! Learn how to forget your mule’s name. Our daily objective is to have fun and provide a learning experience with ultimate safety.
8:25am – Mount up, Head for the Trail
The mules know exactly where they are going. “Just sit down and relax.” Stay straight and enjoy the view.
Arrive in Beautiful Kalaupapa: You will feel something very special about this place; so peaceful! No you cannot stay, the tour bus will pick you up soon.
The Tour Bus Picks You Up: Your settlement tour begins, which includes a stop at the book store and sometimes a craft shop as well.
Lunch: Relax in the shade with your picnic lunch, while you take in the stunning beauty of the East side of the peninsula at Kalawao.
1:30pm-1:45pm – Time to Head Home
Did you remember your mule’s name? Your memory is your “pass” to your ride up as the trail guides will find it easier to call out your mules “name” than remember your name.
~3:30pm – Arrival at the Barn
Plus or minus, depending on the amount of mules on the trail. Less mules, it will be quicker. Pick up your Mule Trail Completion Certificate. You’ll cherish the memories of this ultimate adventure forever.
Mule Match: Your personality, kharma, and good looks play a part in which mule you will be “matched up with”.
Restroom facilities are available.
The Kalaupapa Trail is rated by the National Park Service as “Level” 4, which is difficult. Those who participate on the mule tour or hike must be physically fit. The participant must not be over 250lbs maximum. Elderly people, even in good health, should consider the fly-in package as the muleride, down and up, does pose a significant physical challenge.
All tour patrons must be physically fit to ride on their saddles for 3.2 miles (an hour and thirty minutes) navigating a change of 1,700 feet in elevation each way. The various angles of the trail requires leaning forward holding on to the saddle horn coming up.
Patrons must be in good health and be physically fit with a maximum weight of 250 lbs. and at least 16 years old. NOTE: State laws limit the age of visitors to 16 years and older and are strictly enforced.
Positions on our tour daily are VERY limited. Secure your Mule Ride spots first, then you can work on your other aspects of your trip. We can’t stress this enough.
Attire: Comfortable (close toed) footgear like tennis or walking shoes. Cool, loose fitting golf type shirt or t-shirt. Long pants or Bermuda shorts. Caps, sun visors, sweater, windbreaker.
Water: Canister or Bottled Water.
Snacks: If you’re the type of person who gets hungry, you can pack along some nuts, trail mix or dried fruits. Soft drinks and water are available at the mule barn (at the top only) where you check in.
On the bus tour, a Snack Bar and Book Store are usual stops and they accept only small denominations of cash. Nothing higher than a $20 (unless you plan to donate the balance of the whole $50 or $100 bill.)