The Old Sugar Mill of Koloa which is part of the Koloa Heritage Trail in Koloa, Hawaii (Kauai) is a 0.3-mile out-and-back walk that passes by the long-abandoned sugar mill that dates back to the Ladd & Company sugar plantation, which dates back to 1835, and is a quick walk along a public road.
While this is not really a hike, and is rather a walk along a public street, this walk is quite interesting for those who like abandoned buildings and history. Note that there is absolutely no public access into the buildings, so visitors must enjoy this abandoned location from afar. Please do not trespass. The Old Sugar Mill is part of the historic old town Koloa which is opened from 9AM to 9PM daily with no admission fee - note that, upon our visit, it was impossible to tell where historic old town Koloa began and ended as there weren't any signs.
National Historical Landmark
The Old Sugar Mill of Koloa is a National Historical Landmark that was once part of the Ladd & Company sugar plantation. The Ladd & Company sugar plantation was founded in 1835 and became the first successful large-scale sugar manufacturing enterprise in the Hawaiian islands. Hawaii's soil, humidity, and temperatures were perfect for sugarcane and thus sugar processing became one of the largest industries in the islands. These buildings were erected circa 1841 as part of the second attempt to mill sugar by the Ladd & Company plantation as their first mill, built at the Maulili Pool was unsuccessful. Due to lack of funds, debt, and the a shift in political climate, the company was closed in 1845 and the mill was repossessed by the Hawaiian government. The Koloa plantation was used by various owners until finally closing in 1996. Read more on this Old Sugar Mill of Koloa NPS page.
There's a small turnout near a gate that blocks access to the Old Sugar Mill; however, visitors can leave their car here and then walk down the street. Alternatively, you can simply drive down the road and back without ever stretching your legs.
Respecting the Land
Hawaiian land is considered sacred to native Hawaiians and many locals, so please stay on-trail, take nothing but photos, and leave nothing but footprints. Respect the locals - don't stay for long and have a backup hike planned in case the parking lot is full.
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