Iosepa Historical Society

The mission of the Iosepa Historical Society is to preserve the history of our Hawaiian ancestors who settled in Skull Valley, UT and built a beautiful city in the desert with faith and determination.

** May 28-29, 2022 **

It is with a little bit of sadness but a lot of caution that we have decided to postpone the Iosepa Memorial Celebration that was scheduled for May 28-29 due to the ongoing uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We know that many will still come and we welcome you and your 'ohana to come and pay your respects and suggest you pick and spend a day and then return to your home. We ask that you obey the posted guidelines, to keep everyone safe.

We also realize that some will want to stay and camp. We will have a board member present from Friday night through Monday morning, stock and maintain the restrooms and water, and available to answer questions. You are responsible for your own food and should bring drinking water as the water is not treated for drinking but for washing and toilets. Please take out your opala. We ask that you observe the camp guidelines which will be posted at Iosepa and can be found below.

I will also be posting some interesting information for you to share as you teach your children about the beautiful legacy of the Iosepa pioneers. Please check in to the Facebook Group regularly for that information. A hui hou!

Donate To Iosepa


Iosepa was a colony established in 1889 for the benefit of Hawaiian Church members who came to Utah to “gather” with the Saints and to assist in the work to complete the Salt Lake Temple and to do their temple work of sealing their families for eternity. As about 75 members had immigrated, the church leaders thought they would do better in a colony by themselves to worship together and to continue living their own cultural ways.

Iosepa is located in Skull Valley about 75 miles from Salt Lake and about 30 miles west of Grantsville in Tooele County, Utah. The church arranged to purchase the John T. Rich Ranch, a fully stocked ranch with crops growing, machinery for planting and harvesting, and buildings suitable for all ordinary stock farming, including a large bard, cattle sheds, granaries, a blacksmith shop, a large log and adobe house built over a spring and a large frame building which was later used as a combination school and church. The alfalfa field, the major crop and grain fields were enclosed in fences to protect them from the cattle.

The size of the colony varied from almost 50 members at its inception to approximately 226 just before Iosepa closed. Several families returned to Salt Lake and Hawaii at various times before the final exodus in 1917.

They lived here for 28 years until the building of the La’ie Temple was announced in 1915 and Iosepa was abandoned as the Hawaiian saints returned home to help build the temple there. The only visible remains of Iosepa is a cemetery and a few markers, most which have crumbled or lovingly replaced by descendants, a fire hydrant, a few building foundations, and parts of the aqueduct that was built to carry irrigation and culinary water from the mountains.

The Iosepa Historical Association has added several amenities for the comfort and convenience of Iosepa’s visitors: A pavilion with a stage and dressing rooms, a kitchen, restrooms, running water from a well and a generator to pump the water and provide power. Our goal is to keep these available for our visitors and to have our annual Memorial Weekend Celebration to honor the faith and sacrifice of our Kupuna who lived here long ago.

Volunteer Opportunities

Iosepa has been a labor of love for many people. With their own time and often their own money, we all have what you see there at this time. Presidencies of the past have lead tirelessly to insure the comforts and conveniences we enjoy when we go out to Iosepa. But the work must go on, things need to be repaired, replaced or upgraded. We are seeking those who have resources or skills to help us.

Pavillion Upgrades

  • Cement in front of the pavillion
  • Stage reenforcement
  • Retractable Windbreak

Facilities Updates

  • New Toilets
  • Re-plumbing Bathrooms
  • Retile and Painting Bathrooms
  • Campground Grading
  • Weed Abatement

Power Upgrades

  • Solar Panels
  • Batteries
  • LED Lighting Upgrades

Kitchen Enhancements

  • Tile Kitchen Floor
  • Commercial Microwave
  • New Freezer
  • New Shed by Imu


We've collected images over the year that capture the spirit of Iosepa. Enjoy!

Watch Our Video

Iosepa by the Utah Polynesian Choir


Please read the following informationa about camping at Iosepa.

Iosepa Camping Rules

Iosepa Camping Registration

Iosepa Camping Fees / Donations

Our Board of Trustees

Our Board Members have a love of this place and a desire to preserve it's history and current facilities.

Charmagne Wixom


Ron Manuela Jr.

Vice President

Nick Ho'opi'i'aina


Contact Us

Iosepa, Skull Valley, UT