Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs

View one of the most extensive petroglyph fields in Polynesia.

Hiking Easy

Distance
2 km
Ascent
14 m
Descent
14 m
Duration
0-1 hrs
Low Point
37 m
High Point
49 m
Gradient
VIEW ON MAP
Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs Map

Description

The remarkable Pu'u Loa Petroglyph field is one of the most extensive petroglyph fields in Polynesia. Here, you'll find roughly 23,000 petroglyphs carved into a recent 500-550-year-old lava field. These petroglyphs include "motifs containing cupules or holes (84% of the total) , motifs of circles, other geometric as well as cryptic designs, human representations known as anthropomorphs, canoe sails, and even feathered cape motifs," according to the NPS.

While many of the original petroglyphs were destroyed by development on the island before, tens of thousands remain for us to enjoy even today. To help protect the petroglyphs from further destruction while still making them accessible to visitors, a boardwalk has been constructed "above the ground surface, elevating a pathway upon which visitors could walk and view a section of the extensive area and variety of petroglyphs at the site," according to the NPS.

Feel free to hike along the boardwalk, marvel at the incredible history, and take photos of these stunning petroglyphs. But whatever you do, don't touch them or touch the rock whatsoever. Any rubbing or disruption only accelerates the erosion.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/havo/learn/historyculture/puuloa.htm https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hikedaypuuloa.htm https://www.lovebigisland.com/puu-loa-petroglyph-field/ https://morethanjustparks.com/puuloa-petroglyphs/

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Family friendly

Guidebooks in this area