Petroglyphs

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Petroglyphs on the Island of Hawaii

Petroglyphs, or kii pohaku, are lava rock carvings etched into stone centuries ago by Native Hawaiians. Although the true meanings of the petroglyphs are unknown, it is generally thought these carvings are records of births and other significant events in the lives of the people who lived here long ago. See the carvings of human forms, canoes, turtles and others in the many captivating petroglyphs fields throughout the Island of Hawaii.

Within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at the coastal end of Chain of Craters Road you’ll discover the sacred Puuloa Petroglyphs, the largest petroglyph field in Hawaii. You can see more than 23,000 images carved into the lava rock here, most before western contact in Hawaii. You can take a guided tour or take the .7-mile hike that ends on a boardwalk from which the petroglyphs are easily visible.

In the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park located three miles north of Historic Kailua Village (Kailua-Kona) you can find many mysterious petroglyphs scattered throughout the 1160-acre park. This historic National Park is also the site of Hawaiian fishponds, kahua (house site platforms), a holua (stone slide) and heiau (temples).

Along the Kohala Coast, Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve near Holoholokai Park at Mauna Lani Resort, features hundreds of petroglyphs. On the grounds of the Waikoloa Resort, Anaehoomalu Petroglyph Field is another great place to view well-preserved Hawaiian petroglyphs. Many of the petroglyph fields in this area reside on the Ala Kahakai Trail, also known as the King’s Trail, a 175-mile trail corridor full of historic sites including sacred heiau, Hawaiian fishponds and settlement ruins. For Waikoloa/Anaehoomalu petroglyphs, Kings' Shops offers free tours on Thursdays and Fridays at 9:30 a.m.