When one tends to think of the Hawaiian Islands, you are probably thinking of palm trees, white sandy beaches, mai tais at sunset, and perhaps volcanoes. However, a particularly interesting part of the history of Hawaii is that of the Hawaiian petroglyphs. Petroglyphs vary around the world in terms of there images but they usually display major events of ancient peoples.

The petroglyphs big island often reflect birth, life cycles, and other milestones of the lives of the Native Hawaii peoples. You can often see across the island images of turtles, canoes, people (in the sense of stick figures), and other more specific images such as a larger human with many little humans next to it, likely expressing the birth or offspring of a family. Other animals have been spotted on petroglyphs around the island that may take a creative perspective to decide on what it actually is; whether for example it is a dog or a donkey. Many of the petroglyphs date back to 1200AD though they are different ages across the island. Most of the petroglyphs big island are etched into lava rock.  Across the Big Island there are tens of thousands of individual petroglyphs, so rest assured you can stay intrigued for a long while exploring this abundance of expressive history.


Petroglyphs big island are in abundance and some of the most impressive and clear petroglyphs in the United States. There are multiple locations you can venture around the Big Island of Hawaii in search of said Hawaiian petroglyphs. There are several designated areas for viewing petroglyphs big island and other areas where you can simply stumble across Hawaiian petroglyphs.  If you are basing yourself for your vacation in Kona you will be in a great area to access both options to view petroglyphs big island whether to go to specific locations or to simply stumble across them. One of the most visited and popular destinations on Big Island specifically designed for viewing petroglyphs is on the foot hills of the volcanic giant, Mauna Loa. Perhaps one of the best days on Big Island is that of a day spent in the Volcanoes National Park. The drive there from anywhere on the island is a beautiful one and due to its’ elevation the temperatures are nice and cool for exploring. Upon driving into the park you will quickly come across the visitor center on your right. It is worth a stop to get a quick brief on the area and highlights of the national park. There is a great table with a thorough topographic map that sows all of the aspects of the park from hiking trails to roads to restrooms. Spend some time looking at this so that you can get a birds eye perspective of where to go from here. To get to these particular Hawaiian petroglyphs you will take the chain of craters road and proceed on a beautiful drive down the slopes of Mauna Loa towards the lava fields by the ocean. Once you reach the base here, you can park and head out on a short walk through the lava field to get to the petroglyphs. This is known as the Puuloa Petroglyph field. There is a nicely maintained boardwalk that circles the primary cluster of petroglyphs so you will know when you have reached the main exhibit and cannot miss them. Along the board walk there are little signs providing some information about the Hawaiian petroglyphs, elaborating on what certain images likely mean and such.

Another favourite spot to view petroglyphs Big Island is in Puako. Puako is a beuautiful little residential neighborhood in about a 45 minute drive out of Kona. It is a great stop on the way to the famous Hapuna beach and only about a 5 minute drive south of it. Once diriving into Puako, you will continue on the main (an only) road that runs through Puako in between some beautiful houses next to the coast line. The road then ends (known as “end of the road) and on the right there is a dirt parking lot areas under some trees next to the ocean. This is a great spot to park. From here you will proceed aprximatly 1/2 of a mile on a small trail that meanders along the coast line through the black and white pebbly coves of Puako. Once you have walked for about 20 minutes, you will see a paved parking lot on your left with a restroom building and large grassy lawn around it. This is also an access point for the puako petroglyphs. From here you will see the main trail for the Puako Petroglyphs on your left. Take this trail. After just a few minutes you will see on the right hand side some loose Hawaiian petroglyphs put into a circle. Don’t worry, this is not the petroglyph field. Continue on through a forest and across a rocky, grassy field, and you will reach the main area of the petroglyphs. They are wonderfully displayed here, spreading out over lava rock, and large individual drawings. There are over 3000 individual pieces in this lava field so it is stretches out pretty well. Note that the trail goes around the entire field of petroglyphs so you can continue around to the left or the right of the viewing point and take in the entire field.

Should you be looking for something truly close to Kona, there is a great local spot close to the Honokohau harbor. This spot only has a few petroglyphs and they are not as clear as the petroglyphs big island on Mauna Loa or or Puako, but it is only a 3 minute drive from downtown Kona. Once you turn into the harbor, take your first right. Drive all the way down to the end of the road and park here. Keeping your eyes to the right you will see a small entrance area to a walking trail, this is the trail you will take and you will turn left on entry. Continue all the way down the trail and you will reach a board walk on the right which is the path you will turn on to see the petroglyphs. Look closely to see some of these unique petroglyphs!