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Take a trip back in time and discover some of Hawaii’s ancient history at the Puako Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve. Petroglyphs are rock carvings made by Ancient Hawaiians – who referred to them as ki’i pohaku or stone images. These images frequently depict people and animals on Hawaii and include paddlers, dancers and sea turtles. Although we don’t know why the Ancient Hawaiians carved these images, it can be fun to guess at what they mean. Take the family on a free walk through the petroglyph field to wonder why people made these petroglyphs and what these carvings meant to people hundreds of years ago.

Archaeologists have documented about 1200 petroglyphs in the area that is accessible to the public. The broader 220-acre preserve hosts one of the greatest concentrations of these stone carvings anywhere in the Pacific – making this a treasure trove of cultural heritage! So please treat these images with respect when you visit.




Examples of Petroglyphs found at Puako


The Puako Petroglyphs are easily accessible from our legal vacation homes in Mauna Lani. It is just a short drive or bike ride from most of our vacation homes, so we often take bikes or an electric cart to visit them instead of the car.

To get to the petroglyphs, follow North Kaniku Road towards the Fairmont Orchid, then turn right onto Holoholokai Beach Park Road. The parking area for the Petroglyphs trail is just before the parking for Holoholokai Beach.



If you are interested in seeing petroglyphs on other parts of the island, there are also short hikes featuring petroglyphs at the following locations. Click on the name of the location for more information.


Volcanoes National Park

1.4 Mile (roundtrip) boardwalk hike through the Pu’uloa petroglyph area at the end of Chain of Craters Road. This petroglyph field is much larger than Puako – with 23,000 petroglyphs over a large area. There is an option for a guided tour. You will need to pay a fee for day use of the park, but this is a great stop to add to your day if you visit the volcano!


Anaeho’omalu Bay (Waikoloa Beach Resort Area)

There is a trail that starts near the fish ponds and features interpretive signage about the petroglyphs. You can see these petroglyphs for free on your day at the beach!


Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park (Kona)

As the site of an early Hawaiian settlement, this coastal park is a great place to learn about how the ancient Hawaiians lived. You can find lots of petroglyphs scattered across the park, while exploring the sites of old Hawaiian buildings and fish ponds. Free Admission.

We recommend contacting organisations directly to get the most up to date information about their operations.

Discover more historical sites and nature activities on the Big Island!