Day Hike - Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs

petroglyphs
Petroglyphs at Pu‘u Loa

NPS Photo

 
Visitors look at petroglyphs from the boardwalk
The boardwalk viewing platform protects the petroglyphs from damage.

NPS Photo

Walk in the footsteps of the kūpuna (elders) to Pu`u Loa (hill of long life), a sacred and awe-inspiring gallery of ki`i pohaku (images carved in stone). These simple etchings document the life and culture of the native Hawaiian people and spiritually, cradle the piko (umbilical cord) of their children. It brought with hopes of receiving the blessings of a long and prosperous life.

This coastal trail traverses a 500-550 year old lava field to one of Hawai`i's most extensive petroglyph fields. A site that has approximately 23,000 petroglyphs, many viewable at a boardwalk constructed for this purpose

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance and hiking time: 1.4 miles (2.25km) round trip. Approximately 1.0 - 1.5 hours.
  • Distance from Visitor Center to trailhead: 19.6 miles (31.5km).
  • Trail begins: Pu'u Loa parking area on Chain of Craters Road.
  • Bring: Water, food, hat, sunscreen and rain gear. Be prepared for hot, dry, wet, windy weather conditions.
The petroglyphs are very fragile. Stay on the boardwalk. Walking on the lava surface will fragment the delicate petroglyphs and destroy them.
 
 

Learn more about the meaning and history of Puʻu Loa.

 
A graphic of a no symbol over a person stacking rocks
Leave rocks in their rightful place.
Park staff may use ahu (stacked rocks) to mark some trails and keep visitors safe. Please do not create new ones. The stacking of rocks can be culturally offensive, disorienting to hikers, and potentially against the law.
 

Last updated: April 20, 2020

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 52
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718

Phone:

(808) 985-6000

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