Place

Puʻu Loa Petroglyphs

Petroglyph in gray rock of a human figure
Petroglyphs at Puʻu Loa

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Parking - Auto, Scenic View/Photo Spot

Pu‘u = hill
Loa = long
Pu‘u Loa = "Long Hill"
Underlying meaning or kaona (hidden meaning) = "Hill of Long Life"

Puʻu Loa is a very sacred and religious place for many of the people of Hawaiʻi and has been used ritually for over 500 years. It is the largest petroglyph field in the State of Hawaiʻi.

There are more then 23,000 petroglyph images, mostly "pukas" (cupules) in which a portion of the umbilical cord of a newborn was placed to ensure long life. Motifs of circles, other geometric designs, as well as cryptic designs of human representations known as anthropomorphisms, canoe sails, and even feathered cape motifs can all be found in this dense concentration.

The petroglyphs are accessible via a day hike of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round trip. Pu‘u Loa is a "volcanic pressure dome" that was formed during the eruption of Kāne Nui O Hamo about 550 years ago.

Learn more about the meaning and history of Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs

Last updated: September 11, 2020