History Carved in Stone – Finding Petroglyphs in Hawaii


The petroglyph like the human figure shown above is one of many images you may find carved in lava rock in Hawaii. No one seems to be sure they know exactly what the figures mean. Most likely the figures commemorate past events held at that area.

We took the photo of the petroglyph above in the Waikoloa Beach Resort near Anaehoomalu Bay. There are many places across Hawaii to see petroglyphs. Before I list a few sites with petroglyphs, I’d like to mention something very important.  These petroglyphs are quite fragile as they have weathered over time.  So, please do not touch them or take rubbings.  Here are just a few spots where you’re likely to find petroglyphs in Hawaii:

Big Island
Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Kohala Coast – Stop in at the Kings Shops where you’ll find educational plaques and examples of petroglyphs.  From there you can get onto the King’s Trail and walk less than a quarter mile to see many petroglyphs.

Mauna Lani Resort on the Kohala Coast – The grounds here are really worth a visit. You’ll find the petroglyphs along the nature path behind the Kalahuipuaa Fishponds.  (See more about Hawaiian fishponds.)

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – You’ll find the largest petroglyph field in Hawaii at the Pu’uloa Petroglyphs.

Petroglyph Hill at Olowalu Valley – there’s a trail near mile marker 15 off the Honoapiilani Highway (30).  The trail head starts near the Olowalu Store and Chez Paul restaurant.

Petroglyph Field near Shipwreck Beach – You’ll need a four-wheel drive vehicle to get near this field. Be sure and ask for very specific directions on how to find this field when you pick up a map at the vehicle rental desk.  (Note: I say this from experience! See more on four wheeling it on Lanai.)

Mouth of the Wailua River – at the Wailua River State Park near the Hikinaakala Heiau, you might see these depending on water level.

Kukaniloko Birthstones State Historic Site has a fascinating history and glimpse back to ancient Hawaiian culture.  See more on visiting this site.

Where have you found petroglyphs in Hawaii?  What did you think of them?

1 comment
  1. BIG ISLAND: There is a beautiful petroglyph field at the Kona Village. I found out about it through my travel guide the Hawaii Big Island Trailblazer. The Village lets guests wander over there anytime they want but outsiders have to sign on to take a tour at specific times. It’s worth seeing. Another place is the Puako field which can be accessed on the road to the Fairmont Orchid in Kohala. Details again are in the guidebook. happy hunting.

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