Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs

About Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs


Located in an ahupuaa (ancient Hawaiian land division) of Panau Nui on the southern flank of Mount Kilauea at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs. These petroglyphs were left by ancient Hawaiians, who etched the shapes into the hard pahoehoe lava. Forms range from simple human shapes to simple dots which represent newborns.


The earliest written observation of the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs was made by Reverend William Ellis, a missionary to the Hawaiian Islands, in 1823.

Facts & Trivia

  • Island: Big Island
  • Amenities: Parking area. No other amenities, so bring sunscreen, plenty of water, and a hat. Be sure to wear good shoes as the trail is over rough lava.
  • Insider Tip: It is unlawful to deface, scratch, or mark the petroglyphs.
  • Fun Fact: The archaeological site called Puu Loa contains over 23,000 petroglyph images.
  • What to Expect: A short trail from the parking lot leads you onto a boardwalk. From there follow the boardwalk and you will find petroglyphs scattered among the area. Be careful not to walk on them as this will cause damage. Youll find a lot of petroglyphs along the left