Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is currently recovering from the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea volcano. Much of the park has re-opened, but several areas are still closed. Read more.
Pu’u Loa is open.
Round Trip Mileage: 1.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 30'
Pu’u Loa means long hill or hill of long life. Pu‘u Loa is a volcanic pressure dome that was formed during the eruption of Kāne Nui O Hamo about 550 years ago. Dated to between 1200-1450 AD, this field of more than 23,000 ki'i pōhaku (petroglyphs) is the largest concentraion of rock art in the entire Hawaiian island chain. Of those 23,000 ki'i pōhaku, 85% are pukas,cupule holes in which a portion of the umbilical cord of a newborn was placed to ensure long life.
Pu'u Loa is a sacred place to the Hawaiian people. It is illegal to touch or deface archaeological sites. Stay on the provided boardwalk while viewing these petroglyphs.
Trailhead: From the Park entrance, drive fifty feet and turn south on Crater Rim Drive. Follow Crater Rim Drive to Chain of the Craters Road. Drive the Chain of the Craters road to mile marker 16.5 and park at the Pu’u Loa Petroglyphs parking area. This parking area and trailhead are marked.
Gear: Standard hiking gear. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
Hike: Walk along the well-marked trail for 3/4 mile to the petroglyphs. There is a raised wooden walkway above the petroglyphs to protect them. Stay on the boardwalk. It's helpful to have binoculars or a telephoto lens to see some of the images. Return the way you came.